Not Another Relgious Tract Dissection by Andrew Bean and Jessica Blum

Today's Candidate:

© 1984 Jack Chick

Uploaded October 28th, 2009

Page Index

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"Lisa" is an old tract, and one you won't find on Chick's site. It deals with the topic of child molestation in such an unfathomably awful way that it was withdrawn by Chick, something that almost never happens.

In this tract Henry, an out-of- work father, turns to pornography to ease his troubles. Soon he is molesting his daughter Lisa, and then his neighbor Charlie joins in as well, giving Lisa herpes. When a doctor discovers the truth, he witnesses to Henry about the gospel, and then Henry goes home to his family and promises never to do bad things again. The end.

Wait, that's the end? Oh shit.


Buckle up, guys! We're in for the big one. A tract so bad Chick himself discontinued it has got to reach some new level of horrific.



Yeah, this one's a doozy. It would be tempting to just put "OH SWEET JESUS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD" by each panel but we'll try our best for some actual commentary.







Here we have a lovely window shot of an antique lamp. What this has to do with the perversity that follows, I can't honestly say.



This comic even feels darker than other Chick tracts of the era. Maybe it's just the low quality scans, but it feels like the grime is coming through the pages.






Page 1 Jessica:

Getting pinched all night by drunken old men can be rough, but with the downward slide today's Bob Evans' are on there is no telling what sort of harassment each new day will bring.



You know, in the left panel, she's just talking to herself. She asks a question, then replies, "I'm doing all I can!" as though Henry has said something sarcastic. I guess the wife is hearing voices, on top of all the other problems this family has.





Page 2

You know, we don't see Lisa until the very last panel, and we never see her sister. What if this tract is like "A Beautiful Mind" where the children don't actually exist?

Actually, that would make this entire train wreck of a comic a lot less depressing.



So they make the kids do the housework. Of course, we see later that Lisa can't be any older than 6, and we don't know if the sister is older or younger- my guess is younger. Setting aside the issue of child abuse, is it even a good idea to make small children do all the housework? I mean, even if you get them to comply, the results aren't going to be exactly spectacular.






Page 3 Jessica:

So you rent a dirty movie and they loan you the VCR for free? When was the last time you could rent a VCR from a video store?



I guess it's sort of like the "open up a bank account, get a free toaster" thing banks used to do. Even so, back in 1984 a VCR was kind of a big deal. They were huge metal contraptions, and they weren't cheap, certainly not cheap enough to just hand out to renters who might or might not return them.

How much do you want to bet it's a Betamax.






Page 4 Jessica:

Assuming the kids actually are real they are presumably in the kitchen or upstairs in their rooms while Dad chills on the living room couch watching "Debbie Does Dallas" and jacking it. This guy has absolutely no shame whatsoever.



Ok, so he goes to rent a video, then suddenly he's watching porn. Is that where the slippery slope starts? Rent video -> watch porn -> molest daughter. Seems iron-clad to me.

And Charlie just invites himself in. No shame at all.

"So, I see you're watching porn. Mind if I join in?"

"Yes, yes I would mind. Quite a bit."






Page 5 Andrew:

You know, the comic seems to imply that watching porn led him into molesting his daughter, but this panel suggests that the abuse has actually gone on for some time. I know Chick is the kind of person who confuses correlation with causality, but this is just confusing.








Page 6 Jessica:

So Charlie gave the herp to Lisa, who gave it to Henry (who presumably gave it to his wife.)

"I'm going to kill myself." I'd get to it if I were you. Do us all a favor.



So the less on here is: don't let Charlie in on your secret, he'll give everyone herpes. Right? Right? (Crickets) Ok, ok, I know this is grotesque. Moving on.






Page 7 Jessica:

"LIES!!!" Yes! Because if your daughter was going to make up a malicious story about you sexually abusing her she'd totally throw in a non-sequitur sub-plot involving sexual slavery with the hairy neighbor. Also impressive how she actually went out of her way to infect herself with an incurable STD just to give the story credence. That girl deserves an Oscar or something </sarcasm>

Not even God can help your ass now, Henry!



"How did this ever happen?" Henry, like his creator Chick, isn't familiar with basic principles of causation. It was two panels ago, dimwit!




Page 8 Andrew:

That's right Henry, your biggest problem is that you're a bad husband and a lousy friend. Woe is you.

So did he lose his job because his marriage was falling apart? That doesn't make much sense, but the sentence order seems to suggest that.








Page 9 Jessica:

I was a good person, until this one, teeny tiny little indiscretion. That's like saying "I've never done anything wrong, except for that one time I raped, murdered and burned the entire population of that nunnery!"

"I'm a total failure", "I was always a good person", "I've become like a creature of the night (WTF?)", "Basically I'm good." This guy must be schitzo or something.



Yeah, I don't think there's any way that can pass muster. "I do bad stuff pretty much all the time, but I'm basically good." So what the hell does "basically good" mean, Henry? "Oh, well, I make sure to call my mother at least once a week, just to check up on her. And I've never run over anybody's pet. At least not deliberately. So yeah, I'm one of the good guys."

Frankly, if anyone is a candidate for Christian hell, it's Henry here.






Page 10 Jessica:

I can appreciate you being all nonchalant about Hell... but... for Christ's sake YOU RAPED YOUR DAUGHTER! Haw, Haw, indeed.

"Hell is going to be a never ending nightmare, a place of screams and utter torment" ...not unlike maximum security prison. Don't drop the soap, Henry. I hear they don't take kindly to your type in there.



Giant non-sequitur here. First: "Oh no! I've been caught! God will send me to hell for what I've done!" Second: "Henry, everyone who isn't saved goes to hell, even people who didn't rape their daughters." Third: "Oh, well, then hell sounds like fun!"

This is approaching Chewbacca defense levels of nonsense.






Page 11 Jessica:

"It will be intolerable torment for all ETERNITY!!! GOD IS LOVE!!!! LOOOOVVVVEEEE HHHIIIIMMMM!!!!"



Chick stuff (and a lot of evangelical material) works on a sort of weird doublethink. We're told again and again that it doesn't matter what you do, you'll go to hell if you don't believe in Jesus. The old "faith not works" dichotomy. At the same time, we have stuff like this tract, designed to get people to realize that doing things like, oh say, raping your daughter, will send you to hell. Because otherwise people might not know, you see? I'm not talking about writing something about the horrors of child abuse, it's about what sends you to hell. If everyone's doomed for the old hot pot, why bother with all these separate tracts aimed at different sins?

Sigh. I suppose I shouldn't try to understand. Wrapping your head around this kind of thing is bad for one's sanity.






Page 12 Andrew:

"You see Henry, because of a cosmic error in the way things work in my version of this religion, there's a get-out-of-jail free card for people just like you. As long as you accept Jesus, all that early stuff is expunged from your record, just like all those murders I committed when I was 16."








Page 13 Jessica:

I was always seriously turned off by the expression "Love Gift." It sounds... obscene in some way.



It also makes God sound like some rejected boyfriend. "You won't accept my love gift? Then I'll make your life hell!"






Page 14 Jessica:

Leave it to Pr0n to destroy a family.

The sex crimes are just beginning? In one act he's committed rape, sexual assault, incest, pedophilia, child sexual slavery and god only knows what else! What more could he have done in the category of  "sex crimes." The only thing you could do to her that's worse than what you've already done is to kill her!



Sex crimes and rock and roll. Yeah, maybe I'm just sheltered, but I can't think of too many sex crimes Henry has yet to commit.

Also, there's that bondage word again. It's not as prevalent here as it is in Dark Dungeons, but it always suggests a weird Freudian undertone to these tracts, even ones that aren't about sex, like this one.






Page 15 Andrew:

"Try Jesus! He's free for the first 30 days. If at any time you decide you don't want this new savior, you can return him and try another savior at no additional cost. Options include: Mithras, Osiris, Buddha, and many others! Operators are standing by!"








Page 16 Jessica:

Clean, huh? Did God cure his herpes? What about Lisa's?



Henry simply knows that he's been forgiven. Just. Like. That. Who knew salvation was so easy?






Page 17 Jessica:

He's been totally absolved of all guilt. And this is a... good thing...?

"I never knew Jesus could be this real." That could have something to do with the fact he's not.



Wife: "You got a job?"

Henry: "Better! I got saved!"

Wife: "But you didn't get a job?"

Henry: "Well.... no."

Wife: "Well, when Jesus can pay his share of the rent, he can stay. Otherwise, get back out there!"






Page 18 Jessica:

"What about MEEEEEEE?!?!?"



Jesus has turned Henry's whole life around within the past half-hour. All those things that were so hard, like stopping himself from raping his daughter, will now be so simple. Oh Henry, you're on Easy Street from now on!






Page 19 Jessica:

She knew what he was doing... and she did NOTHING?!? God this family sucks.

And apparently she beat Lisa to boot. This kid just got dealt a really bad hand.



"I hate you, and I hate Lisa." The other daughter is A-OK, though? Somehow that seems hard to believe.

So why does she hate Lisa, anyway? I can understand hating Henry.






Page 20 Andrew:

I suspect Lisa's already scarred for life, Jesus or no Jesus. Injuries don't go away just because you stop inflicting them.








Page 21 Jessica:

Jesus jumping Mary crap on a pogo-stick! You go through the tract thinking Lisa is like fourteen, sixteen years old (which is bad enough) but Christ, look at her! She can't be a day over seven!!! The teddy bear is a nice touch, too. Thanks for that, Chick.



And there's the punchline. This is what takes this tract from being "merely" a sordid piece of filth and raises it to the heights of pure abomination.







Wait a minute!!! THAT'S IT?!?!? THAT'S ALL?!?! What about the neighbor? What about the herpes? What about the medical negligence on the part of the doctor for failing to report all of this mess?!?! Is ANYONE going to prison?



This is just terrible, and what's worse is that it probably came from some kind of good intentions. "I'll show people child abuse is bad!" Somewhere along the road, it turned into this. The combination of horrifying acts of cruelty with the easy salvation typical of Chick makes the result grotesque, in a "I can't believe anyone actually thinks like this" way.

From the point of view of a non-believer, this all looks perilously close to teaching awful people to forgive themselves for the awful things they've done, because gosh, otherwise they might get punished, and we wouldn't want that. Remove Jesus from the equation, and all you have is a man evading the law.






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Last Modified: January 24, 2024



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