They were just fantasy games … all in fun. But they influenced Harry to make the biggest mistake of his life.
What dastardly games are these? No, not Dungeons & Dragons or Harry Potter, as you may be thinking. That would be too logical. Also, he's already made tracts denouncing those.
Before we begin, I would like to mention in the mid-nineties, Chick suffered a stroke. The effect on his art and writing afterward is, in my opinion, pretty noticeable.
In other news, Chick likes to take swipes at gay people regardless of whether or not they're relevant to the content of the tract. Here, they're not, but get it? "Fairy" can mean gay! Isn't that clever?
"Kill, kill!" "Live, live!" Those are the most generic protest slogans ever. I imagine there have been about five executions before Harry Garner's this week, and now they're just phoning it in. Couldn't you at least go for a catchy rhyme? "Death to the monster! He won't live any longer!" "Thou shalt not kill! Don't defy God's will!" I mean, I'm just spit-balling here. But do something.
Their son will be executed? That's an oddly forceful emphasis. The governor could put an end to it at the last moment. And no, that's not a spoiler: having a ticking clock like that would make this thing suspenseful, so of course it doesn't happen in this story.
That cop in the bottom right wants nothing to do with this. That, or he's confused as to why his hand is bigger than his entire head.
I honestly have no idea if that reporter is meant to be male or female.
Chick's characters are amazing ugly. Even his "good guys" end up creepy as a result. It's like a Mad magazine: it's repulsive but you can't look away. Maybe that's the goal. I used to gravitate toward Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as a kid because the pictures horrified me so much. With all the ugliness and fear-mongering about damnation, these tracts are popular on the same principle. That and they're ridiculous.
"Harry was such a sweet little boy! He ate all his vegetables and only set fire to the house once! Why, he only ever strangled two prostitutes the whole time he was living with us! My baby's innocent!"
Shouldn't they be inside saying goodbye to their condemned son or something?
Whoa, whoa, whoa. "Let's go back in time"? That sounds like witchcraft, Jack. Heretic! Or is it okay because Clarence the angel did it first?
So, the Tooth Fairy caused him to become a murderer. Of course. I'm assuming the Tooth Fairy they introduced him to was less "friendly creature that leaves presents" and more Francis Dolarhyde.
Harry looks profoundly depressed at the idea of leaving his tooth for the Fairy. "I have to sleep with a piece of my head detached and under the pillow? Thanks a lot, Mommy."
Either that or he's just realized he's in a Chick tract and there's no escape.
I'd be less concerned with the evil pagan influence of the Tooth Fairy and more concerned with that dead-eyed Mickey Mouse teddy bear hybrid staring right at Harry's jugular.
Gah! Look at the demon teddy! It's standing up on the bed! I was right! It's after u - SWALLOW YOUR SOUL! SWALLOW YOUR SOUL!
For a second there I thought that was a Jack O'Lantern on the back of Harry's shirt, just to really beat the hamfisted message into place.
Who tells their kid about Santa the week before Christmas? If I had kids I'd hype that up before Thanksgiving, to make sure they're well-behaved while I'm setting up for that holiday, and to make sure they have their lists in order when their relatives ask in November.
"Look, Daddy! I'm practicing my Vanna White impression!"
See the dog and cat in the framed photos on the wall? Meet Fang and Bad Cat. They frequently cameo in Chick tracts and they're the only thing about them that doesn't completely suck.
You know, if you're that uncomfortable with telling your children about Santa, like these parents obviously are, just don't do it. Some people are fine with Santa, some people don't like lying to their children, some people have spiritual objections. If you don't want to tell your child about Santa, don't. You're the parent and it's your decision.
How come Daddy's name gets capitalized but Mom and Mommy don't?
Like Santa's the only white lie these parents have ever told. Parents lie all the time. Usually it's to protect their children or because the kid wants information that can't be comprehended at that age. But no, one lie about Santa and Harry becomes a murderer.
Pfft, screw Santa, there's the real demonic influence right there. Godzilla and Superman. Superman doesn't gain his strength from his uncut hair! Damn godless comic creators! And Godzilla? Those crazy Japanese filmmakers think a lizard is the Almighty! And is that a telescope?! That sounds dangerously scientific!
Because truly there is no other option between never telling your child the truth about Santa and pissing in his cornflakes on Christmas morning. No middle ground at all.
Was there really a point to having one panel take place the week before Easter and one panel on Easter morning? It's not like the different times add to the narrative.
Believe it or not, it is possible to tell your children about the Easter Bunny while still impressing the importance of Jesus's resurrection. My parents did. Again, it's your choice if you don't want to tell your children about Santa et al, but implying that any child told about these things will become a godless heathen murderer is just plain stupid.
Did someone tell Harry that the Easter Bunny was Jesus? Because why would he come to that conclusion otherwise? When I was a kid, one Sunday the pastor got us all up for the children's sermon and began to describe a person standing behind the door, who was good and kind and all these other things. He wanted us to guess who it was. I'll admit I guessed Jesus, but not because I thought he actually had Jesus standing there. I just couldn't think of anyone else (it was the organist). But never at any point in my horrible heathen upbringing did I think the Easter Bunny or Santa were Jesus.
Clearly this is one of the "wrong" churches, or Harry would have no interest in these things. That's one of Chick's favorite themes: most churches are actually evil and leading you to Hell. Only I can tell the difference! Buy my stuff!
I believed in Santa Claus until I was twelve. The older I got, the more crap I got about it from other kids. I certainly never fought or threatened to kill them over it. I just shrugged and thought, More presents for me. And I was a kid who argued easily.
The premise of this tract is that telling Harry about Santa rather than God has made him grow up without salvation, and thus he's a violent monster, because again, the only thing standing between humans and murder at any point is Jesus. Which is why atheists just walk around stabbing people. Here's the thing: if Harry was as devout about God as he is about Santa, don't you think he'd respond just as violently if his classmates said there was no God?
Anyway, he's not responsible for his actions as he's obviously possessed. Look at that fire. That or he's spontaneously combusting.
"Harry has been arrested." "Well, that just bucks my teeth!" And where is her neck? It's like they merged Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia.
How, how on Earth, did Harry kill another child on the playground before any adult or classmate could intervene? I know there was a horrible case in the news lately when school bullies killed a classmate during recess, but that was a group ganging up on one kid. Did he just push him into a jungle gym in such a way that his neck instantly snapped?
A terrorist act? Really? Sensationalist as the media is, I don't see any way they'd get "terrorist" out of "white student kills another white student over playground argument."
Apparently, everyone in the Chick universe develops cheekbones that could slice meat once puberty hits.
"No"? No, don't tie him down for his protection? Just let him run wild and injure himself more? What?
Again, he killed a kid for calling his parents liars. If the child had said that they were lying about Jesus, how would this have turned out any different? There is something physiologically or psychologically wrong with Harry; most children don't resort to murder as soon as someone calls their parents liars. Why wouldn't whatever's wrong in his brain when it comes to Santa also happen with Jesus?
Oh, right, because life is perfect for those who are devout to Chick's standards and nothing bad can happen to them ever.
Why does everyone think their actions in these comics? Gasp! Sob! Gulp! Those aren't things you think, they're things your body does.
And here's where any shred of logic the comic had dissolves completely. The idea from here on out is that because Harry now rejects God due to his parents lying about Santa, that he becomes a horrible murdering monster. Only, he still believed in God when he killed the child on the playground. So logic equals zero.
I challenge you, Jack Chick, to find me one, just one, instance where someone became a murderer because their parents told them about Santa. And don't say it's hyperbole; we're talking about a man who literally believes that the Catholic Church has orchestrated everything from the formation of Islam to the assassination of Lincoln.
And even if it is just hyperbole, I want to point out that if every child who was told about Santa stopped believing in God when they found out it was pretend, then churches would be a lot emptier. Again, if you don't want to tell your child these things because you feel it detracts from your faith, that's your choice. But this is just plain insulting and just plain dumb.
His face had no real detail until he turned evil. Chick's heroic characters are either bland or unintentionally ugly, but his villains are always drawn as grotesquely and intricately as possible. This is especially apparent with Chick's far more detailed and talented other artist, Fred Carter.
Chick hates shows like Bewitched for portraying things he considers Satanist, but he sure delights in lurid depictions of evil and sin.
Aw, c'mon, you can't hold the kid responsible. Look at the massively out of proportion head, the shrunken arm, the sunken-in eyes. Definitely the signs of physical abnormality that affects his brain function. That, or Chick can't draw.
Yep, just rot in jail for the next ten years. Don't send him to a psychiatric hospital or even have him evaluated by a psychologist - that stuff's just garbage invented to distract us from Jesus. Somehow.
How incredibly useless must juvenile hall's guards be if they can't stop an eight year old from strangling someone?
BILLY MAYS HERE WITH ANOTHER FANTASTIC PRODUCT.
Actually, he looks less like Billy Mays and more like my former Tae Kwon Do instructor. Run, Master Haines! Get out of the tract!
Wardens hate God now? Hasn't Chick ever watched The Shawshank Redemption?
"Is Jesus real?" is not a hard question. It's a very simple yes/no question. Even more simple because it comes down to whether or not you have faith.
Only a fool wouldn't believe something with no evidence!
Nobody fucks with the Jesus!
You know, using the Bible for your definitive proof of Jesus's resurrection is circular reasoning at its finest.
And no, they didn't all know it was Jesus. Mary Magdalene didn't recognize him at first.
Whoa, this is Harry at age ten? The hell kind of steroids are they feeding these kids? Are we going to condemn him for failing to accept Jesus in the middle of 'roid rage?
Most people don't hate Jesus. They hate the terrible things people do in his name or the hypocrisies and hatred of certain organized religions.
Oh boy. Any time's a good time for a stereotype! We've got an Arab, a Satanist - with ear piercings, even! - a dirty Commie, a witch, and...wait, is that a teacher or an Asian stereotype? I can't tell. And finally, a Jewish anthropologist. Oh Chick. So much to hate, so little time.
Allow me to translate: When Chick mentions "the religious crowd" ever in regards to Jesus's crucifixion, what he means is "The Jews did it the evil Jews did it Jews Jews Jews!" We don't get much of his Antisemitism in this tract, but trust me, it will become apparent. You could make a drinking game out of how many of his bad guys are terrible Jewish stereotypes.
Why aren't they capitalizing Heaven? It's a proper noun.
Well, Jamal sure went from ignorant to fundamentalist fast. That's how it goes in these tracts: either you hear "Jesus died for you" and instantly convert, even if you don't know who Jesus is, or you start foaming at the mouth about your hate for God. No one ever asks for proof of any of this (and no, saying "The Bible says it" does not count). I know that's how it is for some people, but most don't hear John 3:16 and instantly convert.
You can't see it too much from the front view, but wait for the next page. Harry's sporting a stereotypical Jewish nose now, the clear sign of a monster.
Remember parents, the mere mention of Santa will make your child into the next Bin Laden! Booga booga! You must instill in them the fear of God and his vengeance upon infidels and - oh wait.
He loves you so much that he made you a sociopath, and now He's going to burn you in Hell for all eternity for the consequences of being what He made you!
Everyone who accepts God becomes a clean cut preacher who never does anything bad. See, he even got rid of his cornrows, because cornrows are a sure sign of the devil. Meanwhile, everyone who rejects God ends up on the FBI's Most Wanted. No one's ever murdered or hurt others in the name of God!
Uh, no scary faceless God, you didn't do everything you could for Harry. You could have tried, I don't know, curing his obvious physiological/psychological damage?
Well, that's two down. I'd like to say it gets more sensible from here, but that's a lie, and we all know where liars go.