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Not Another Religious Tract Dissection by Boolean Union Studios

Cover / Page 1

Cover / Page 1

This Was Your Life! - Tract #003A (TWYL)
Art by Jack Chick- © 2002 Chick Publications
  You Have a Date! - Tract #003C (YHAD)
Art by Jack Chick- © 2011 Chick Publications
It's Your Life! - Tract #003B (ITYL)
Art by Fred Carter - © 2006 Chick Publications
  Your Big Moment - Tract #003D (YBGM)
Art by Fred Carter - © 2011 Chick Publications
Your Best Life - Tract #003E (YBTL)
Art by Jack Chick- © 2014 Chick Publications
  This Was Your Life! - Tract #003A (TWYL)
Art by Jack Chick- © 1972 Chick Publications

First Published: September 10th, 2011

"This Was Your Life!" is one of the classic old Chick tracts, despite the 2002 copyright renewal. It shows what happens to a successful man who dies and discovers that, without Jesus, there is no getting into heaven.

"You Have a Date!" is a panel-for-panel retelling of "This Was Your Life!", but aimed at women.


  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 Normally we wouldn't bother with tracts like these. "This Was Your Life" is probably Chick's least controversial work, having been written before Chick began his descent into conspiracy theory hell. Even the most liberal Christians would probably find it to be a reasonable explication of common Christian belief. "You've Got a Date" is pretty similar in that regard. What's interesting, I think, is how Chick treats them differently.
SeanJessica The general idea seems to be that women are somehow a different species than your average red-blooded man and so a different approach needs to be taken when addressing their tiny, underdeveloped brains. I'm perfectly willing to admit men and women are different in a number of different ways... but with a few VERY minor exceptions their brains function pretty much the same. Of course, fundamentalist Christianity has never taken a particular shine to women lest they be either cooking a hot meal for their man after his long day at the cannery or on their back popping out babies to perpetuate his lineage. It's easy to underestimate a particular group of people, especially when you religion has a track record of reducing them to brood mares.


o Cover / Page 1

Cover / Page 1   Cover / Page 1
AndrewAndrew The man gets this cool celestial background. She gets a flower. I'm surprised the whole thing isn't hosed down with Pepto-Bismol pink just to make the point.
JessicaJessica Well, the cover is. I suppose that's a start. Though I guess we really should give Jack some credit for having a bit of restraint. (Probably didn't want to pay for the color job.)


o Page 2

Page 2   Page 2
JessicaJessica Well, at first blush I would say the lady has gotten the better deal. Not only is she enjoying a fine bordeaux instead of a cheap scotch and soda, but that house is enormous! From this angle we don't know if the guy has anything more than a studio apartment.

Though he did luck out in the vehicle department. Is that a Ferrari or a Porsche or something? The lady just seems to have some cheap-ass sedan.
AndrewAndrew It shows something of the decline of Chick's illustration skills that he is largely incapable of drawing people with a Ron Perlman-esque lantern jaw. (Compare her angel to the man's angel on that front as well.)

I like how Chick put the effort into showing that the man has a "cops and robbers" type show running on the television. It's an extraneous detail that suggests... nothing at all?


o Page 3

Page 3   Page 3
JessicaJessica She can't breathe, but she can manage to get out one last Big No?
AndrewAndrew It took me a second to realize that was the rim of her glass and not a shot of her underboob. Dirty mind, I guess.
JessicaJessica Speaking of which, our lady friend looks extraordinarily... um... perky in the second panel there. That bra must be reinforced with steel or something.

The dude kicks it but manages to hit the ground before both his pipe and drink realize it. I don't really know how that's supposed to work.
AndrewAndrew I'm not sure why Chick didn't just copy-paste Death from the old tract into the new. The two figures are almost (but not quite) identical, meaning that he had to draw ol' skull-face twice.


o Page 4

Page 4   Page 4
JessicaJessica Who is that guy and what did the lady do to him to make him so bitter?

Meanwhile everyone at the guy's funeral just keeps their mouth's shut.


o Page 5

Page 5   Page 5
JessicaJessica For some reason the lady gets a robe while the dude gets called up in his birthday suit. How much do you want to bet it's because Chick didn't want to draw naked boobs?


o Page 6

Page 6   Page 6
AndrewAndrew He's got an appointment, she's got a date. It's as though Chick feels women are unfamiliar with the concept of appointments, never having to go to the doctor or anything like that, and would thus be confused by the idea. But a date? With Jesus? Oh! So dreamy!
JessicaJessica Now that you bring it up, I find that extraordinarily offensive. We get a lot of that throughout this little parade. Jack doesn't seem to take women very seriously at all and doesn't seem to have any sort of grasp on how they think or act. Color me surprised.


o Page 7

Page 7   Page 7
JessicaJessica So the angel actually flies you through SPACE? Like Heaven is somewhere over by the Oort Cloud or something?

Actually... nevermind.
AndrewAndrew It looks as though Chick just redrew the head on the angel, changing his initial Nordic angel to one that is... not so much.
JessicaJessica This is sort of like what happens over in Fame. White people get white angels, black people get black angels. Though shouldn't her angel be female?


o Page 8

Page 8   Page 8
JessicaJessica I guess this is Heaven's waiting room. They're serving number 4 and your number is 2,543,162. Hope you brought a book.
AndrewAndrew Here again he went through the trouble of redrawing the entire panel. (Look at the mounds of clouds, or whatever those are supposed to be.) It seems odd he'd do that here, where so many others panels are at best head swaps and others verbatim repetition.


o Page 9

Page 9   Page 9
AndrewAndrew Now here Chick just didn't bother. He probably said long ago, "I'm never gonna draw a faceless God sitting on a giant throne better than that, so I may as well keep it."
JessicaJessica Yeah. You get this sort of lazily repeated plagiarism in other tracts where he just reuses panels and elements from earlier works.


o Page 10

Page 10   Page 10
JessicaJessica Haw Haw Haw. How witty and clever. I've never actually seen that show, but it sounds just as stupid as this set up, so I think I'll pass.
AndrewAndrew You know, the whole idea of reviewing your life raises some interesting questions. Why would God need to do it? He's omniscient, so it can't be that he needs reminding. It can't be that he needs to justify himself to individual people, because he doesn't do that in other contexts (just ask Job). The only reason I can think of is to make sure sinners know why they are going to hell, even for stuff that didn't hurt anybody else and that no one remembers. And that just seems kind of petty.


o Page 11

Page 11   Page 11
AndrewAndrew Now that's just lazy. The only difference between the two babies is that she's got longer hair and a bow.
JessicaJessica So the guy was a fan of Raggedy Ann as a child? That's... odd.

Sitting around, having to watch a blow-by-blow recount of everyone's life (or even just your own) sounds like the most sadistic vision of Hell that one could ever hope to muster. Jack Chick is the biggest pessimist I have ever heard of.


o Page 12

Page 12   Page 12
JessicaSean The guy told dirty jokes, and the chick had Bi* experiences. Doesn't seem like quite a fair trade to me.
AndrewAndrew Wait, I thought she was a good wife? Maybe it was Todd who said that.
Jessica Also interesting is that this is one of the few panels where the female version gets completely different bible references, whereas most others are almost verbatim. I guess it isn't really appropriate to say the woman "looketh on a woman to lust after her" though that seems to be precisely the implication.
AndrewAndrew I also think it's interesting that the specific scenes for the woman are "worse" than the ones we see for the man. All he does is tell a dirty story and ogle a passing blonde, but she has bisexual sex (obviously a big no-no in Chick's book) and then leaves her husband and child to marry somebody else. The man's sins are a bit more commonplace, to make the point that "everyone is a sinner". Hers are more of a specific "Jack Chick is obsessed with this" type of thing.


o Page 13

Page 13   Page 13
JessicaJessica And here we go again. He may be a whoremonger, but she's into witchcraft AND pornography. Damn women. It makes you wish we could cover them from head to toe and relegate them to some sort of second-class status or something.
AndrewAndrew Also, she's got "Lustful" and "Drugs". Are those somehow uniquely feminine sins?


o Page 14

Page 14   Page 14
JessicaJessica I guess our two protagonists had all of this coming. They should have confessed the Lord Jesus. With their moufs.
AndrewAndrew Interesting that the man just plain isn't interested in church, but the woman disbelieves because her professor would flunk her. Huh? Yeah, we know, all those nasty, progressive academics who aren't good Christians, yadda yadda yadda. But really, flunk her? Professors don't really care that much about your political or religious beliefs- they've got a lot of other things to worry about, like getting tenure.
JessicaJessica The lady is sitting in church... right behind Rasputin! Speaking of people rising from the dead!


o Page 15

Page 15   Page 15
JessicaJessica It's bunk! Hogwash! Just a bunch of HOOEY!
AndrewAndrew Again we've got a difference in emphasis. The man doesn't feel he needs church, so he does something else (again, this is probably truer to how people actually are). The woman, on the other hand, rejects Christianity as intolerant and hateful (which is one of Chick's hobbyhorses).
JessicaJessica "I must have been insane..." to not believe this whacked out bronze age idea that has absolutely no credible or verifiable evidence and couldn't even begin to be confirmed until after my death! Madness!!!


o Page 16

Page 16   Page 16
AndrewAndrew I love how God always has to ask the angel to open the book, as though His omniscience has limits when it comes to these things. Or maybe He just wants the angel to feel useful.
JessicaJessica I think it's primarily for pomp and circumstance. Like when they say "The envelope please..." at the Academy Awards. It also builds suspense.


o Page 17

Page 17   Page 17
JessicaJessica Chick obviously uses this specific language about everlasting fire and the devil because it is specifically stated right there in the Bible. But once again it just lends more repetitious ritual to the whole ordeal. Imagine being in the back of the line and having to hear the same spiel over and over and over and over again. I thought graduation ceremonies were interminable, but Jesus Christ.
AndrewSean Is there a particular reason why God's angry judgment has been flipped left-to-right on the newer tract? Is it like "men on the left, women on the right" on the conveyor belt to Hell?
JessicaJessica Most of the time Chick just straight out copies an earlier panel. But sometimes, for flavor, he tries to trick the audience by flipping it and hoping no one notices. Putting them side by side like this kind of shows the seams in that technique.


o Page 18

Page 18   Page 18
JessicaJessica Why? No, seriously, why? I know it's really forbidden to ask questions in fundamentalist religions (especially "why") but this whole Lake of Fire thing raises some serious questions and problems about the very core of Christian beliefs. And most adherents will just shrug their shoulders at you when you ask or point these things out.
AndrewAndrew And of course this is one of Chick's famous "angel chucking people into the lake of fire" panels, quite possibly the first he drew. I find it interesting that the emphasis here is not on our sinner, who has already fallen out of view, but on the angel, who's probably already thinking about picking up a cold beer before the next shift.


o Page 19

Page 19   Page 19
JessicaJessica He's longsuffering to us-ward. And is generous to them-ward. And yet temperate and conciliatory to him-ward. Who seriously talks like this? That fopKing James?


o Page 20

Page 20   Page 20
JessicaJessica At some point between the publishing of the two tracts Chick decided that it is more appropriate to use the British spelling "Saviour" rather than the satanic, American version "Savior."
AndrewAndrew Chick is obsessed with the most piddling stuff, isn't he? Where most Christian evangelists would probably be most concerned about whether people believe in Christ, Chick lards on a lot of other business such as "King James Bible only" and a lot of other weird conspiracy theories. I realize he doesn't actually SAY any of that here. This is probably his most straightforward gospel tract, which is probably why it's his most popular by far. Does Chick take that lesson to heart? Well, just look at The Last Generation.


o Page 21

Page 21   Page 21
AndrewAndrew He's one of their best workers, but she's a great wife and mother. Hint hint, ladies!
JessicaJessica HAH!!! Yep! Women can't have jobs. Get your asses back in the kitchen ladies and start popping out kids! Also take not that it is HER HUSBAND who tithes in the lower right corner. No doubt she can't do it herself because he only grants her a small allowance once a week to get her hair done and explicitly forbids her from going out into the big, scary world to earn her own money.

I honestly don't know how people can think like this in the 21st century.


o Page 22

Page 22   Page 22
JessicaJessica It's the big one, Elizabeth!
AndrewAndrew And in this panel Chick redrew death again, rendering him... almost exactly the same.
JessicaJessica Once again dudes to the right, chicks to the left. I think Chick's Christianity has more in common with Islam than he'd like to think.


o Conclusion

AndrewAndrew Well, in terms of theology, I don't think there's too much out of the ordinary here as far as Christian belief, so I'm not really going to comment on that. Taking an axe to basic Christian theology would take too much space and would be beside the point.

The interesting thing is the differences between the two tracts, and the fact that the new one exists at all. The original "This Was Your Life" is one of Chick's oldest and most popular tracts. It has never been out of print, has been translated into many, many languages, and has even had the art switched around for different racial audiences, such as AfricansJapaneseArabs, and Fijians. I should point out that most of that new art is clearly done by somebody other than Chick.


o Further Reading


o Other Reviews & Commentaries


o Parodies

  • This is Your Death (Jim Huger) - "The Bible-thumpers say their's is the only way to Heaven! They promise you pie in the sky when you die, so that you'll eat their shit now." (Jack T. Chick Parody Archives)