Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios



Today's Candidate:


Exorcists

Spellbound

© 1975 Jack Chick

Uploaded January 16th, 2015



"Exorcists" once again follows the escapades of the dynamic duo, Tim and Jim, as they fight demons in the third world. After having his faith shaken by the death of his friend by snakebite Santosh Lall begins to question whether Satan may be more powerful than the God of the Bible. After deceptively obtaining a "picture" of the devil from a local pastor's library Santosh is invaded by demonic spirits who immediately begin to reenact The Exorcist. Called into town by divine providence the Crusaders catch wind of the demonic possession after little Santosh burns down the local church. After a rather delayed assessment of the situation Tim and Jim engage in a quick spiritual battle with the demon and successfully drive it out of the boy. In the wake of such a miracle the entire village (including Santosh's communist father Arjun) give themselves to Jesus.


Panel Index
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37
38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53
54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63
Conclusion



Panel 1
Jessica:

They're 83 miles from Calcutta? Looks like they're screwing around in the temple of Thulsa Doom.

 

Sean:

Well at least he's defined where we're supposed to be, unlike certain tracts. Though I have to wonder how long it'll take before he gets the general culture and faiths of India completely wrong.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 2 Jessica:

"It feels like a little god!"

...that's what she said.

 

Sean:

The kid found a priceless historic artifact on his first try. You'd think this place would be swarming with Archaeologists if relics were this easy to dig out.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 3 Jessica:

Ok, that was incredibly stupid. Living where these kids do don't you think they'd be a little better at watching out for and handling themselves around poisonous snakes?

 

Sean:

Great plan Santosh, instead of say, avoid provocation and leave its territory, you opted to throw a rock and agitate the Hell out of this snake!

 

Jessica:

Yes, NOW he gets a stick. Excellent timing doofus.

 

   
   

Panel 4 Jessica:

Wait a minute!!! Where are you going?!? You're just going to leave him there?

Interestingly enough, the markings on that snake's hood seem to point to it being a Chinese Cobra rather than the types typically found in the Indian sub-continent. Though if we have any snake experts reading please feel free to sound off about this in the comments.

It's good to know this kid sucks just as bad at Herpetology as he does at first aid.

 

Sean:

"I killed it Raj!"

"Gee, thanks Santosh, now my leg feels so  much better."

 

Jessica:

Most snake bites don't effect people that quickly. Unless we're talking about an anaphylaxis reaction, in which case he wouldn't be doing much more than gasping and gurgling.

 

Sean:

Not to mention, snake bites kill about 5 people each year, out of the 7-8,000 people bitten. In fact, depending on the species you have between 25-50% of a chance that it'll just bite without any venom. Plus, the species of cobra native to India rarely bites at all.

 

   
   

Panel 5

Jessica:

Santosh doesn't believe in "gods" yet the first person he runs to is the white american reverend. That makes no sense.

 

Sean:

Seriously, his first instinct isn't to seek out a doctor or, knowing how "primitive" non-white cultures are in the Chickverse, a medicine man.

 

Jessica:

"Are you sure a snake bit him?

It's good to check on that point. Knowing this kid's track record it's a wonder he can even wipe himself.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 6 Jessica:

It's hard to tell in a written format but the reverend here doesn't sound very sincere in that second panel. Read it to yourself out loud.

 

Sean:

Gee that was fast. You know, even in the rare cases of fatal snake bites, they tend to be a slow death that may or may not be related to infection. For Raj to die this quickly he'd need to be submerged in a whole pit full of really pissed off Black Mambas.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 7 Jessica:

And now Santosh takes the untimely death of his friend as an opportunity to pump the reverend for questions regarding Satan. You'd really think this should be a tip off that this kid is trouble.

 

Sean:

"My God is stronger! My God is a 230 pound former marine with a career in MMA and a 13 inch penis!" Humble indeed.

 

Jessica:

For all of Christianity's claims for humbleness and supposed distaste for vanity think about this. How conceited is it to assume that all deities not directly related to your religion are associated with the devil? A good portion of the world doesn't even believe in the devil.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 8 Jessica:

I say again, clearly this kid is trouble.

 

Sean:

We get it lady, your baby is dead. Sheesh! The redundant department of redundancy is located in the redundant department of redundancy.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 9 Sean:

And he can't get any help from a village carpenter why? They might not be "True Christians" but I'm pretty sure they'd still take a job.

 

Jessica:

Shoddy workmanship on that ladder there. You'd think God would have provided better equipment for the upkeep of their church and such.

 

   
   

Panel 10 Jessica:

Santosh is just itching for a reason to worship the dark lord. I don't know if his inevitable possession is as innocent as it seems.

"In any situation, ask yourself... 'Could Satan help here?'"

 

Sean:

Whoa, that's one tough old man. A fall like that should have shattered his spine. Oh, and thanks a pantload Jesus.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 11 Jessica:

So who is this mysterious benefactor? Are they implying god will send some cash your way if you need it? That sounds like its veering dangerously close to that Prosperity Gospel scam.

 

Sean:

Seems like God's using them as his agents, dispatching them all over the world as needed. This would be kinda cool if he weren't "All powerful". Just saying.

 

Jessica:

What does he mean "Me and my big mouth?" Tom isn't a client of his, per se. He's going to use Kniering's agency regardless of his religion beliefs (or lack their of).

 

   
   
   

Panel 12 Jessica:

God never makes mistakes? I believe this man begs to differ.

 

Sean:

Well it would be kinda miraculous that a man his age survived a fall like that with only two broken legs, but surely there's a more efficient way of getting Chocolate and Vanilla bear over to India.


"Hey God, we're gonna have a possession over here in India and you might wanna send those two handsome heterosexual life partners to deal with it."


"Alright, I'm gonna go cripple an old man!"


"Uh... isn't that a bit extreme?"


"DO NOT QUESTION ME!"

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 13 Jessica:

Now the kid is offering implements of war in exchange for dark and arcane knowledge. Maybe he was an earlier coming of Aleister Crowley.

 

Sean:

Speaking as both a bladed weapon enthusiast and a guy who had a pocket knife as a kid: I don't think 10-12 year old boys would call a knife "beautiful".

 

Jessica:

<Crocodile Dundee> Now this is a knife! </Crocodile Dundee>

It may be an error in the method I used to scan these images but these kids are so red they are practically glowing. Maybe they're located a bit too close to Bhopal?

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 14 Jessica:

How the f&#k would a picture of the devil help anything? Here's a picture of the devil. Here's another. There aren't any photos of the devil. You know why? BECAUSE HE ISN'T REAL!!!

 

Sean:

Plus, you know. Lucifer was never depicted like that in the friggin' BIBLE!

 

Jessica:

YOINK!

What was she thinking leaving this poor kid unattended with a picture of the devil himself? It's amazing demons aren't possessing every kid with a library card.

Or what if he's lifting that picture so he can... you know... beat off to it or something.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 15 Sean:

Wait, that's what he traded for the picture? A dinky little pocket knife? I was expecting something like a bowie knife, a switchblade or hell even a swiss army knife.

 

Jessica:

What exactly did you expect dipshit? A GQ model?

 

Sean:

Yeah, no fooling. The ultimate source of all evil is pretty hideous to look at.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 16 Jessica:

The kid is so polite he calls him "Mr. Devil."

 

Sean:

"Oh please, Mr. Devil was my father. Call me Ri-Chan."

 

Jessica:

Check out the veritable talons on that kid, too! This (and the glowing eyes in the first panel) are all before he's possessed too. Are we sure this isn't the antichrist?

 

   

Panel 17
Jessica:

Glenco International is apparently a company that does consulting for interior decorating. Why are they dispatching the God Squad all over the globe?

Though being interior decorators would explain their... <ahem> rather close, personal relationship.

 

Sean:

And God's purpose for you was to tend to the village whose preacher is bedridden after God had him fall off a ladder so that he could...send you there...

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 18 Jessica:

Better watch it fellas. Chick doesn't take kindly to plane travel.

 

Sean:

Jack Chick should sue Pixar, he was doing talking planes back in the 70's.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 19 Sean:

"A cable from the United States, it must be important!"

"Hello, I am the last in line to the Nigerian crown and I need your help! Please send your bank details to (...)"

 

Jessica:

Harvey's just lazing about in a soiled wife-beater. Don't let something as pathetic as a shattered tibia keep you from doing the work of the lord!

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 20 Jessica:

"As if I didn't know." Michael Jackson! It's Michael Jackson, right?

 

Sean:

Even the 70-something year old men are ripped like Olympians when Fred Carter's doing the artwork.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 21 Sean:

"See!? He got hit by a car instead of faceplanting onto some concrete stairs! This is totally not a rip-off of that Satanic Hollywood movie I never saw!" Smooth Jack, real smooth.

 

Jessica:

"Most" of them leave the woman? That clergyman sure did a half-assed job.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 22 Sean:

You know, all things considered, this is still a better Exorcist sequel than "Exorcist 2: The Heretic"

 

Jessica:

Jesus. Don't demons get any time off between assignments? Like a lunch break or something? Satan's minions work like dogs.

 

   
   

Panel 23 Sean:

Two theories come to mind. Either God's messing with them again, or Satan's resorting to petty nuances to get in their way. Either way, this makes for a pretty lame holy battle.

 

Jessica:

Yes, Korla. If we aren't there by 2:30 on the dot the crusaders will get right back on the plane and leave. God got them the money to fly to India but can't convince them to take a 20 minute layover.

 

   
   
   

Panel 24 Jessica:

"Welcome to Calcutta!" exclaimed the airplane as it slammed unceremoniously into the tarmac.

 

Sean:

So what was the point of the flat tire? All it amounted to was an extra two panels of filler.

 

   
   
   

Panel 25
Sean:

That's... debatable to say the least. While it has been claimed to date back to the 1st Century, India has a history of not keeping records. The general consensus is that it was an established religion by the 6th century, but that's still about a 500 year margin of error. To put that in perspective we have a smaller time margin for determining the birth of Buddha.

 

Jessica:

What she won't tell you is that an overwhelming majority (almost 12 million) of those Christians ascribe themselves to Roman Catholicism, which is a fact I am sure Jack Chick is careful to gloss over thoroughly.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 26 Jessica:

It seems like Hinduism does claim to have over 300 million deities, though that is somewhat of a figurative amount.

 

Sean:

Three hundred million satanic gods, from a Civilization established thousands of years before the earliest Abrahamic texts.

 

Jessica:

I suppose Satan was busy establishing false religions as well back when he was planting all those dinosaur fossils.

 

   
   

Panel 27 Sean:

"Something very big is about to happen", Oh my....

 

Jessica:

Until God decides to send the message they'll just laze around and mooch. Good call.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 28 Sean:

Apparently letting in the Holy Spirit is a better fitness plan than Crossfit. Even for Fred Carter this is ridiculous.

 

Jessica:

Lol. Nice tie, Tim. It really goes well with the short sleeve shirt.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 29 Sean:

I don't think he's pounding on the wall lady, I think he's discovered trouser snake charming.

 

Jessica:

Santosh's dad rocking that little 'stache kind of looks a little like an old, puddiny Clark Gable there. Or maybe Gomez Addams.

 

Sean:

Really digging the stereotypical oil lamps here. Stereotypical Arabic lamps that is, I really don't get how culturally ignorant you have to be to confuse the two. Indian oil lamps look like this.

 

   
   
   

Panel 30 Sean:

Geezus lady, do you have to narrate every single thing you do?

 

Jessica:

"Must... narrate... actions... for... intellectually... deficient... audience..."

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 31 Sean:

Huh... this time they're sleeping in undershirts in separate beds. Though they still seem to have some pillow banter, and Tim's pose is more than a little suggestive...

 

Jessica:

You just know the action will heat up once the lights go down.

 

Sean:

Uh... that's a kind of femmy running style for a guy like Jim. I kinda expected him to be in a full sprint in hot pants... What? It's a Fred Carter book!

 

   
   

Panel 32 Sean:

Apparently we've found the good Mr. Carter's biggest shortcoming as an artist, he doesn't seem to know how to draw fire.

 

Jessica:

"Eh... just make it kind of red. They'll get the idea."

Chick depicts communism as vehemently anti-religion, but the relationship between religious dogma and marxist philosophy is a bit more convoluted than that.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 33 Sean:

Wait, Santosh set the fire? Then what the hell was the point of that scene with Arjun and the Commie? Also, where did he get the Kerosene? I doubt a kid his size could carry a can of the stuff big enough to burn down a church anyways. And how did he manage to pull it off in the short time span in between his mom checking on him and Big Jim Slade's midnight stroll?

 

Jessica:

Demons. That's how.

The dad is far too daft to put two and two together. Maybe communism makes you an idiot?

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 34 Sean:

No, that's not an ordinary lamp, they do have electricity in India you know.

 

Jessica:

Unless this is taking place in the early 20th century Chick seems determined to portray these people as living in poverty and squalor.

 

   
   
   

Panel 35 Sean:

Hoo boy, a dinner party scene with a possessed kid! This is going to be wacky!

 

Jessica:

Can you get promoted in Communism? Is that what his father does for a living? He's a Communist? Like he goes down everyday to the Communism plant for his eight hours? Does he belong to the Local Communists 419 Union?

 

   
   
   

Panel 36 Sean:

*Hysterical bout of laughter*

Oh god... that bottom panel! I don't know if it's the artwork, the scene of the kid puking on the table, or the priceless reactions of the dinner guests but man is this hilarious! I'm guessing Chick and Carter didn't want to do a scene of the kid urinating (Well... maybe just Chick) you know, like that movie this is totally not a rip off of?

 

Jessica:

This panel is soooooo exploitable... and it's not the only one we'll find before this is all through.

 

   
   
   

Panel 37 Sean:

Oh yeah, because Godless Communists have absolutely zero tolerance for children getting sick.

 

Jessica:

It isn't Arjun's fault the kid blew his cookies. Why should he be held responsible?

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 38 Sean:

I dunno, a shaking bed doesn't really inspire terror in me. Yeah, it's an obvious supernatural event, but it's hardly anything compared to twisting one's head 360 degrees.

 

Jessica:

Does Santosh even own shirt?!? I don't think I've seen him wear one in the entire comic.

Nice ragdoll he's pulling off in that lower panel there, also.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 39 Jessica:

Now the kid looks like he's trying to channel Edward G. Robinson there. Is this possession like that crappy scene from Casper where Bill Pullman pulls of a bunch of nonsensical actor cameos?

 

Sean:

Sure, a seizure. Everyone knows seizures cause heavy wooden beds to left two feet off the ground and shake around like a rodeo bull.

 

Jessica:

Twenty seconds?!?! HA!!! In my prime I could make a bed shake for a half hour, minimum! Santosh has no dedication.

 

   
   
   

Panel 40 Sean:

Really doc? You have no idea how to deal with a patient pretending to be a dog?

 

Jessica:

Good place to start would be to dope that kid up so much he could be used as a paperweight.

 

   
   
   

Panel 41 Sean:

Wow, contemporary medical technology. I wasn't expecting to see that outside of the U.S. in a Chick comic.

 

Jessica:

I was expecting something a little closer to this.

Now Santosh looks like a 1960's Morlock. Is he running through the entire golden age of Hollywood's A-list?

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 42 Sean:

Then why didn't you kill him ages ago?! Nice right cross by the way, enough to deck a grown man!

 

Jessica:

Santosh SMASH!!!

 

   
   

Panel 43 Sean:

Putting aside the fact that Santosh really is possessed, this doctor is way too quick to dub it a spiritual issue. Three weeks is hardly enough time to properly analyze something like this, especially in the Psychiatric field. I'd be more inclined to believe the kid has repressed trauma after seeing his best friend die from a snake bite. Just saying.

 

Jessica:

Given their archaic understanding of medicine as depicted by Jack Chick I'd think they'd be more inclined to recommend a lobotomy before an exorcism.

 

   
   
   

Panel 44 Sean:

Uh, no. If your Doctor suggests an exorcism your first instinct should be to sue for malpractice or report him to the Medical Council of India (Established roughly 40 years before this comic had been printed.)

 

Jessica:

Atheists... do not... act this way. He flip-flops from the first panel to the second.

"What's an exorcist?" Duuuurrrrr...

 

   
   

Panel 45 Sean:

Why is Santosh getting a beer gut? If the Demon is eating him alive inside shouldn't he be all skin and bones?

 

Jessica:

His face has become just one giant tangle of pubic hair. Or is this supposed to be symbolic, like the frame is a photograph and the demon inside of him prevents his face from being caught on film?

...somehow I doubt it.

 

Sean:

Also, why does this Buddhist Temple look more like a mosque? They don't share any kind of common lineage aside from the fact that they're both practiced in India.

 

   
   

Panel 46 Sean:

Ah yes, Buddhist monks, well known for their harsh attitudes and lack of compassion. I did some research, and while there are some branches of Buddhism that have exorcisms in their practices, they're mostly off-shoots in other nations and not strictly part of the core philosophy so I guess that's a point for Chick. Still, Santosh's mom really should have known that.

 

Jessica:

As I pointed out earlier though, finding a Catholic in India shouldn't be all that difficult. Let alone one willing to perform an exorcism.

"All he does is blame everything on the actions of a former life" because that is the only belief in Buddhism that I, the author, am even remotely familiar with. Go figure.

 

   
   

Panel 47 Sean:

I doubt he could have missed it, it's the only book on that shelf. I have to wonder what the good revs has in the way of reading material actually. Aside from the "good book" and this biblical demonology text (Why does he have that anyways?) how much you wanna bet his tastes amount to the Left Behind series and about a thousand Harlequin romance novels?

 

Jessica:

I really don't think he seems to be the type to keep a copy of the Encyclopedia of Hell lying around in his library.

 

   
   
   

Panel 48 Sean:

Uh... am I the only one unsettled by the way Tim's holding on to that boy's shoulder?

 

Jessica:

"God forgives you, Sabu. But we're still going to have to give you a whoopin'." <banjos playing>

 

   
   
   

Panel 49 Sean:

Because Chick couldn't just label one Religion as satanic/false/secret catholic plot (Trust me, he'll find a way to connect Hinduism to Catholicism.)

 

Jessica:

Oh, yes. Christian holy men would NEVER concern themselves with only the acquisition of earthy wealth.

 

   
   
   

Panel 50 Jessica:

His name is Ganesh. Because again I, the author, heard once that that was a name somehow associated with India in some way.

 

Sean:

*Hysterical fit of laughter*

I can't breathe! Kudos for topping the kid puking on the table scene! Such an exploitable panel, make that a meme, internet! Call it the Running Sadhu or something, but spread the hilarity!

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 51 Sean:

Really smart move there lady, just let the two random gentlemen into your house because they want to see your underage son.

 

Jessica:

I'll have to try that sometime at a concert or movie theatre.

"No, no. It's okay. God sent me here. I'm cool."

 

   
   
   

Panel 52 Sean:

.... you know, the reason the backwards speaking was unsettling in that other possession story was because it wasn't easily identified, and required the priest to play the recordings backwards to understand it. Oh, and it was also full paragraphs and sentences spoken backwards, not just two words.

 

Jessica:

So... if Santosh didn't want help (or wasn't able to speak) then Jim and Tim would be like "Oh, well then fuck 'em I guess. The kid can suck cocks in hell for all I care."

 

   
   

Panel 53 Sean:

So now they're back at the Reverend's house? I'm pretty sure a demon possessed kid is a pretty high priority. Yeah, he can't harm you with his Supernatural powers, but we already established that he had no problem setting fire to holy ground. Even putting that aside, he could get loose and harm the people who didn't accept Jesus yet (That is, if you really do care about the souls of those who are currently hell bound, which I really doubt given your indifference.

 

Jessica:

Yeah, Chick seems to think that a necessary part of an exorcism involves going off and leaving the afflicted. He's included it in other tracts as well, leading to the inevitable wacky hijinks.

 

   
   

Panel 54 Sean:

"Greater is he that is in you."

Oh myyyy!!!

 

Jessica:

Once again, Jesus is coming soon, says the man in 1975.

 

   
   
   

Panel 55 Sean:

Santosh had actually escaped and murdered about six children before getting shot by a vengeful villager, this is what happens when you leave the demon possessed kid alone while you go discuss biblical passages for a few hours.

 

Jessica:

They already came and asked the demon questions. Maybe they should have gone through the tutorial with old Harvey here first.

 

   
   
   

Panel 56 Sean:

Hinduism and Buddhism are secretly satanic plots to move people away from Christ, ours is the glorious true faith full of sunshine and goodness! Now let's cover the sinful in blood so that they can be accepted in the eyes of the lord!

 

Jessica:

If the battle is God's then why doesn't he get off his lazy ass and do something about it instead of sending in the Ambiguously Gay Duo here?

 

   
   
   

Panel 57 Jessica:

Cover the room in blood. I think that was what the demon wanted to do from the start.

"But you're a communist" which really shouldn't have anything to do with anything, but whatchagonnado?

 

 

 

   
   

Panel 58 Sean:

Why hasn't anyone tied Santosh to the bed? He could have offed himself at any time to escape the vessel. Also, if he hates the boy so much, why did he possess him!?

 

Jessica:

He's rocking a 'fro now. That's.... kinda racist, actually.

 

   
   

Panel 59 Sean:

And how do you intend to kill them without a body? Just stab them right now!

 

Jessica:

The demon hasn't put a whole lot of thought into this. He's just sort of winging it.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 59 Sean:

Well, that was easy. Exorcisms are usually supposed to be lengthy rituals, but these guys did it in like two seconds. Come to think of it, why didn't they just do this when they visited him earlier?

 

Jessica:

Are those supposed to be flies or something coming out of his mouth? Because that would be frickin' awesome.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 59 Sean:

As I said earlier, the Holy Spirit seems to be the ultimate in personal fitness. Santosh has dropped about 40 pounds of belly and ended up with a set of rippling biceps.


Jessica:

One possessed kid was all it took to convert a whole village worth of Buddhists, Muslims, Communists and God knows what else? Yeah, right.

 

Sean:

Yes, God's methods are perfect. To convert the village to his side he crippled an elderly man, set fire to his own church, had a kid go through the sheer torture of being possessed, and probably cast his friend into eternal damnation in order to do it! So much easier than simply visiting everyone at once. Or, you know, making the reverend float gently to the ground thus showing how he takes care of his own.

 

   
   
   

Panel 59 Sean:

Taken out of context it sounds like Big Jim Slade thinks the picture of the devil is really cool.

 

Jessica:

And the cycle begins anew...

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 59 Sean:

Jim's dialogue here is really off, I'm sure Jack was trying to sound hip by showing off his ability to speak jive. Even if he obviously slips up here and there. It probably helps that the only black guy he's known personally is Fred Carter. Yes, really.

 

Jessica:

So humans are basically just game tokens in one huge game of supernatural keep-away? That's a pretty limited and sad view of humanity.

 

   
   
   
   

Conclusion
Sean:

There was a weird sort of undertone to this one, because it's pretty obviously a rip off of "The Exorcist" (Big shock, I know.) This implies that Jack Chick actually saw the film himself, which means he's been to the movies since at least the 70's, something I never imagined would happen. All that said though, this one is a riot. It's got all the makings of Chick tract gold, from the bad artwork to the satanic shenanigans. Definitely worth reading for a laugh.

 

   
 

 

 

 

 

 


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Last Modified: January 16, 2015

 

 

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