Even if you haven't heard of Jack Chick, you've probably seen his work. After all, he's the world's most published author. Starting in 1961, Chick began to publish 24-page comic booklets designed to win impressionable teenagers over to Christianity. He published over 900 million Chick tracts, spreading his fundamentalist agenda disguised as cute comic books.
Jack Chick was born on April 13, 1924 in Los Angeles, and he fought in the Pacific during World War II. But the real turning point in Chick's life was his conversion to Christianity after the war. The counter-culture movement of the 1960s inspired Chick to use his drawing skills to save souls with his eponymous comics. Chick only followed the King James Version of the Bible, quoting it heavily in his Jack Chick tracts, in spite of historical evidence that the KJV was full of errors.
Just like the shockingly racist vintage ads from the early twentieth century, Chick was a product of his era. In the comic Dark Dungeons, Chick explained how the role-playing fantasy game Dungeons and Dragons trains children to convert to witchcraft and drives children to suicide, and in Wassup, a character symbolic of death learns ebonics in order to appeal to black people. And that's only the beginning when it comes to the twisted literature peddled by Jack Chick.
Jack Chick Thought He Was Saving Souls But Many Called Him A Hate Cartoonist
Chick tracts were small, 24-page booklets drawn like comic books — but the message was completely different from Archie or Batman. In Chick's comics, the enemies weren't a rival football team or even a demented Joker. Instead, the enemy was Satan, and he was everywhere trying to condemn teens to hell. Chick tracts might be dressed up as comics, but they carried an evangelical message with a strong dose of conspiracy theory.
Although Jack Chick was the most published author in his lifetime, he was convinced that enemies were trying to kill him. He refused to let people take his picture because he believed he was on multiple hit lists. He claimed that Muslims were sending him death threats. And all of this was because Jack Chick wanted to save people's souls using comic books.
But the content of those comics has earned Chick the title "Hate Cartoonist."
He Believed 'Dungeons And Dragons' Was A Gateway To Witchcraft
Jack Chick had strong feelings about popular culture. Over several decades, he battled against pop culture, warning teens that they were putting their souls at risk. One of his targets was Dungeons and Dragons. In his tract Dark Dungeons, first published in 1984, Chick explained how a simple game, played with a 20-sided dice, could easily lead children down the wrong path — and even kill them.
A simple, suburban game of D&D turns deadly when the Dungeon Master invites young Debbie to learn how to cast real spells––after all, her cleric has been raised to the 8th level. As Chick explains, "The intense occult training through D&D prepared Debbie to accept the invitation to enter a witches' coven." Debbie uses her evil power to make her father buy her new D&D manuals.
But when Debbie's friend commits suicide because her D&D character got killed in the game, Debbie questions everything. Luckily, there's a handsome boy in a letterman jacket ready to tell Debbie about Jesus, saving her soul.
Chick Wasn't Shy About Attacking Other Religions, Even Other Christian Ones
Jack Chick believed that Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists, and everyone but evangelical Christians were heading straight to hell. And he wasn't shy about letting them know how he felt. In a 1985 tract called Are Roman Catholics Christians? Chick's answer was clear. "Many Roman Catholics are doing their best to serve God and to please Him," he began. "That is why this false religious system is so evil."
In another tract called The Death Cookie, Chick claimed that the Devil is the Pope's religious advisor and that the Eucharist is actually a "death cookie" designed to deceive people. And that was only the start of Chick's anti-Catholic rants.
Hippies Drove Jack Chick To Publish His First Comic
In the 1960s, Jack Chick was working at AstroScience Corporation in California. He decided to draw his first comic booklet, Why No Revival? But publishers refused to print the book, so Jack did it himself.
Chick was inspired to spread his message when he saw a group of hippies on the side of the road. He later said,
"At the time, I didn't like teenagers or their rebellion. But, all of a sudden, the power of God hit me and my heart broke and I was overcome with the realization that these teens were probably on their way to hell."
He pulled over and began crying, and wrote his first "soul winning gospel tract," called A Demon's Nightmare. In the booklet, a young man converts to Christianity in spite of his mother warning him that praying will ruin his trousers.