Jack Thomas Chick (April 13, 1924 – October 23, 2016) was a controversial American Evangelical Christian cartoonist who produced religious tracts through his company, Chick Publications. According to the Chick Publications website, hundreds of millions of copies of Chick tracts have been read worldwide. Jack Chick himself had limited interaction with the public, leading to speculation that Jack Chick was a pen name for several unnamed authors and artists. He died on October 23, 2016, at the age of 92. David Daniels now heads Chick Publications as its main cartoonist and spokesperson.
His works are featured in "Chick Tracts," inexpensive comic books designed to be left in public places and to reach out to people who might be passing by. A major theme in his tracts are emotionally wrought portrayals of God's perfect love for his children alongside somewhat more violent images, like homosexuals writhing in agony while being burned alive in the streets of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Chick tracts take a Fundamentalist approach to the Bible. Despite his controversial viewpoints on many subjects, the majority of Chick tracts are "Basic Gospel" tracts which emphasize the need for salvation and present it in a manner consistent with traditional Christian theology. Some of the tracts are retellings of Biblical stories in contemporary settings.
Some recurring themes include:
- non-Christian "wicked" characters being converted at the end of the tract while more "moral" non-Christian characters reject Christ (at the end the "wicked" character enters Heaven due to his/her conversion, while the "moral" character enters Hell due to rejection),
- battles over human salvation between angels and demons,
- arguments for evolution being presented by old, aggressive and quick to anger teachers,
- the use of an 'accept Christ' form at the end of tracts (followed by Chick's belief that one should study the King James Bible to better know God), and
- suggestions of demonic influence in even comparatively minor events such as the creation of TV series such as Bewitched.
As a confessing Christian, Chick opposed the views of those who he saw as not having a biblical worldview, including:
- Opponents of the King James Only movement, of which he was an adherent; whenever a Scripture quote is used in a Chick Tract it is always KJV, and some of his literature claims to show how other translations were from "corrupted texts".
- Jehovah's Witnesses,
- people that practice witchcraft and/or read Harry Potter,
- Although Chick opposed Halloween in general, he took no issue to the custom of passing out candy, considering it an opportunity to pass out his tracts as well. One notable tract portrays a dying girl, given a Chick tract on Halloween night, whereupon she (and her family) accept Christ before she dies that night.
- Dungeons and Dragons players,
- fans of all types of rock music including Christian rock
However, no group was the subject of Chick's writings more than the Roman Catholic Church,: no fewer than 20 tracts promote his opposition, along with a full-length book and a series of six full-length comics defending Alberto Rivera (a controversial and supposed former Catholic priest generally discredited as a fraud by both secular media and the majority of Christians, even those who oppose Catholic teachings). Of the various Catholic organizations, the Jesuits are prominently featured as villains in his writings.
In response to claims that he hates individuals within these groups or who engage in these practices, Chick responded that this is not the case, but rather that he hates the system they belong to, which is feverishly working to win millions of souls for Satan.
All Chick tracts, whether currently in print or out of print, can be read for free on the Chick Publications website, as well as samples of other materials. Out-of-print tracts can be ordered with a minimum printing of 10,000. Full-length comics can only be purchased, though sample pages are provided on the website.
Atheist critics have tried to slur Chick, arguing that his tracts rely on stereotypes, faulty logic, and conspiracy theories, including suggesting that the Pope is the Antichrist and that Roman Catholicism actually started Islam, Communism, the Nazi Party and Freemasonry. Much of his anti-Catholic work was based on the conspiracy theories of Alberto Rivera, a self-claimed "Catholic bishop" who was later exposed as a fraud and charlatan with a criminal history by Protestant writer Gary Metz in the March 13, 1981 edition of Christianity Today.
- Jack Chick’s Lies: The Real Alberto Rivera Exposed