Reverend Wonderful


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

Reverend Wonderful(REVW)
Reverend Wonderful. Tract #053. Art by Jack Chick - © 1982 Chick Publications

Reverend Wonderful - Tract #053 (REVW)
Art by Fred Carter - © 1982 Chick Publications

First Published: August 1st, 2013

"Reverend Wonderful" follows the last days of the famous Dr. Westhall. As a famous evangelist he preaches a message of love, tolerance and the embrace of social justice. One night he is approached by the unassuming (and possibly booze-soaked) Chaplain Dann, given a tract and told that all of his efforts have been for naught and that if he doesn't give up his loving ways right soon God was going to toast him like marshmallow. Of course Westhall is too prideful to heed his advice and after a suspiciously careless plane crash plops him before the Great White Throne he's told that the author's particular beliefs are the only correct ones and that he will be sent directly to the barbeque pit. Hilarity ensues.


  Jessica   Sean  




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

JessicaJessica This tract was originally release in the early 80's and was just recently unleashed once again upon the world. I like how rather than come up with new ideas Chick just recycles his old stuff when he thinks it happens to be relevant to current events.


o Cover / Page 1

Cover / Page 1
SeanSean I assume Fred (Carter) was trying to make the titular Reverend look like a Roman Emperor what with the column and the pose... but I'm getting a serious disco vibe here.
JessicaJessica Yeah, it kind of looks like he's about to rock out Yankee Stadium or something.



o Page 2

Page 2
JessicaJessica I think this panel captures perfectly the thousand yard glassy-eyed stares often exhibited by fundamentalists of Chick's particular breed during their cult meeti... I mean sermons.
SeanSean It was sure nice of our dear Reverend to give a sermon in the middle of ground zero Chernobyl. Just think of all the hope he gives to these poor souls who have been horrifically disfigured by the meltdown!
JessicaJessica That guy on the left has a serious hindu vibe to him. Could this be a statement on <GASP> the Ecumenical Movement?!?!

Also, if you'll look slightly to his right you can see the Dating Site Murderer. Eclectic bunch.


o Page 3

Page 3
SeanSean "Dr. Westhall"? Yeah, I'm sure he's about as much of an M.D. as Dr Pepper.
JessicaJessica OK, so just what particular sect DOES this guy belong to? He preaches to Buddhists and holds audience with the Pope. He's got to be the hardest working man in show business.

Yep. We're ragging on Ecumenism. I called it.


o Page 4

Page 4
SeanSean Apparently we've stumbled upon the secret meeting of the Madmen and Alfred Hitchcock.
JessicaJessica ... and possibly Anonymous as well. This guy's got his fingers in so many pies even he can't keep track of them all.


o Page 5

Page 5
SeanSean Who's this toolbag?

"Lord, the 700 Club was preempted for news coverage of the stock market slump... so I'm bored out of my gourd here. Could you give me something to do? Kisses!

-- Random Dude"
SeanSean Wait, 30 miles away? Are there really no "True Christians" within a smaller radius who can speak to Westhall? What part of the US is this? I can't go 3 blocks without stumbling onto some kind of Bible-thumper.
JessicaJessica After some digging, it looks like this is supposed to be Chaplain Dann, who's apparently been shilling tracts for Chick since 1975. He even draws some of his own tracts which have a certain, charming second-grader quality to them.

...also, he has a license plate that says "1hope-4U." Jesus...


o Page 6

Page 6
SeanSean Our little preacher here followed the guidance of the Lord and drove in the direction he was told to.

His car was fished out of the local harbor the next Saturday. God is terrible with directions.
JessicaJessica There's the plate. God I hate being right.

LOL... nice pickup Dann.


o Page 7

Page 7
SeanSean Oh noes! Peace and Tolerance! The sin so grievous that there was a special 10th circle of Hell so terrifying that Dante refused to write about it for fear that he might be judged negatively! Seriously, what's the problem here? Rev. Westhall (I'm not calling him Dr.) is preaching a message of non-violence, love, caring, and good will. You know, the kind of stuff Jesus spent the entire New Testament talking about?
JessicaJessica "You know the poor and needy? Fuck 'em. The lie-berals want you to help them out with the taxes from your six-figure paychecks. But if the government does it, how can you feel all smug about it?!? It's their fault they got that way, anyway. If they'd just get jobs instead of sitting around smoking crack all day they wouldn't need our help!"

These people actually think this way.


o Page 8

Page 8
SeanSean Uh... Revs? I don't think you should be riding in the car next to that priest. He seems to have the mumps.
JessicaJessica Here we have a random footnote taking a stab at Catholic titles. It's like every pencil stroke Chick lays to paper is just dripping with the sentiment "GOD-DAMN WHORE WORSHIPPING MACKEREL SNAPPERS!!!!"


o Page 9

Page 9
SeanSean Oh great, not only are talking houses an epidemic, but now we have to worry about talking cars too!
JessicaJessica Automobiles were really boxy back then, weren't they? It's a pretty stark contrast to all the PT Cruisers and Souls and Priuses and god knows what else are all over the place these days.

THIS. This sidewalk right here. Don't cross the street or you'll miss it and then some poor schmuck will burn forever in eternal hellfire.

<SPOILER> He does anyway. </SPOILER>


o Page 10

Page 10
SeanSean This guy is really reaching for signs. I'm pretty sure if God was intending to lead you to someone he would have made it more obvious. Lord knows where he's going to be led next: "Lord, I believe you wish for me to witness to that young lady in the next booth, because she ordered the turkey club, clearly a sign she needs to be saved"
JessicaJessica Did they arrive at their destination? Is the Rev getting out of the car to take a piss in the bushes or something? Context is your friend!


o Page 11

Page 11
JessicaJessica Uh-oh. He said "Haw haw." Now you know he's in desperate need of saving.
SeanSean I'm pretty sure he didn't mean 3 minutes literally Don. No need to drive all the way from purgatory. (I assume that's why Fred left the background blank, because I really doubt any artist could be that lazy)
JessicaJessica Seriously. These guys are pushy. "He said to hold on a second... but it's already been five. I wonder what the hold up is?"


o Page 12

Page 12
SeanSean I know Westhall is supposed to be the unreasonable one here, but come on. He's the most famous preacher in the world, has dedicated his life to spreading the good word, and out of the blue this random person just walks up to him and says that God has led him to him because he needs to be saved. I imagine our old pal Jack Chick would respond the same way if it happened to him.
JessicaJessica And three more "haw's" for good measure.

I hope that isn't a flattering depiction of how Chaplain Dann actually looks. He's so misshapen it's like his head is a russet potato.


o Page 13

Page 13
SeanSean I gotta say, Westhall is being remarkably polite to this whack-job.
JessicaJessica A guy this important would have already had three or four suits tackle this nutjob to the ground and break a few ribs by now.


o Page 14

Page 14
SeanSean AMA, AARP, MIA, MMA... damn it, we're running out of acronyms!
JessicaJessica He's just making those titles up now. Shows how much of a joke they think this random loon is. Not like he would know the difference.

He's the most famous preacher in the world. I'm sure he at least believes he's going to heaven when he dies.


o Page 15

Page 15
SeanSean Right... I'm sure the good Reverend has problems with the street preacher nutcases that make up 80% of his fanbase.
JessicaJessica He probably thinks Dann is homeless. With the way he looks and the way he (probably) smells I would assume that too if we hadn't actually seen him in a house earlier.


o Page 16

Page 16
SeanSean They gave us a warning about air traffic the split second before a plane collided headfirst with our own, yeah thanks a pantload guys. Come to think of it, Chick tracts are chock-full of deaths via plane accidents. If I had to guess, I'd say Jack has something against "Those newfangled flying machines". Probably thinks they're as sinful as D&D given their staggering fatality ratings
JessicaJessica He seems to be equally fearful of television, the internet and most other modern conveniences. Makes you wonder if he wouldn't have been happier living in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts after all.


o Page 17

Page 17
SeanSean Luke 6:26: "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."

I assume Jack isn't aware of the term "Irony".
JessicaJessica Here we are again. Back at that throne.

Have I ever mentioned how uncomfortable that thing looks, by the way?


o Page 18

Page 18
SeanSean And now we come full circle to the main dogma of Chick ministries: Faith, not deeds. We've harped on the inherent problems before (no sense beating a dead horse by going into too much detail). But I feel the need to bring this up because this particular tract seems to be somewhat self-aware of how flawed it is. Westhall has been spending a huge chunk of his short life trying to make the world a better place by uniting it in the spirit of love and tolerance. But no matter how he tries to spread the love of God or Jesus Christ through leading by example, it makes no difference to our "All Loving" deity, who's only criteria is that you receive him. Thus, the crack whore goes to Heaven on a death bed conversion, and the truly great man goes to Hell. Seriously, this tract is doing my job for me.
JessicaJessica Seems like a good time to refer back to "5 Douchebags You'll Meet in Heaven." It seems like Hell will be overflowing with wonderful, awesome people while Heaven is just some neverending circle-jerk in a Good Ol' Boys club. Chick's god is about as far as you can get from concepts like compassion and justice. At least Cthulhu just eats you.


o Page 19

Page 19
SeanSean Quick question: Why didn't Westhall accept Jesus before? You would think that a man who adheres to the teachings and philosophies of the eponymous carpenter would have gotten that out of the way before he was ordained.
JessicaJessica Seems like a pretty serious oversight, but my guess would be that according to Chick he didn't accept Jesus the right way. If you don't say the magic words it don't count.


o Page 20

Page 20
SeanSean Yeah, you sent a Schitzo recluse to hand him a cheap comic telling him that all the hard work he spent studying the gospel to become an ordained minister (a process which takes several years by the way) meant nothing since all he needed to do was apologize for something his ancestors did thousands of years ago. Surely a being as smart as the creator of the universe would see the problem with that logic.
JessicaJessica I love how intent counts for absolutely nothing here. He's probably built orphanages and run ministries that have fed and clothed and housed and treated thousands of people while Whackjob Dann have given out some crappy comics. The former goes to Hell, the latter goes to Heaven.


o Page 21

Page 21
SeanSean Ashamed of the gospel? Not really, in fact I'd say he took it to heart much more than anyone.
JessicaJessica Even if he "wanted power and fame" think about everything he would have accomplished (presumably in God's name) in the process of acquiring that power and fame. If you lose control of your car and run over a guy about to commit murder you've still done a bad thing, but there's a flip side to that.


o Page 22

Page 22
SeanSean Hang on, the left panel is clearly drawn by Jack himself, instead of the Fred Carter artwork we've had throughout the whole thing. Why?! Were they paying him by the panel and ran out of budget? Did Carter's laziness peak and he just left it blank? Or did Jack not want us to see Fred's interpretation of a guy getting on his hands and knees for fear of how homoerotic it would look? ... Nevermind, I think I just answered my own question.
JessicaJessica They don't seem to have a problem mixing and matching when it suits them. Chick probably just wanted to leave his mark on this thing even though he can't keep up with Carter artistically.

And you're right. Fred drawing a guy in that position would definitely be a sight to behold.


o Conclusion

SeanSean There really isn't all that much more I can say about this one. It takes the "Salvation through Faith" message even more literally than usual. Usually the unsaved are shown to be secretly sinful in one way or another, but Westhall's only "crime" was not going through that one ritual (which again, doesn't make any sense. Why the hell didn't he?)


o Further Reading


o Other Reviews & Commentaries