Sunday, June 2, 2013

Somebody Goofed

Somebody Goofed was initially published in either 1966 or 1969 (I've found contrasting sources, and it's possibly even older than that).  Despite most of Chick's more moderate comics coming out during this time, it still bears all the classic signs of a Chick tract: making the villains repulsive so we will presumably find their beliefs equally repulsive, dialogue no one would ever say, rabid anti-Christianity, and a sudden turn into madness.

The description from Chick Publications:

A young man goofs when he is talked out of receiving Jesus as Saviour.

"We ordered Tickle-Me Elmos, not Tickle-Me demons!"

Note the tiny copyright text letting us know this is a 2002 reprint.  You may think they would take advantage of a reprint and update the dated dialogue, but that is assuming Jack Chick has spoken to another human since 1966, and that is a dangerous assumption to make.

Bobby's so far gone he can only think "gasp."

Thank you, random paramedic giving out people's medical information on the street like it ain't no thing!  I didn't know the "E" in EMT stood for "exposition."

"Wow!  What a drag!"  I can't tell if he's in shock over Bobby's condition or thrilled at the quality of his joint, there.

Why were all these people standing in a street waiting for this guy to come out on a stretcher, anyway?

Yep, dude was definitely referring to the quality of his weed.  Look at him: he's too blasted to hide it even with a cop right there.

That girl in the back must be overdosing too, just thinking her sobs like that.

Uh-oh, Fonzie's an atheist!  Careful, Waldo, or you'll have to "sit on it" in Hell!

So, is it raining, or was Chick just too lazy to draw the background?  Must be some strong acid rain if it is precipitation, given the background characters dissolving.

Here we come to one of the hallmarks of Chick tracts:  Mentally competent individuals who've spent their whole lives in Western society, yet who have never heard of God, Jesus, or the concept of an afterlife.

Fonzie's got a point.  Who is this guy, anyway?  Was he just waiting around for someone to die so he could proselytize?  Must not get to talk to many people if that's what he's waiting for.

A Laugh-In reference.  They reprinted this in 2002 and decided, "Eh, the audience will still understand a Laugh-In reference."  Do I even need to mock that decision?

"HEY - At the time of the original publication, I would have grown up during the ecumenical expansion and evangelical boom of the 1950s!  I've never heard anything like this before!"

Everyone who is proselytized in the Chick universe immediately stops to listen, even if they start yelling at the witness.  No one ever asks why they should believe this, or if there's any proof.  Apparently, the only atheists in this world are the people who don't know what Jesus is.

Why is this guy sweating so much?  I get the feeling our antagonist is supposed to come off as intimidating and hostile, but the artwork makes it look like the Fonz is all "AYYY, God loves everybody!" and the witness is just extremely insecure about defending his beliefs.

"The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man."  If you aren't familiar with this - and you probably aren't - it's a Freemason concept.  At least, according to the fundamentalist conspiracy sites I've found online.  I couldn't find any source from the Masons themselves.  Guess Baphomet must have covered it up.

Chick tracts operate on the grade school logic that if you think a person's a jerk, you'll also hate his beliefs.  This might be understandable in the tracts targeting grade schoolers, but it becomes a lot stupider when the adult tracts act as if we can't recognize that we might share some views with a repugnant person.  Sadly, there are probably people out there thick enough that this tactic works.

In Fonzie's defense, he doesn't have anywhere else to blow his smoke in this giant void.

"No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." - 1 John 4:12, KJV

"Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness." - Exodus 24:9-10, KJV

Yes, I'm aware theologians and apologists have come up with explanations for contradictory statements such as these.  But I highly doubt if you presented those verse to your average person handing out Chick tracts that they'd be able to explain it.

What is with the facial expressions?  The fundamentalist appears to be staring at Fonzie's back in outrage, Waldo wants to hear more but his eye line makes it look like he's glaring at the witness in disgust, and the Fonz appears to be yawning.  Late night at Arnold's, Fonzie?

Waldo better hurry and accept Christ as his savior before the featureless acid rain void swallows them up.  It's already wiped out whatever used to be across that street.

Fonzie's Spider-Sense is tingling!

"Your religion is outdated and one of fear!"  Oh boy.  Oooooooh boy.  Keep that in mind for some absolutely delicious irony later on.

You know, when people get offended by Christianity, it tends to be about things like using the Bible as an excuse to condemn homosexuals, interracial marriage, divorcees, feminists, etc.  Very rarely, outside of say, douchebags on the Internet looking for a fight, will you find anyone who starts foaming at the mouth when someone says "Accept Jesus as your Lord and savior to get to heaven."  Most atheists would just roll their eyes at that.

In Jack Chick's fantasy world, Christians are the world's most hated minority.  I get a sense that Chick loves to be persecuted.  Martyr complex much?

Wait a second - is he giving Waldo a Chick tract?  This is getting all kinds of meta.  Remember kids, Chick tracts are the only way to gain salvation!

The argument the fundamentalist is using here is known as Pascal's wager.  There are a number of problems with this argument, but I'll just go into two:  1)  This argument assumes that the religion the person using it is pushing is the correct one.  If you accept Christ, die, and find out Odin's the one running the show, you've still gained nothing.  2)  Faith is not something that can be justified through science and logic, and nor should it be.  That's why it's faith.  Accepting a deity just so you can go "eh, if it's true I won't end up in hell" isn't really faith at all.

2500 years from now?  Is that an arbitrary number or is that when the fundamentalist predicts the Second Coming?

All that stands between humanity and assaulting anyone with a difference of opinion is Jesus, apparently.  That's why Waldo there is beating up his friend for interrupting the conversation.  Oh wait.

What are those rectangles hovering the air around the fundamentalist's action bubble?  Did he hit him so hard all the Monopoly money went flying out of his pockets?

I like how each word of "I'VE HAD IT!" is separately underlined.  I picture the Fonz slamming into him three times, like punctuation.  "I've-" wham "had-" wham "it!" wham!

We're supposed to feel insulted that he called the Gospel propaganda, but Chick himself admits the idea for these comic tracts came from comics praising Chairman Mao that were distributed in China.  Of course, he also claims that propaganda was stolen from American comic books, because Americans were the only ones who ever thought of putting words and pictures together.

"I've got all the answers!"  Other tracts make it clear that Chick believes atheists use science as a religion, saying that they can't question it and it has all the answers.  This is the exact opposite of actual skeptic behavior.

"It'll make you mentally sick!"  And physically sick, because if I catch you reading it, you're getting an elbow to the kidneys too!"

HAW HAW!  Clearly the laugh of an evil mastermind.

Drive, Waldo, drive!  Get away from the void before you're assimilated!

Wait, follow the Ten Commandments?  I thought he said Christianity was outdated and a religion of fear, but he still puts stock in the Ten Commandments?  I can't tell if it this is Chick failing to understand what an atheist is again, or this weird pet belief of his that most churches teach some of the Bible, but none of that God or Jesus stuff.

Oh good, the backgrounds are back.  They're safe now.

Or are they?

So...were there not any little automatic gates to stop you from driving on the tracks when a train was coming in the sixties?  Actually, probably not.  Seatbelts were considered optional back then, weren't they?

You know, if he's stupid enough to believe he has a chance of making it, then this is just natural selection at work.  Oh, I forgot.  Natural selection is a trick of the devil.  Well, see all the rest of you heathens when I end up in Hell for bringing it up.

No, no, you can't race a train in a car!  You have to jump over it on skis, like it's a shark!  Arthur Fonzarelli, what are you thinking?

David Caruso, what are you doing here?

So is this the part where they wake up in Leonardo DiCaprio's living room and Mal starts chopping tomatoes and says they're still asleep?

One of the many contradictions of Chick tracts are the depictions of the afterlife.  Here, we see the dead going to a temporary place of holding while they await judgement.  But sometimes, they die and go straight into Hell, and sometimes they die and are immediately judged by God.  So three different portrayals, and only one can be correct if we adhere to Chick's sola scriptorum interpretation method.  Which means two of them are lies.  You know that no liar will enter the kingdom of Heaven, right Jack?

Oh, that Fonzie.  Leading teens into Hell.  What a scamp.

"Of course not!  You've become a featureless black void!  Now you're doomed to an eternity of standing on public restroom signs!"

Hey, kid, look on the bright side.  Now we'll have a "Where's Waldo in Hell" book, and that'll make for all kinds of spectacular visuals.

On the downside, it's going to be a lot harder to find Waldo once his clothes and hair burn off.

Dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

"No, little buddy -- I wasn't wrong!  I've had so many chemical peels that my brain's completely deteriorated and my face is falling off!  God can't hold me responsible for that!  You don't know how hard it is, nearing middle age, all but living in a bathroom, and hanging out with teenagers!  The pressure, the unbearable pressure!"


Not a religion of fear, eh Chick?

If Fonzie's the devil, does that mean Ron Howard's going to Hell?

And the moral is: if a demon tricks you, it's entirely your fault.  That's why Jesus never cast a legion of demons out of that man, He just said "You're on your own, man.  Should have known better than to get possessed."

And that's a Chick tract, people.  This is one of the less extreme examples of Chick's brand of fundamentalist scaremongering, but trust me, it only gets crazier and far more offensive from here.

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