Left Icon
Left Icon Open
Back From The Dead?


Collapse all Button

Contributions or comments related to this page?

» Email us

Last Updated:

» May 20, 2024
Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

Back From The Dead? (BACK)
Back From The Dead?. Tract #052. Art by Jack Chick - © 1982 Chick Publications

Back From The Dead? - Tract #052 (BACK)
Art by Jack Chick - © 1982 Chick Publications

First Published: March 20th, 2011

"Back From The Dead?" tells the story of a man, near death after some kind of accident or illness, who endures a harrowing experience which he believes he sees hell, which of course looks like modern cultural depictions of hell. The nameless man then summons a preacher to help, and is saved. A Jack Chick take on "near death experiences", supposedly based off a true story.





Page Index
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

o Introduction collapse_button

AndrewAndrew One of the big problems with stories about an afterlife is that the retort "How do you know? You're still alive!" is a pretty valid response. As a result it's not surprising that Chick would latch on to a tale like this, one that happens to validate his beliefs. Of course, near-death experiences that clash with those beliefs are probably ignored, as are the more mundane physical explanations for these experiences.


o Cover / Page 1 collapse_button

Cover / Page 1
JessicaJessica The cover has a weird sort of 8-Bit quality to it. Like it's a deleted scene from Shadowgate or something. Though, considering the malarkey we're about to experience I wouldn't rule out it coming from a retro-80's console game.
AndrewAndrew I think Chick likes to do these "bait-and-switch" covers. The idea seems to be that you'll pick it up and think, "oh wow, zombies, cool", then open it up and get saved. It's like those little pamphlets that look like $20 bills, but when you pick them up they say, "disappointed? Find Jesus!" or something similarly smarmy.


o Page 2 collapse_button

Page 2
JessicaJessica They aren't referring to the guy in the back of the ambulance, but rather the guy on the street corner. "He isn't going to make it. In just a second they're going to be cleaning up what's left of him with a sponge! GTA M^!&@F^@$#!"
AndrewAndrew Why does the ambulance say "PARAMEDICS" instead of "AMBULANCE". Is this some kind of regional thing?

Also, it's usually printed in mirror image so you can read it in your rear-view mirror.


o Page 3 collapse_button

Page 3
JessicaJessica "CODE BLUE!" "Ungh!Good God, ya'll! What is it good for?!?! Absolutely nothing.
AndrewAndrew I guess "Code Blue" means different things in different places in Chick-land. In Soul Story, it seems to mean, "There's a prison riot!"

Actually, if both this comic and Soul Story existed in the same universe, that... would be awesome.


o Page 4 collapse_button

Page 4
JessicaJessica I don't get a pulse? That sounds a bit stilted. "I don't have a pulse" or "I can't find a pulse" perhaps. But that seems weird.
AndrewAndrew Again with the "@!!!**" Though instead of "we're losing him, shit", which is what it's probably supposed to be, I like to imagine that the doctor is actually referring to the nurse. "We're losing him, bitch! And it's all your fault! Get the paddles!"
JessicaJessica Also, I have the worst misreads. For a second I thought the doctor said "Okay, let's use the paddies." Like it's time to call in the Irish or something.
AndrewAndrew Shore enough laddie, with the luck of the Oirish, anytin's possible! Now gi' me 20 ccs inaprovaline, stat!

(Apologies to all Irish everywhere.)


o Page 5 collapse_button

Page 5
JessicaJessica It's like he slammed him as hard on his chest as he could in a desperate attempt to shatter his ribcage. Man, this hospital sucks.
AndrewAndrew We're going to beat this guy to death and then all the way back to life again!
JessicaJessica What happened to this guy anyway? He doesn't appear to be injured in any visible manner. Did he have a stroke or a coronary or something?


o Page 6 collapse_button

Page 6
JessicaJessica "Terminated!" As in "That ought to do it. Now I can get back to my golf game."
AndrewAndrew What kind of doctor says "Terminated" like that? Makes it sound like he deliberately killed him.


o Page 7 collapse_button

Page 7
JessicaJessica This must be taking place in an operating theatre or something. Seems a bit unorthodox. Either that or the whole hospital just evaporated into the void.
AndrewAndrew "You didn't reach his relatives? Good, now we can do whatever we want with him."

He's lucky he wasn't an organ donor.


o Page 8 collapse_button

Page 8
JessicaJessica "New stiff, Cathy?" "Yes, Barney. You?" "Nope, same one I showed you yesterday. Just working with what God gave me."
AndrewAndrew Who the crap is Barney, anyway? Why does he get to order the nurse, in essence, "Hey, go do that work on my desk. I'm too busy standing here to be productive."
JessicaJessica Once again, if a morgue gives you the creeps, maybe you're in the wrong line of work. Chick seems to think that all medical professionals are poorly suited to doing their jobs.


o Page 9 collapse_button

Page 9
AndrewAndrew I like to think this guy just sits there with the sheet over him, waiting for just the right moment to pop out and give the nurse a heart attack.
JessicaJessica ... mother...


o Page 10 collapse_button

Page 10
JessicaJessica DO NOT WANT!!!!
AndrewAndrew Oh, exploitable.

Incidentally, while setting up the page for this tract, we had panels from this tract and The Visitors at the same time, which led to unintentional hilarity.


o Page 11 collapse_button

Page 11
AndrewAndrew So, is there some particular reason this guy came back to life?
JessicaJessica "This story is partially based on a true story, 'Three Men Who Went To Hell,' shown on "PM Magazine" and is, as everyone is aware, complete and utter bullshit."


o Page 12 collapse_button

Page 12
JessicaJessica Why is it so "weird" and "spooky" that someone in a hospital is suffering from a mental delusion?
AndrewAndrew I'm surprised that Chick brings in the preacher right away. In a lot of comics he would have pulled in a Catholic priest first, then "exposed him" as a phony hypocrite. I guess there weren't enough panels available.


o Page 13 collapse_button

Page 13
JessicaJessica The preacher's amazed he wants to get saved. He thought most people inherently understood that his whole gig was just a money making scam.

And, of course, there's no second chance! Unlike the one this guy just got. So, yeah.
AndrewAndrew 'Cause nobody actually wants to be saved, you gotta bamboozle them into it!


o Page 14 collapse_button

Page 14
JessicaJessica "...and they were singing and moving candy. And then we got in this boat and went through this scary-ass tunnel. It was awful!!!"
AndrewAndrew Sounds like he accidentally wandered into a frat initiation.

"And then I heard the chief demon yell, 'Get the paddles!'"


o Page 15 collapse_button

Page 15
JessicaJessica What's the big eff'in deal? It looks like a Rammstein concert. Don't be such a pansy.
AndrewAndrew So was he in like hell's waiting room or something?

Also, in Chick's theology, when you die, you don't go to hell immediately. Instead you go to a "place of waiting" (not Purgatory), which is awful, but is not hell, and you stay there until judgment day, when you really go to hell. Did this guy somehow jump to the front of the line?


o Page 16 collapse_button

Page 16
JessicaJessica Yep. Hell will suck. By the way, God is Love. Don't forget that part.
AndrewAndrew Oh yes, all those preachers who never talk about hell. Yeah, maybe in the really liberal churches, but most preachers I've heard are perfectly willing to tell you you're going to hell.


o Page 17 collapse_button

Page 17
AndrewAndrew What the crap does "punk rock" have to do with anything at all in this comic? I guess any stick will do to beat some dogs.
JessicaJessica The preacher kind of looks like a fat version of the dad from ALF. Or a slightly younger version of the dad from Heathcliff.


o Page 18 collapse_button

Page 18
JessicaJessica Heaven is shut to the fearful? Cowards go to Hell!!!
AndrewAndrew "Too bad for all those people who lived and died before Jesus. And all the people who never heard of him. Oh well, they were probably brown anyway."


o Page 19 collapse_button

Page 19
JessicaJessica Can you make it by being a bad old boy?

AndrewAndrew As always, in Chick's world, being good or bad is pretty much completely irrelevant. After all, Crazy WolfLeroy Brown, and a host of other miscreants got in the door.
JessicaJessica Satan wants you to think God cares whether you do good things or bad things. And that's just absurd. Just believe on Jesus and you can kick puppies and all sorts of evil crap.


o Page 20 collapse_button

Page 20
AndrewAndrew And why do these requirements exist? Because the Bible said so, which then equals God said so. It conjures up a narrative where God sets up heaven, then sets the bar so high nobody can get into it. After a few thousand years of listing to his angels tell him he's good, and smart, and pretty, and the best deity ever, he gets bored and says, "where are all the humans? I guess expecting them to be absolutely perfect was a little much, especially since I chose not to make them that way. But I already said all that stuff about blood... darn, I guess I'll have to incarnate and sacrifice myself, because changing the rules is too hard."

Does this make sense to anybody? Hello?
JessicaJessica "Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission from sins."

What else could you expect from a bronze-age, Semitic war god?


o Page 21 collapse_button

Page 21
AndrewAndrew "His first mission to this planet earth"? Makes him sound like an ancient astronaut or something.
JessicaJessica It would suck if he screwed up his parenthetical references.

"He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish (IN HEAVEN) but have everlasting left (IN THE LAKE OF FIRE)."


o Page 22 collapse_button

Page 22
JessicaJessica LOVE GIFT!!!
AndrewAndrew "But the man who died clinically never ever got a name. And so he went to his grave as 'anonymous'. And when they looked for his name in the book of life, they couldst not find it, and there was much wailing."
JessicaJessica ...and gnashing of teeth. Don't forget that one.


o Conclusion collapse_button

AndrewAndrew I don't get a pulse on this tract. Better get the paddles!

What's Jack Chick's favorite thing about Christianity? Is it the eternal love of God? Is it the pomp and circumstances of church service? The sense of belonging to a community? ...The communion wine? Nope. Judging by his tracts, none of these is nearly as interesting to Chick as hell is. Chick loves hell, and he's made a fetish out of angels throwing people into the pit for 30 odd years.

I'll share a personal bit here. Many years ago I discovered a book called "The History of Hell", which is a survey of beliefs regarding "the underworld" throughout history, and particularly focusing on Christian views. What became incredibly obvious, to me at least, was the extent to which the entire edifice we think of as hell was built on a slender branch of scripture. Perhaps more important than that was the extent to which each era imagined its own version of hell to match the living conditions and intellectual fashions of the time, and the extent of which our ideas of hell come from Dante Alighieri. When I finished the book I came to the conclusion that hell was an entirely man-made phenomenon.

It's hard to directly argue about the existence of god, due to the complicated "proving a negative" issue, but one thing I've never since had any questions about is the existence of hell. It's little more than a mean-spirited bludgeon for the Jack Chicks of the world to threaten other people with. Most of the things we "know" about it are extra-scriptural (i.e., not in the Bible, but from someplace else), something that bothers Chick to no end when talking about, say, Catholics, but that he accepts without question when it appears on "Three Men Who Went To Hell" on PM Magazine on Channel 11 in Los Angeles. Hypocrisy? I'll let you be the judge on that.


o Further Reading collapse_button


o Parodies collapse_button