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Jack Chick

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Jack Chick

Jack T. Chick
Jimmy Akin's drawing
of Jack Chick
Born (1924-04-13) April 13, 1924 (age 90)
Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California[1]
Nationality American
Occupation Publisher
Comic book creator
Known for Chick Tracts
Religion Independent Baptist

Jack Thomas Chick (born April 13, 1924) is an American publisher, writer, and comic book artist of evangelical fundamentalist Christian tracts and comic books.[2] His comics have been described by the Los Angeles Magazine as "equal parts hate literature and fire-and-brimstone sermonizing".[3]

Chick's company, Chick Publications, claims to have sold over 750 million tracts,[4] comics tracts and comic books, videos, books, and posters designed to promote Protestant evangelism from a Christian fundamentalist perspective or point of view. Many of these are controversial, as they accuse Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims and many other groups of murder and conspiracies,[5] while Chick maintains his views are simply politically incorrect.[6]

His views have been spread worldwide, mostly through the tracts and now online. They have been translated into more than 100 languages.[7] As evidenced from his writings and publications, Chick is an Independent Baptist who follows a premillennial dispensationalist view of the end times. He is an ardent believer in the King James Only movement, which posits that every English translation of the Bible more recent than 1611 promotes heresy or immorality.


Chick was born in Boyle Heights, California in 1924. His family later moved to Alhambra where Chick was active in the high school drama club.[8] Chick's official biography notes that he was not religious in high school and was in fact avoided by Christian students, who believed "he was the last guy on earth who would ever accept Jesus Christ."[9]

After his graduation, he continued his drama education at the Pasadena Playhouse School of Theater on a two-year scholarship.[8][9] In February 1943, Chick was drafted as a private in the U.S. Army.[10] He served for three years in the Pacific theater of World War II, serving in New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and Japan.[9] Chick credits his time overseas for inspiring him to translate his tracts into many different languages and says he has "a special burden for missions and missionaries."[9]

After the war, he returned to the Pasadena Playhouse and met his wife while working on a production there. Lola Lynn Priddle (1926–1998), a Canadian immigrant, came from a very religious family, and Chick's official biography describes her as "instrumental in his salvation."[9][11] Priddle and her parents introduced Chick to the Charles E. Fuller radio show, the Old Fashioned Revival Hour, and Chick relates that he was converted while listening to an episode of this show.[9] They married in 1948 and had one child, Carol, who died in 2001.[12] In February 1998, Lola Lynn died and Chick has since remarried.[2][8][9] In a 2005 issue of Battle Cry, Chick reported that he had suffered a heart attack while being transported to the hospital suffering from hypoglycemia. Shortly thereafter he had a triple coronary artery bypass.[13]

Very little is known about Jack Chick; he has given only one known professional interview since 1975.[14] The lack of available public information about him has created some speculation that he was a pen name for unnamed author(s) or ghostwriters.[8] Several audio cassettes of his preaching distributed to his subscribers purport to contain his voice. While he has never released a photo of himself for publication, purported photos of Chick have been published by others.[15]


After converting to Christianity, Chick wanted to evangelize others, but was too shy to talk to people directly about religion.[8] Chick heard from missionary Bob Hammond, who had broadcast in Asia on the Voice of America, that the Communist Party of China had gained significant influence among ordinary Chinese in the 1950s through the distribution of small comic books.[9] Chick also began working with a prison ministry and created a flip chart of illustrations to use with his presentation. He hit upon the idea of creating witnessing tracts, which could be given to people directly or indirectly.[8]

While working for the AstroScience Corporation in El Monte, California, he self-published his first tract, Why No Revival?, with a loan from his credit union in 1960 and wrote his second tract, A Demon's Nightmare, shortly afterward.[9][12] He decided to create more tracts and began "using his kitchen table as an office and art studio."[9] Christian bookstores were reluctant to accept the tracts, but they were popular among missionaries and churches.[9]

Chick Publications was officially established in 1970 in Rancho Cucamonga, California.[12] Initially, Jack Chick wrote and illustrated all of the comics himself, but in 1972 he hired another artist to illustrate many of the tracts.[8] Fred Carter illustrated tracts anonymously until 1980, when he was identified in an issue of Chick's newsletter Battle Cry.[2] Carter also painted the oil paintings seen in The Light of the World, a film Chick produced that relates the Christian gospel.[16]

The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History included several Chick tracts in an exhibit on American pop culture.[9]

Chick Publications

Main article: Chick tract

Chick Publications has released over twenty-three full-color "Chick comics" since its founding. They are full-size comic books and most were first published between 1974 and 1985. The first eleven form the Crusader comics series, which follows the stories of two fundamentalist Christians and addresses topics such as the occult, Bible prophecy, and the theory of evolution.[18] Six comics present the testimony of anti-Catholic activist Alberto Rivera, who claimed that, as a Jesuit priest, he had become privy to many secrets about the Roman Catholic Church. Among Rivera's claims: He credits Catholicism with founding the Islamic religion,[19] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,[20] as well as the Jehovah's Witnesses;[21] starting the Holocaust;[22][23][24] founding Communism, Nazism, and the Ku Klux Klan; starting the World Wars;[22] masterminding the 1917 Russian Revolution, the Great Depression and the assassinations of U.S. Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy.[22] There are also three independent comics, one telling stories from the King James Version of the Bible (Chick is pro-King James Onlyism), one relaying the claims of Charles Chiniquy regarding Catholicism, and one detailing Chick's opinions on Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[18]

Chick Publications also distributes "Chick tracts," small comic tracts with religious messages. As of 2012, over 800 million have been sold, making Jack Chick the most published author/artist alive. Most can be viewed in their entirety on the company's website. The most popular Chick tract, "This Was Your Life", has been translated into around 100 languages,[7] and many other tracts are available in widely spoken languages such as Arabic,[25] German,[26] Spanish,[27] and Tagalog.[28]

Chick's tracts cover subjects such as abortion, homosexuality, non-Protestant Christianity, the occult, rock music, left-wing politics, popular culture, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, antisemitism, and the theory of evolution, generally in a very negative and conspiratorial light.[29] Chick believes many of the world's problems are deliberately caused by the Roman Catholic Church.[22]

Several of Chick's tracts have been translated into more obscure languages as Blue Hmong,[30] Huichol,[31] Ngiemboon,[32] Tshiluba,[33] and the artificial language of Esperanto.[34]

Chick also claims that Satan and demons promote the occult through mystical and New Age beliefs,[35] rock music (including Christian rock),[36] Wicca,[37][38] and fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons [39][40] to deceive people and send them to Hell. Chick is opposed to abortion[41][42] and preaches against pre-marital sex.[42][43] He believes strongly that homosexuality is sinful,[44][45] and makes reference to the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah in tracts pertaining to homosexuality.[46] He also is a Zionist, and claims that the Catholic Church is Israel's worst enemy.[47] He also opposes attempts to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict until Israel gets significantly larger than its current size, and also blames American support of those attempts for natural disasters that have struck America.[48]

Chick's views have been criticized by some of the groups he targets, including neopagans and Catholic organizations. Wiccan author Kerr Cuhulain describes Chick and his theories as "anti-feminist" and "anti-pagan", notes that a Chick Publications comic book was the source of a Rapid City, South Dakota, police detective's presentation on the history of Satanism given in 1989, and describes him as "easily the least reputable source of reliable information on religious groups."[49]

Many Catholic and Protestant organizations consider Chick to be intensely anti-Catholic, based on his various claims about the Roman Catholic Church.[50] Chick responds to these accusations by saying he is opposed to the Roman Catholic Church as a sociopolitical organization but not to its individual members. On his "Roman Catholicism FAQ," Chick says he began publishing his theories about the Roman Catholic Church because "he loves Catholics and wants them to be saved through faith in Jesus."[51] Catholic Answers calls Chick "savagely anti-Catholic,"[52] describes Chick's claims about the Catholic Church as "bizarre"[53] and "often grotesque in their arguments,"[54] and calls for the tracts to be pulled from the market and corrected.[55] In the early 1980s, Chick's stance on Catholicism led some Christian bookstores to stop stocking his tracts, and he withdrew from the Christian Booksellers Association after the association considered expelling him.[56] Christianity Today described Jack Chick as an example of "the world of ordinary, nonlearned evangelicals," for whom "atavistic anti-Catholicism remains as colorful and unmistakable as ever."[57] Michael Ian Borer, a sociology professor of Furman University at the time, showed Chick's strong anti-Catholic themes in a 2007 American Sociological Association presentation[58] and in a peer-reviewed article the next year in Religion and American Culture.[59]


Further reading

  • Fowler, Robert B. (2001). ISBN 0-86719-512-6.
  • Kuersteiner, Kurt (2004) The Art of Jack T. Chick Schiffer Books ISBN 0-7643-1892-6

External links

  • Chick Publications website
  • God's Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick Documentary film about Jack Chick and Chick Publications
  • Jack T. Chick Museum of Fine Art Includes tracts discontinued and removed by Chick Publications.
  • The Nightmare World of Jack Chick Criticism and analysis of Chick's statement from a Catholic perspective
  • "A Survey of Chick Publications" by William A. Donohue (Catalyst, October 1996) Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights—overview of Chick Tracks
  • Anti-Masonic Examples: Chick Publications - A rebuttal to Chick Publications' claims about Masonry
  • Meeting Jack Chick an interview with Jack Chick
  • - A documentary about Chick and his underground cartooning career, called "God's Cartoonist".

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