Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Last Generation, 2013

In the 1972 edition of Jack Chick's asinine attempt to be George Orwell, the plot more or less stayed consistent.  In the future, America will be overrun by a pseudo-Christian theocracy that will torture and kill those who believe in the divinity of Jesus.

In the 2013 reprint?  Far less consistency and far more "let's take potshots at everything Jack Chick dislikes!" Those things being Catholicism, homosexuality, Catholicism, divorce, the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, people who call using religion to justify bigotry "intolerant," Catholicism, Wiccans, and Catholicism.

So sit back and hold on tight, because it's a Last Generation for, uh, the new generation.




The New World Order isn't messing around anymore!  Gone is the ocean and in is the saturated green.  But forty-one years later and they still can't finish his hat.  On the plus side, the curve of that snake and the green color make him look sort of like a KKK Riddler if you squint, and everyone loves the Riddler.






Near future.  Because 1988 had come and gone, and the Second Coming hadn't happened yet.  Harold Camping should have learned from Chick never to provide a date for the Rapture.

The plus side to updating this tract is that the colors are now much more contrasting and vibrant, though part of that may be due to the age and quality of the scans I had for the original.  That's one of the few positive things I'll have to update.

ROME, you guys.  Because the VATICAN, you guys.  Catholicism is EVIL, you guys.

And I see we've gone from implying the government is corrupt by making Supreme Court lookalikes to flat out calling them Supreme Justices, because this is the last generation and we're too stupid for subtlety.




The columns stopped looking like a magic eye drawing.  Now they look like graduation stoles.  But the UN/American flag still looks like it's pinned to a giant swath of crocodile skin.  That's how the last generation rolls.

This law is even more ridiculous that the one in the original.  At least there, they were denying the divinity of Christ flat out.  Now they only care if you say Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven.  But you can still say Jesus is a way to Heaven, so why not have a church that just preaches that way?  As long as you never flat out state that Jesus is the ONLY way, they can't touch you and you can still get your message out.

And again, why do they care about such a tiny specific thing?  Wouldn't it make more sense just to ban religion outright?  I know that would mean Chick can't insult other sects of Christianity along the way, but this is just silly.


















The TV no longer talks about the ecology report.  I imagine the reason they didn't include it was because that would make it seem like they were validating environmentalists and global warming, when everyone knows that God gave us this planet to wreck!  It's all ours; he wants us to destroy it.

Strangely, they also cut out Charles and Grandpa's talk about blacklisting Christians.  You'd think Chick would still be paranoid about that, even though it almost never happens.  But now we're back to the good old tract formula of one person who knows everything about the Bible and constantly spouts it off, while people who should know this already cling to his every word.

Mansions!  Later on in this tract we're supposed to view Paul and Bobby as despicable for wanting rewards, but Grandpa here is thinking about his mansions, not spending time with his Lord and Savior in Heaven.  Pot, kettle.

Pascal's wager again.  It really doesn't work here, because in this world you have everything to lose: your life, your loved ones, the chances of the world improving.  And if there is no God, then you've suffered and died for nothing.


















I like to imagine Charles is being sarcastic here.  "Really?  I mean, I was the one who said all that in the first edition of this tract, but please, tell me more.  I've never heard this before."

"I'm so excited for earthquakes, disease, war, and oppression!  We're gonna get mansions and crowns and all the ice cream we could ever want! Screw everything else!  Being persecuted gives me a chance to yell about how superior I am!"

I see the reprint is hanging onto the tradition of speaking so loudly about things which could get you arrested that you're audible from outside the house.


















"And the darker it is in the world, the brighter these images become."  I know it makes it easier to take in details and so on, but this tract completely destroys the dark and gloomy atmosphere of the original, and that was the one good thing the tract had going for it.  Why even keep that candlestick in the drawing when everything's so bright?

They refer to their own son as a monster.  I can't imagine how he could ever have turned out so disrespectful to his elders when they're so loving and kind to him.

So, judging from the location of Grandpa's speech bubble on the roof, and the location of Charles and/or Connie's, they're standing on opposite ends of the room shouting at each other.  No wonder Bobby hates these idiots.  How have they lived this long?




BOBBY WON'T LIVE LONG.

Wait, I'm pretty sure the reason those who dishonored their parents didn't live long in the books of Exodus, Numbers, etc., is because they were stoned by the rest of the community.  So, basically, Chick is advocating that these people murder their child.

"The kids call me slime because my parents are straight and still married!"  Oh man.  Oh wow.  See, in 1972, Chick considered divorce the greatest threat to American households.  But these days, gay marriage exists, so now in the terrible future of Jesus just being one way to heaven, everybody's gay and divorced!  Because the reason we've been fighting for gay marriage is so we could have gay divorcees, don'tcha know.

What I find especially funny about this panel is that I've seen images of it from multiple rewrites.  Beyond the initial 1972 text, Bobby also used to say "The kids call me slime because my @!!!**! parents are still married!" and "The kids call me slime because my parents are still married!"  Interesting how newer editions of the tract completely remove Bobby's swearing.  I guess depicting a world where Christians are tortured and murdered and children disrespect and turn in their own families is fine, but depicting all that and little boys cursing is just going too far.

The original tract told us that the government can't even keep the electricity going, so there's no way all these gay and later divorced couples could have the resources for artificial insemination.  That means either there are wild orgies in this world or there's a lot of adopting the children of the persecuted dead.  Since this is a Chick tract, it's probably the former, but I like to imagine it's the latter and these people are selfish dicks who won't adopt and help starving children.  They didn't help someone being stabbed right outside their house, after all.




Even in context, that left panel makes no sense.  Do people just have cats and dogs lying around in this world of dilapidated shoe box houses?  Do they still celebrate Halloween in a nation that probably has no candy or resources for costumes?

I've lost track of who the bad guys are supposed to be.  Am I meant to hate the Supreme Court, the Vatican, the gays, the divorced, the witches, or the Buddhists right now?  I guess I'll just hate everyone, as God intended.  Perhaps in the future, everyone is a divorced gay Buddhist Catholic judge witch.

Why did they get rid of the backgrounds in favor of blank black and white panels?  Maybe the electricity is cutting in and out after all.

I pity the fool that believes in Jesus Christ as the sole way to heaven!

That's the first time I've ever had a footnote yell at me.  And I've read House of Leaves.




Well, now the backgrounds are back, complete with sixties carpet and -

GAH KILL IT WITH FIRE!  KILL IT WITH FIRE!  IT'S MUTATING OUT OF HUMAN FORM!  KILL IT!

I swear ninety percent of the art changes in this thing went to zooming in on Bobby's face and making him look like he's going to eat us.  I'd say this is an attempt to copy all the quick cuts and closeups in film today, but for that to be true, Chick would have to consume media other than his own, as he's the one dictating what these panels look like.

Bobby looks like he's melting.  Poor nutrition and toxic sludge in the air must have mutated his good Christian genes into pure evil.  But of course that's all his fault and he'll burn in Hell for it.

The "Mother Goddess" is the Virgin Mary.  I know what you're thinking: But Catholic doctrine has never proclaimed Mary as a goddess.  Ah, but in Chick's mind they have.  So apparently, the evil Catholics want everyone to worship Mary but don't care if you also worship Jesus as long as you don't call him the only way to Heaven and you can be gay and a witch and...oh, my brain.




"You intolerant jerk!"  This kid looks like the spawn of Satan, and the best he can come up with is intolerant jerk.  Which is because people have called out Chick's incredibly homophobic, anti-Islam, anti-Catholicism, anti-everything tracts for being intolerant, so now intolerant is the worst word ever.  Again, in this world you can apparently still talk about God without risk of persecution, so why does Bobby find this intolerant?

"Larry's mom said that to him, and now she's in a concentration camp for...CHILD ABUSE!  She also got a new car and a lifetime supply of turtle wax!"

And some point doctors and psychiatrists said that beating the shit out of your children does damage to them, which Chick seemed to translate as "any discipline at all is abuse."




What, no talk about the evil influence of Jesus Christ Superstar this time?  Not even Godspell?

Damn godless liberal teachers, not leading children in prayer at school!  I mean, we're only his parents.  What could we possibly do?

Yes, screw revolution or helping the planet or anything.  Just let the world rot.  It'll bring us closer to Jesus!




I still have yet to see any Bible verses saying the Great Tribulation will last seven years.  This wouldn't bug me so much if Chick didn't proclaim how the Bible is the only source for God's word and that we should talk it literally.  Seems to me that he's just fine with making it up as he goes.

"You two better stop this kind of talk"?  What talk?  There's no conversation here, just Grandpa McExposition droning on about the Rapture.




New Age Healer?  No wonder Bobby's brain is so fried.  That'll happen when you try to cure a child fever with homeopathy.  But at least this Healer's famous.  So famous he doesn't even have a name.

They've removed the children's clapping and cheering, so now it looks like they're waving their hands in the air because they just don't care.

"Our blessed Mother Goddess...The Queen of Heaven...The Ever-Virgin...Our Lady of Sorrows...I can drive this point in all day if I have to!"

At least in the first tract it kind of made sense why they were anti-Jesus as Creator of the universe, because the law was against teaching his divinity, but here it makes no sense, as they're still allowed to teach Jesus as a way to Heaven, and surprise surprise, Catholics believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven.  It's "to Jesus through Mary," not "to Jesus or to Mary."

How does one even get a scar like that?  Did Ralph S. Mouse ride his motorcycle over the Healer's face? 





I get why they cropped the other children out of that Bobby image - they're trying to focus the plot more - but they should have just redrawn him instead of zooming in like that.  Look how sketchy and low-resolution that image looks in comparison to the one on the right.

Mental illness doesn't exist, guys!  It's just the lies of Satan!


















At least Bobby's learned not to announce his intentions to have people arrested before he tries to find incriminating information.  Grandpa still has absolutely no reason to answer him, though.

And his question makes no sense in the context of this law.  Again, he ought to be asking "Grandpa, is Jesus the only way to Heaven?"  Even when he says "if you receive Jesus...you'll go to heaven, too!" he doesn't specify "receiving Jesus is the only way you'll get to heaven!"  But there I go again, expecting logic from a Chick tract.

















THIS WAS ALL SO AVOIDABLE.

I like how in the rewrite, Connie can't even be trusted to get her own brother.  Charles has to do everything because he's a man and men have to take charge of every situation, because Jesus.

In another tract of Chick's, a fundamentalist little girl doesn't want to wear a Halloween costume for her class party, and her grandfather tells her that the Bible instructs them to obey authorities.  So I can only conclude that these people are bad Christians in Chick's view for not submitting to governmental authority.


















I like how they added that "twelve hours later" caption.  It's imperative that we know this ridiculous imaginary timeline.

Are those electrodes on his nipples?  I wasn't sure what they were in the original tract.  Fred Carter sure likes drawing the pecs and abs of shirtless men.  It comes up in at least half of his tracts.

I still don't understand why they're asking if Jesus is the creator of the universe when they should be asking if he's the only way to Heaven, but there's really no point in trying to make sense of any of this.


















Forty years later, and I still can't figure out what Connie's doing with her hands.  And look at how much her leg tapers down toward the ankle!  Her bones should snap every time she tries to take a step.

Bobby and Paul are such greedy monsters, wanting rewards and not to be tortured.  Grandpa, on the other hand, who was more concerned with heavenly mansions than helping his fellow man, is an upstanding citizen. It's like this should be a parody, but it isn't.

















In the future, men will still rock seventies hair and 'staches and wear corduroy pants.  I guess corduroy really is a sin.

What sort of free drugs is this government giving out, anyway?  I assume it's meth or something, but it would be really funny if they were all FREE DRUGS and then you went to turn in some sickos and you got some Tylenol.

"Charles!  We had no escape plan for this extremely probable scenario!"


















Shoot to kill?  But I thought they wanted to torture people until they denied Jesus.  Now they just want to kill them?  When did that change in priorities occur?  And that Healer doesn't even have his gun out.  No way is he shooting to kill.

Well, you could check under the floorboards for naked people, but that would just be too much work.

Decades later, this is still a deus ex machina.


















They took out the Thessalonians verse about meeting Christ in the air, but still refer to it.  Apparently we should all just know what it means.

I don't recall the crucifixion taking place on a mountaintop in any book of the Bible.

And again, Jack sure loves footnotes and clarifications in parentheses.  Yet he has an entire tract about how the King James version is the only true Bible and any Bibles with footnotes are evil.


















Jesus also said "YAAAAAAH WHAT HAPPENED TO MY NOSE."

Maybe Bobby would have made such a prayer if his parents hadn't thrown up their hands and said "Well, all that education ruined him.  Guess he's doomed."  I'd be more sympathetic to Connie and Charles if we actually ever saw them try to reach their child in this tract.

















And here's the ending page.  Sadly, the check boxes are gone.

Have another sinner's prayer, because the one on the last page didn't directly tell you to pray it.  You're too dumb to figure it out on your own!

Read your Bible every day, but don't bother actually doing the things Jesus said.  All you have to do is believe!

Fellowship is not a verb, Jack.

And now we get into Chick's sola Scriptora and KJV-only push.  So it's not so much "accept Jesus as your Savior" as it is "accept Jesus and then do all these things to my specifications or you're doomed.  Remember, you can think you're serving God and actually be serving the devil.  Only I know the difference."

2 comments:

  1. Their standards must be slipping, the 1972 version was far superior. I can understand wanting to take out certain things like the dates and the Jesus Christ Superstar reference but there seems to be no rhyme or reason for some of the changes that they made.

    Even with the changes it's still the most bizarre/paranoid tract that they've produced. It's pretty funny until you realize that there's people who really buy into this crap.

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  2. I miss the "old crud" insult Bobby made to Gramps in the semi-newer versions when he warned "You just said the wrong thing..." after the "God help us!" outburst over Scary Bobby Face.

    "Intolerant Jerk" is a poor substitute for being watered-down, hypocritical and inconsistently lame (a lot like ol' Jackie boy, lately). At least calling Gramps such a crude insult showed what a disrespectful little puke Bobby is for dissing a devout Older Man's beliefs. "Intolerant" just comes off as pseudo-Politically Correct hogwash that makes no sense at all.

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