by Bruce Brenneise
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Jack Chick is a fundamentalist christian who uses the power of comics (generally as tracts to be handed out as part of the act of 'witnessing') to aid him in his quest to convert non-believers (or even just the less-believing, or not-quite-correctly-believing) to Christianity.
He produces a new tract every two to three months, and has produced perhaps over a hundred different tracts, as well as other various publications.
I'll admit that I found reading what many of these tracts had to say (and how they illustrated it!) very frightening. Even moderate christians find a lot of Chick's methods of discussing topics such as: homosexuality, UN/Catholic church as vehicle for the anti-christ, Islam, evolution, holidays such as Halloween, and books such as Harry Potter, rather extremist and actually sometimes frightening in the sort of pathos that it represents.
But whether or not you agree with the message that these tracts are meant to impart, the power of the images and words used argumentatively is undeniable. Even if the effect is to frighten, this scare tactic can be a powerful tool for persuasion. I was particularly moved by the cover of a tract ostensibly about the conversion of a muslim man to christianity. As with many of these small chick tracts (stapled sheafs of paper about 3 inches by 5 inches in size), the cover design is simple and powerful. The page is divided in half, blue and black. On the blue is a picture of the two towers with the small, black suggestion of a plane heading towards the towers. On the black are the words: "Who Cares?"
I'm sure they meant to imply that Jesus cares, but the fact remains that these tracts are often quite tactless in the thoughtless vehemence of their imparted message.
below: cover and an interior page from The Little Princess by Jack Chick
For more information: www.chick.com
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