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» October 17, 2023
Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

Fame (FAME)
The Curse of Baphomet. Tract #101. Art by Jack Chick - © 1991 Chick Publications

Fame - Tract #191 (FAME)
Art by Fred Carter - © 2006 Chick Publications

First Published: March 31st, 2011

"Fame" is a "for black audiences tract". It tells the story of a successful actor who goes to the hospital, meets a religious cleaning lady, and learns that he's going to hell. It bears some similarities to Chick's classic "This Was Your Life" as well.


  Jessica   Andrew  




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

AndrewAndrew "Fame- Fame!" I just can't read this tract without hearing David Bowie's hit "Fame" in my head.

Obviously, this is another "Black oriented" tract, which means it's pitched at what Chick must imagine are the primary interests of African-Americans. Taken together with "It's a Deal" and "Soul Story", Chick seems to imagine that all Black people either are or want to be basketball players, media moguls, or perhaps gangsters.
JessicaJessica Indeed there is something inherently disturbing about the fact that Jack thinks there's no such thing as a "normal" African-American. They aren't lawyers or doctors or even plumbers for that manner. If you look at some of his more prominent examples such as DenzelIce ManLeroy Brown, and even that poor grocery store clerk, everyone in Chick's cannon is some sort of horrific caricature in either appearance, mannerism, dress or occupation.


o Cover / Page 1

Cover / Page 1
AndrewAndrew Is that a "Black" Oscar, sort of like "Black Jesus"?
JessicaJessica This must be some sort of alternate universe where the Academy Awards are still segregated.


o Page 2

Page 2
AndrewAndrew What, no "CODE BLUE"?
JessicaJessica Good thing they took him to the hospital if he was having chest pains.

It seems kind of unusual a hospital would brag to the media about having such a high profile patient. Hasn't anyone ever heard of HIPAA?


o Page 3

Page 3
AndrewAndrew Room 420, huh? Only the best ganja for Mr. Ford!
JessicaJessica Now I'm starting to think this takes place is some sort of dystopian future where NBC has finally merged with CBSGod help us!
AndrewAndrew "renowned tv and film award winning star" is kind of screwed up grammar, especially if you ignore Chick's distinctive emphasis. Let's try "renowned, award winning tv and film star" or "award winning, renowned tv and film star".


o Page 4

Page 4
AndrewAndrew And now we do a drive-by on Catholics, for some reason.
JessicaJessica Why would he send a quarter mil to the Pope if it was Cardinal Rooney who said the Mass for him?

...and why do all of Chick's Catholics have ridiculously Irish names?

...and why do the Catholics give a shit about some random movie star?

...and is Douglas Ford Catholic? It would seem kind of absurd to send the Pope that much money if he wasn't. Mass or no Mass.

I just... I don't know.
AndrewAndrew I think it's interesting that Ford is portrayed as being gracious to his fans throughout the tract. It's not until Daisy gets in his face that he gets annoyed (and who wouldn't?)


o Page 5

Page 5
JessicaJessica I'd feel like a right proper shit if I was in the hospital and no one had come to visit me and then some belligerent hospital employee strolls in and is all like "Here you go. Douglas Ford doesn't have room for anymore flowers so we're distributing them to the unwashed masses. Get better f#&ker."
AndrewAndrew Wait, he wants more money for a sex scene? Also, is this really how negotiations work?
JessicaJessica What the hell is he forgiving "Saul" for? Is that his Jew agent or something? Was he offended he thought the Great Douglas Ford would do a sex scene Pro Bono?

I know she's supposed to be cleaning the toilet, but judging from her positioning and the distressed look on her face it looks like she's having a time with a particularly obstinate turd that just won't quit.


o Page 6

Page 6
AndrewAndrew I like how she apparently knows all about his movies despite not having seen them.

We never really get a sense of what Ford's movies are like- she says "dirty movies" and he says "art". Of course we know where the tract leans, but there's a lot of leeway between those two extremes. Though given that he apparently has a kajillion fans, it makes me wonder how artsy they could really be.
JessicaJessica Of course, Chick's standard constituency has a very low bar for what constitutes trash. She's probably referring to something along the lines of that one scene in "I, Robot" where Will Smith is getting ready to go out and we see him in the shower and even though he's naked you can't see much aside from his glistening bare chest. These people are Grade-A prudes don't you know.


o Page 7

Page 7
JessicaJessica He can't be a wicked sinner. His head is glowing like a light bulb. That means he just got canonized, don't you know?
AndrewAndrew Usually the Christians in these tracts are falling all over themselves to preach to the unconverted. Not Daisy. Toilet's a-calling.
JessicaJessica Yeah, Doug. She'd rather muck the toilets than sit here and converse with a wicked sinner like you!!!


o Page 8

Page 8
JessicaJessica Great. One of those condescending people who talk in the inclusive plural in a stupid attempt to be friendly.

It's like at any minute her jaw is going to unhinge and she will swallow his head whole.
AndrewAndrew So what's Dr. Whiteguy looking and pointing at, anyway? It's like he's addressing Ford's dingaling rather than his face. Or maybe that's the insidious truth about all this. "Chest Pains"? No, the problem is much lower than that. Must be all those sex scenes.
JessicaJessica "Oh no! What if she comes back?"

This guy has more money than God himself and the hospital is falling over itself to make him happy. Tell them you want a new cleaning lady. They'd probably fire her if you asked them. Hell, they'd probably KILL her if you asked them. You're Douglas Ford, bitches!


o Page 9

Page 9
JessicaJessica This is such a load of crap. They honestly believe all it takes is one sassy cleaning lady to be all like "You're going to hell." to get the most obstinate, self-absorbed asshats to start expectorating "But but but... what will happen to me when I die?!?"
AndrewAndrew "Remember, Black people, that even though every single one of you is a major movie actor like this guy, God doesn't care!"

Truly a lesson applicable to all people.
JessicaJessica Is there honestly... anywhere in America in this day and age... who hasn't heard of hell and doesn't know that Christians think EVERYONE is going there? It's like they think everyone lives in complete social and religious vacuums.


o Page 10

Page 10
AndrewAndrew Wait, there are billions down there cooking? Like, right now? But in "Hi There!" Chick makes it pretty clear that, after you die, you have to wait for end times, and then an additional 1000 years before you get judged. In the meantime, you aren't in hell, but a "waiting place".
JessicaJessica That talking hospital looks vaguely familiar...

One of the things that pisses me off the most about Christians is this sort of self-congratulatory bullshit about Hell. "There's billions of people down there cooking. FAP FAP FAP."

"...their worm dieth not." Hell has got some bitchin' Tequila.


o Page 11

Page 11
AndrewAndrew See, here we have it- first the death, then the judgment. I guess Chick just tends to elide the whole millennium thing.
JessicaJessica Ok. I can't let this pass any longer. Has anyone been paying attention to her face?!?! Clearly the artist hasn't. 

The Many Faces of Daisy:


o Page 12

Page 12
JessicaJessica It's hilarious how he spends a few days in this hospital and starts ranting about death and they're all like "Welp, guess you're ready to go home."

Daisy is like "Bye, bitch. Sleep tight."

There's all this random background crap in both these panels. Does Chick think it's funny? An Easter Egg? Frankly, it just looks cluttered.


o Page 13

Page 13
JessicaJessica Is he playing Othello? Or is he a Musketeer or something?
AndrewAndrew We've got some serious caricatures going on here. It doesn't look like a Fred Carter, and it doesn't look like Chick's own work either.
JessicaJessica Here he has the most ridiculous look on his face while being flanked by Spike Lee and George Jefferson.


o Page 14

Page 14
JessicaJessica The dude on the right talking to Spike Lee in that first panel is some sort of grotesque human/horse hybrid. Hey! Why the long face?
AndrewAndrew I like how he goes back to the hospital and, rather than look up Daisy directly, plops himself back into bed like an invalid. The problem is upstairs, pal. Or maybe it's that "chest" of his acting up again.
JessicaJessica You're eternal fate can wait until that toilet is cleaned. You've got to have priorities.


o Page 15

Page 15
JessicaJessica So he's in hell? Or the pit or something? I thought when you died you went to a "place of waiting" (that is not purgatory, there is NO SUCH PLACE!) until Jesus has come back and reigned for a thousand years. Then you get judged and sent to hell. Although I don't really see why one place in nondescript torment would be qualitatively different from another place of nondescript torment. It just seems like a niggling little detail Chick likes to beat over the head... unless he want to keep it simple, like here.
AndrewJessica So is Daisy really the only place for Douglas Ford to get this information? Chick seems to assume that there are so few Christians around that you have to look for them specifically.

Frankly, I've been approached enough times about the state of my soul in public restrooms to know that that ain't true.


o Page 16

Page 16
JessicaJessica God doesn't edit out your sins. Unless he totally does. Jesus is your editor.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly was a good movie. Hell of a lot better than this dross. The movie related puns have no end.
AndrewAndrew So does heaven have its own movie theater? And does everyone have to sit and watch each new arrival's movie? That seems awfully... hellish.


o Page 17

Page 17
AndrewAndrew So do black people get black angels, and white people white angels? Is heaven segregated?
JessicaJessica And there goes another baleful angel, dragging another poor schmuck off to the frying pan. That job must be so unfulfilling after the first thousand years or so.


o Page 18

Page 18
JessicaJessica <snerk> I like the "Poof!"

Ok, so hell is different from the Lake of Fire? We need to get Dante in here. He had the geography of the afterlife down pat.
AndrewAndrew Why indeed Doug, why indeed? Perhaps it's because Daisy's God is a nutjob.


o Page 19

Page 19
AndrewAndrew And apropos of nothing, a bird.

Also, that rain seems to be coming out of the window. How does that work? Is the building sweating? They talk, after all.


o Page 20

Page 20
JessicaJessica Jack has gotten so much mileage out of that "suffering Jesus." It's like he drew it once back in 1972 and has just been trotting it out every time the situation calls for it (and it usually does.)
AndrewAndrew He'll be coming back real soon. Any day now. Practically tomorrow. Go ahead, hold your breath. Never mind they've been saying that for 2000 years.


o Page 21

Page 21
AndrewAndrew Because being famous and being Christian are completely incompatible. Right. Tell that to Kirk "CrocoduckCameron.
JessicaJessica Yep. No famous Christian movie stars. They get, like, black listed or something.

"Do you prefer the lake of fire?" Frankly, yeah. I would.
AndrewAndrew That's it Daisy, browbeat him for Jesus! This isn't about the love of Jesus, it's about the fear of hell!
JessicaJessica LOVE GIFT!!!!!! AWESOME!!!!


o Page 22

Page 22
JessicaJessica Praying?!?!? Truly he's gone mad!!!
AndrewAndrew And Chick presumably left out the coda where, after converting, Douglas Ford became a tiresome bore who instigated a series of End Times related films, TV shows and books. His fame was never greater.
JessicaJessica And promptly Douglas Ford is killed in a car accident a year later, having to suffer no social consequences for his hospital bed conversion.


o Conclusion

AndrewAndrew This comic repeats a theme throughout Chick's work, where some unassuming person, perhaps in a service position, brings someone to Christ through careful arguments blunt threats. It happens in Uninvited as well, though at least in this one there is less of a "Magical Negro" element because both protagonists are the same race.

And since this is a "black oriented" tract, what's going on here? Did Chick feel that African-Americans would be more likely to sympathize with a fictional actor, as opposed to a more everyday person? I mean, at least Ford isn't a drug dealer or something, but I'm not sure why being an actor is more appropriate for blacks than for whites, or any other race for that matter. It's just one of those mysteries of Chick.


o Further Reading