Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios



Today's Candidate:


Sabotage?

Angel of Light

1984 Jack Chick

Uploaded January 12th, 2018



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
Conclusion


Introduction
Cate:

This tract is Chick's attempt to prove that any Bible other than the KJV has been messed with by demons and/or Catholics.  So this is going to be a pretty history-and-theology heavy dissection.  Lighter fare will follow, I promise.  Still, the plot is as crazy as anything Chick has ever done: a good Christian boy goes bat shit insane and starts burning down Bible colleges after being told the King James Bible isn't the word of God by his professor.  Anti-Catholic conspiracies, Ba'al worship, and other Chick staples all make appearances.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 1
Cate:

"Sabotage (It means to wreck or destroy.)" Thanks, Chick.  Thanks a lot.

If I didn't already know that this comic was drawn by Fred Carter, the shirtless muscle boys would have made that clear.

 

Jessica:

Speaking of shirts, Slator here doesn't look like he's in any sort of prison uniform. I wonder why that is?

 

Cate:

He's just disappointed it's not a Bible Thumper... (NSFW)

 

   
   
   

Panel 2 Cate:

Mrs. Slator looks like Helen from the Marriage Mess. Maybe they're related.

 

Jessica:

Is that supposed to be a picture of Gary there in the foreground? If it is then years in prison have NOT been kind to him.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 3 Cate:

One gets the sense that Mr. Slator doesn't actually want to leave prison, what with threatening... whoever that is... and stating his plans to commit further arson.  In fairness, if given the choice between jail or being stuck in a Chick Tract, well...

 

Jessica:

You get that flippant with a guard and next thing you know there would be 50 guys in SWAT gear carrying stun shields ready to "extract" you.

 

   
   
   

Panel 4 Cate:

So this guy was put away for burning down Bible colleges...and his mom thinks a pair of missionaries (albeit fabulous ones) are the best choice to meet him when he gets out of jail?  Huh.

 

Jessica:

He remembers two random dudes from a church a decade ago? Well, I guess they are kind of hard to forget when they're together like that.

"I need the bread." Why is Slator the only one giving out all of the 70's jive talk in this comic?

 

   
   
   

Panel 5

Cate:

"My sparkler was lit!" Ewww.

 

Jessica:

"I was really turned on!" Jesus will do that to you.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 6 Cate:

God, these are some ugly people.

"heh...heh..." Not quite "HAW HAW!" but it'll do.

I...somehow doubt any professor of theology would say, "Yeah, we used to have the Word of God™, but it's gone now. For all we know, the cargo-culters are right, and Prince Phillip really is God."  

Also, how long had he been at Bible College to not know that the original manuscripts for biblical texts are lost? Did he really imagine Jesus spoke the king's English?

 

Jessica:

*The man on the street. *Writings. With all of the footnotes he used in this comic you would think he was speaking a different language.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 7 Cate:

Hypocrite*

*Phony

Man, Chick really didn't think much of his audience's reading comprehension skills, did he?

 

Jessica:

*Like a vice-principal. For all of you in the audience who never went to college and thus have no idea what a "dean" is.

How does this guy know what the "Dean of Men" believes?

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 8 Cate:

This guy's faith is really easily shaken, isn't it?  Bet he'd fall for that Nigerian Prince thing, too. (And then burn stuff down when he was told it was a scam.)

I like how this guy is talking about how much his mouth hurts and how he just swallowed his teeth. Chick's understanding of how humans act really make these tracts come to life, ya know?

 

Jessica:

Gary's reaction to all of this seems to be just a tad overblown. Just because this guy doesn't believe something in particular about your sect of Christianity there's no reason YOU have to believe it too. Get a grip man!

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 9 Cate:

“You got me this time!”  Dude, you weren't even being subtle! OF COURSE they got you.

Also, “two to ten years for aggravated assault, attempted murder, and arson,” sounds...unlikely.

Also, I should have had a drinking game for every time Chick feels the need to define perfectly common words.  Oy.

 

Jessica:

So I'm assuming he attempted to burn down just this one Bible college. Who's to say all Bible colleges believe what this one random professor at this one random location happens to believe?

 

   
   

Panel 10 Cate:

“There's nothing you jokers can say that will change my opinion.”  Dude, we've already seen how easily your opinion can be changed.  5 minutes with Tom Cruise, and you'd be a Scientologist.

I have never been to Pea Soup Andersen's, and I have literally no desire to go there.  Even so, I pity them for being featured in this tract.  It's like reverse product placement.

 

Jessica:

Jim is a master of reverse psychology. Either that or Gary really is as idiotic as he looks.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 11 Cate:

Why is “Alexandrian” in a lighter font than everything else?

 

Jessica:

Is Andersen's, like, one of Chick's favorite restaurants? Why put all of this detail into this one random background element?

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 12 Cate:

Adam appears to have boobs on his back.  That is all.

God, Gary is unbelievably hideous.

 

Jessica:

He reminds me of Billy from Marriage Mess. All of these comics have a strong Marriage Mess vibe to them when you get right down to it.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 13 Cate:

You know, considering this guy flips out over learning that texts thousands of years old can get lost, how badly would he spazz to hear that most scholars don't believe John of Patmos was the same guy as John the apostle?

What, nothing about Mithras or Sol Invictus?  I'm starting to think that Ba'al is the only pagan deity Chick knew, and I use that term loosely, as there were in fact multiple gods known by that title:  "Ba'al" simply means "Lord."  In fact, the Judeo-Christian god may have been  called "Ba'al," on occasion, as well, at least until that particular term became too heavily associated with the Phonicians and their gods, in particular the god known as Hadad, a storm and fertility deity.

Anyway, my point is: to say that the Romans worshiped Ba'al is ba'allocks.

Also, that guy looks nothing like Nero.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 14 Cate:

God, Snidely Whiplash was less blatantly evil than these guys.  Look, not to defend burning people alive or throwing them to the beasts, but context is necessary.  It's a bit like mentioning that the U.S. dropped  two nuclear bombs on Japan without mentioning that World War II was going on:  it may not justify it, but at least it makes clear that it wasn't just done for shits and giggles.  It's the same sort of thing here.  The problem wasn't that, oh no, these kind, wholesome Christians are really putting a cramp in our lifestyle of orgies and decadence, so let's throw them to the lions.  To the contrary: due to Christians' secrecy, early on the Romans viewed the Christians as a bunch of depraved, incestuous cannibals.

Anyway, aside from that, the Romans weren't overly concerned with what one believed or didn't so long as one would at least pay lip service to the imperial cult.  To refuse to do so was as much as political offense as it was a religious one.  Christians who were unwilling to do so were not just  “standing strong for Christ” or whatever, they were in effect committing treason.  Which brings us to the whole throwing them to the beasts thing: this wasn't just a Christian thing; Romans threw condemned criminals of all stripes to the beasts: runaway slaves, poisoners, deserters, and counterfeiters being a few.  I mean, not like that makes being killed by wild animals any more pleasant, but it was hardly unique.

 

   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 15 Cate:

That is one trippy looking cave.

“Listen to them sing!”  They're burning alive. Doubt that does much for one's musical abilities.

 

Jessica:

*To hassle or make them miserable. Now if there is one word I am positive Chick's audience is familiar with, it's persecution.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 16 Cate:

What is going on behind Dr. Hillman?  It's like a wicker basket version of Cthulu.

I like that Satan was responsible for Christians *not* being persecuted this time.  Guy can't get a break.

His name was Cush, was it?  Yeah, I can kind of see it.

 

   
   
   

Panel 17
Cate:

Nimrod, take that horn off.  You look like a douche.  

And why is Chick dragging Gilgamesh into this?  They're not connected.  At all.

“She was as beautiful as she was evil.”  So, not very, is what you're saying?  

All of the above is found in The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop...  And that really says it all.  Hislop was basically  the David Icke or Alex Jones of the 1800s.  (In fact, Hislop's work is often cited by Icke as well, with Icke claiming poor Semiramis set up the Reptilians.)  Semiramis, by the way, is never mentioned in the Bible.  Nor is she associated with Nimrod anywhere outside of Hislop's work and the works of those inspired by him.  Rather, she was a legendary figure possibly based on Shammuramat, an Assyrian queen. Also, according to legend, she invented the chastity belt and eunuchs.  Make of that what you will.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 18 Cate:

It appears that Semiramis decided to get herself a ventriloquist dummy.  Well, everyone needs a hobby.

Yeah, this whole “Confession started with the Babylonians,” thing is more Hislop nonsense, as is the whole Tammuz thing.

 

Jessica:

Yeah, I'd really like to see a credible source for this "confessionals in Egypt and Babylon" nonsense.

 

Cate:

The Caesars were smart enough to realize if they lost their armies, they'd be shit out of luck!  And anyway, in the imperial cult of the time, they were already religious leaders.  This goes back to why Christians refusing to participate in the state religion was such a concern.

 

   
   
   

Panel 19 Cate:

So the Roman Empire was a bit of mess, in terms of rulers.  There were co-emperors, junior emperors, senior emperors...basically, at this point, the Roman Empire was lousy with emperors.  Both Constantine and Maxentius were emperors to one degree or another.  Explaining who was emperor of what, how they became emperor (Hereditary? Proclaimed? Promoted?), and what their relationship to the other emperors was would require a spread chart, so on the one hand, I can hardly blame Chick for skipping over all that.

On the other hand, Chick gets everything wrong, so I'm not inclined to cut him any slack here.

Actually, by all reliable (i.e., non-Chick) accounts, what Constantine had painted was the Chi-Rho sign.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 20 Cate:

No.  No, he didn't.  Constantine didn't even formally convert to Christianity until he was on his death bed, and although that doesn't necessarily rule out belief on his part – it definitely rules out him being the Pope, for fuck's sake.

And as for the idea that, OMG, “Summus Pontifex” is the title of the Pope!!11”...well, sure, it's one of them.  It was also the title of the the high priest of the Roman state religion, and so kind of went hand in hand with being emperor.  I feel like Chick doesn't understand words can refer to multiple things: If I say, “The president is coming for dinner,” I could mean Donald Trump.  I could also mean the president of the Nabisco corporation.  But you'd have to be a raging idiot to assume that just because the president of the Nabisco corporation has the title “president,” that means he or she is also the president of the U.S.  Chick is that sort of idiot.

“That's good enough for me!”  Well, yes, we've already established that Gary will believe literally anything without question.

 

Jessica:

Like all of Chick's strawmen, he just swallows whatever he's fed hook, line and sinker.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 21 Cate:

Oh, yay, the Masons!  I get Conspiracy Bingo!

 

Jessica:

If the Egyptians were worshiping Isis and Horus, how could they be worshiping Ba'al? Or is this more of that "People really worship what I say they worship" crap?

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 22 Cate:

Would you be shocked to hear that the only references to "The Center of Christian Learning and Culture" in Alexandria that I could find came from this tract?

Oh, Origen.  I've always had something of a soft spot for him.  He's considered to be an early church father and pretty much the founder of Christian monasticism, but some of his more unorthodox views (like the idea that even Satan would eventually be redeemed) kept him from being canonized.  The fact that he was rumored to have castrated himself didn't help, either.  

Also, considering he pre-dated Arius, he couldn't have been an Arian. If anything, Arius was influenced by Origen, not the other way around.

Quick overview of Arianism: Attributed to a Christian presbyter named Arius, Arianism can most simply be said to be the belief that Jesus was begotten by God at a point in time - that is to say, he hadn't always existed - and that Jesus was therefore subordinate in some way to God.  All in all, nothing there sounds that shocking today - probably plenty of Christians today may hold similar views without considering it Arianism; the Trinity after all is a tricky concept. Nevertheless, what's the point of religion if not to fight over the finer points of theology?

Anyway, that aside: Constantine called the First Council of Nicea, which condemned Arian beliefs, and Constatine himself exiled Arius and ordered his works burned.  So the idea that he'd be seeking out Arian-leaning Bibles makes no sense.  Like most things in Chick-land, really.

 

   
   
   

Panel 23 Cate:

Apparently the Waldenses were also time travelers.  How else to explain their spiffy neon green and orange mountaineering wear?

If there's going to be that much text, why even bother making this a comic?

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 24 Cate:

O.k. This is John 3:16 from (duh duh duh) a CATHOLIC BIBLE (The Knox Translation of the Vulgate, should anyone want to double check):

“God so loved the world, that he gave up his only-begotten Son, so that those who believe in him may not perish, but have eternal life.“  

And here it is in the Douay-Rheims version, which dates from the 16th century:

“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.“

I'm...not seeing why Catholics would be “amazed to see Jesus loved them,” here.

Dude. I learned about the Inquisition in school.  If the Catholic church is trying to cover it up, they're doing a shitty job of it.

 

Jessica:

What king is that supposed to be? King Fat-Ass the Fourth?

 

   
   
   

Panel 25
Cate:

How long was this fucker at Bible College that he doesn't know what “heretic” means?

 

   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Panel 26 Cate:

Ah, o.k..  When Chick writes about people not knowing about the Inquisition, he means they don't know his weird S&M dungeon orgy version. I like the spread-eagled Saint Andrew's Cross girl.

 

Jessica:

We've got that "sharp, brittle cloth" torture that Chick likes to misrepresent again.

 

   
   
   

Panel 27 Cate:

Christ, that's a Wall o' Text.

Again, the Catholic version: For the justice of God is revealed therein, from faith unto faith, as it is written: The just man liveth by faith.    What exactly did Chick imagine was in Catholic Bibles? 'And verily,' said Ba'al, 'Go forth and pretend to be Christians, for centuries hence, it will drive a certain cartoonist up the wall.' And the priests temporarily ceased molesting alter boys and turned to each other and said, 'O.k.'  Then they went and baked some death cookies.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 28 Cate:

England was saved from being Roman Catholic.

As I've mentioned before, I believe, I come from a Catholic background, and though my current leanings are more "Humanist Who Likes Stained Glass Windows," this sort of ignorant anti-Catholicism makes me want to go buy some rosary beads and prayer cards just out of spite.

So Chick was saying earlier that “God wouldn't let His Word be lost,” but apparently God had no problem waiting until 1611 to give people a proper translation.  That's a bit dickish, I'd think.

“Interesting note: God blessed England and America as long as they honored that book.”  If by “interesting,” you mean, “total bullshit.”

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 29 Cate:

For fuck's sake!  Newman was not "educated by Jesuits."  He came from a solidly Protestant, even anti-Catholic, background and while he did become a Catholic, it was through the Passionists, a separate group from the Jesuits entirely. Seriously, the Catholic church has tons of religious orders, and I find it somewhat a shame that Chick apparently didn't know this, because otherwise we'd have got tracts about the shady dealings of, say, "The Canons Regular" or "The Barefoot Carmelites."

I don't think Chick can decide which is worse: people being tortured for their beliefs, or people of all religious backgrounds working together. What a guy.

 

Jessica:

Interfaith cooperation scares the ever-loving shit out of them for some reason.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 30 Cate:

You say all this now, Gary, but just wait.  Tomorrow you'll meet the Moonies or something, and next thing you know,there'll be more arson.

 

Jessica:

"How do I do that?" So he went all the way through Bible college and doesn't know how to receive Jesus? I thought he had already been saved once before?

Not only will he believe anything you throw at him, but he has the attention span of a goldfish to boot. Maybe he has some sort of organic brain damage or something.

 

   
   
   
   

Panel 31 Cate:

And literally all of that is in the Catholic bible, as well.

 

Jessica:

Just wouldn't be a Chick comic without that bloody, suffering Jesus and a brisk John 3:16 enema to go along with it.

 

   
   
   

Panel 32 Cate:

Jesus may not expect Gary to do it again, but literally no-one else would be surprised.

Man, that face.  Normally Chick characters get better looking once they're saved.

 

   
   
   
   
   

Panel 33 Cate:

Oh boy. Another Wall o' Text.  Haven't had enough of those this tract.

 

Jessica:

I guess that is what the "real" Gary is supposed to look like. I'll be damned if I can see the resemblance though.

 

   
   
   
   

Conclusion
Cate:

So, that was painful.  More painful than being torn apart by wild beasts? Who can say, but it certainly took longer. Still, this is pure, unadulterated Chick insanity, and so I give it 3 out of 5 Non-KJV Bibles.

 

   
   
   
   

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Last Modified: January 12, 2018

 

 

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