May 29, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Gabbing Geek Box Office Report: On Faith

Let's use this space to talk about religion!

This is still a thing that happens.

I’ve taken to using this space for short thinkpieces lately.  It makes me feel a little better about having to do this report of questionable value, and hey, I can write the thinkpiece in advance and then just add the numbers later.  That sure does make for a quick article.

But, anyway, today I want to make note of a recent death from the comics community.  No, not artist Steve Dillon, co-creator of Preacher and longtime collaborator with writer Garth Ennis.  No, instead I’ll go with someone who had a very different interpretation of God in comic form, namely Jack Chick.

Chick died last week at the age of 92, or so his Facebook feed would have us know.  The man was incredibly reclusive as it was.  Chick ‘s work probably made him more notorious than anything else, but people knew his work.  His Chick Tracts  were his efforts to convert as many people as possible to his own brand of Christianity.  A typical Chick Tract would depict ordinary people engaged in various activities that Chick would be condemning, and many times the comic would end with a person dying, meeting a faceless God, and being condemned to Hell for the crimes of being an atheist, or a Buddhist, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Catholic.  Especially on the Catholic part, since Chick believed the Catholic Church was behind all manner of things, like the creations of Islam, communism, abortion, and a host of other things.   Chick’s source on Catholicism was ultimately found not to be a former Jesuit as Chick believed, but a con man.  I’d say that would be a good case of people believing what they want to believe more than anything else.

But a Chick Tract would be sure to try to scare the crap out of the reader such that said hypothetical reader would be enticed to believe in Jesus.  And Chick, of course, believed all the standard things about the world that stereotypical Christians the world over believe, which would be why a gay buddy of mine who plays Dungeons and Dragons eulogized Chick with the line, “Thanks for all the laughs.”

But given this goes live on Halloween, I want to take a moment to discuss one Tract in particular I had read.  Chick thought Halloween was a gateway to Hell, possibly because it was fun and that’s what some people are like, but since Chick apparently thought Druids were just committing hidden human sacrifices in the woods or something, trick or treating led children to Satan.  Anyway, the story here had some young boys going to one of those Halloween haunted houses.  One boy gets freaked out and runs away, directly into traffic.  He’s killed and goes to Hell for presumably trying to enjoy Halloween.

Now, that wasn’t the end of the Tract.  The story then shifts to one of the other boys.  He’s upset his friend just died.  But then a woman, possibly his mother, tells her possible son that the real problem was the dead boy was celebrating Halloween, and that would send a person to Hell.  The real comfort is believing in Jesus Christ and then going to Heaven.  The boy hears this, commits himself to Jesus, and feels a lot better all of a sudden.

So, you know, he feels better knowing full well his young friend who just died went to Hell.

That’s a horrible message.  Bad enough many of Chick’s works show people going to Hell despite being, for all intents and purposes, good people who tried to make the world a better place with the only crime being not being the right kind of Christian.  Chick’s depiction of God is so angry and terrifying, the subtext seems to be not to go to Jesus because He is all love but because He will send you to Hell.  That’s trying to convert the unfaithful through fear, and I wouldn’t want to worship a God like that anyway.  If God is love, then I could see believing in that God.  If God is just terrifying, well…huh., maybe Chick’s version of God wasn’t that different from Dillon’s after all…

And now the Box Office.

  1. Boo!:  A Medea Halloween, $16.7 million.
  2. Inferno, $15 million.
  3. Jack Reacher:  Never Go Back, $9.5 million.
  4. The Accountant, $8.5 million.
  5. Ouija: Origin of Evil, $7 million.
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