In 2015, trailing a little-known 2008 indie documentary – God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick – the Psychotronic Film Society of Savannah described the movie as:
A mind-blowing profile of 91-year-old author and illustrator Jack T Chick and Chick Publications.
Well, the old fire and brimstone loon has died, but his “Chick tracts”, otherwise known as “Chicklets” are destined to circulate for many years to come.
Jim Reed, of the Psychotronic Film Society, wrote:
These tracts, which are seemingly kid-friendly, yet invariably contain all manner of violent imagery and mean-spirited subject matter, are designed to be used as tools to proselytise and win converts to Fundamentalist Christianity, and are primarily distributed for free by churches and zealous individuals.
Kent evangelist and paranoid nutter Bob Hutton, is certainly one who sets great store by these tracts.
Over the last 50 years, Chick Publications released more than 800 different 3×5-inch B&W comic books. These small comics have been translated into more than 100 languages and are generally considered to be the most popular and well-read independent comic books in the history of the world.
As such, wrote Reed:
They are prized by collectors for their bizarre storylines and ‘politically incorrect’ viewpoints.You’ve likely seen one of these ‘Chick Tracts’ left on a shelf in a retail store, or in the bathroom of a restaurant or other public place. They are meant to be found, read and used as inspiration to accept Jesus Christ as one’s lord and saviour.
However, while many credit the ‘scare tactics’ of Chick’s comics with drawing tens of thousands of people around the globe to fundamentalist Christianity, others decry the harsh anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim, anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-atheist and anti-evolution rhetoric on display in his company’s publications as a form of hate speech.
Fiercely private, Jack Chick has rarely been photographed or interviewed, and is something of a mystery even to his loyal followers and readers.
God’s Cartoonist: The Comic Crusade of Jack Chick is the most comprehensive and in-depth look at the Chick empire, message and controversy ever made, and features exclusive, candid interviews with Chick Publications employees and comic book artists, as well as longtime tract collectors and critics of Chick’s world view. You can see a trailer here.
At this special screening, the PFS offered a wide selection of Chick Tracts for sale, and also raffled off large collections of original tracts.