There's a joke that a girl in Catholic School was asked by the nun what she wanted to be when she grew up. The girl responded her intention was to one day be a prostitute. The nun quickly fainted, and upon being revived asked the girl one more time, what she wanted to be when she grew up. She repeated "a prostitute." "Oh", sighed the nun, "I thought you said protestant." Bad blood has run deep between the two for years, (with other creeds serving as unfortunate scapegoats caught in the crossfire) and the ultimate evangelical counter-conformist, seethes with hatred at the Old Establishment.
We're introduced to some old bickering couple, with the woman complaining over emotional abuse. I take it this is supposed to dissolve any credibility those who don't want to be insulted have. Which makes sense--Chick's works are so full of bile, the only way he can operate is diffuse any notions of treating people with respect.
So is this something about male chauvinist pigs? Something about the sanctity of marriage. Nope, a textbook case of one of the most sacred of Jack Chick traditions; peripheral cast members! You'll never see them again, and their importance to the story is tenuous at best. These are probably attempts by Chick to spice up the narrative. You know, make it seem like a clever turn of events. However, since Chick doesn't have a clever bone in his body, these become pointless turns of events.
All of a sudden, you see man get run over. On the freeway. In the rain. Carrying things.There's probably a very interesting story as to why this dude is in such a situation, but we're not going to get that. Nope, we just get time for Jack to reiterate what insufferable nags women (especially ugly women) are.
With your dying breath, make sure you give out a good confession. The priest uses a scale of five in four categories; pace, juicy bits, remorse and "confessional phatness". He then divides it by how Catholic your name sounds. But Luckily, John knows his stuff. The doctors, however, have given up hope. Why? because this is the Chickverse, and a doctor couldn't cure a runny nose with a tissue.
Turns out Mr. Drive-By was a big deal. he even had an audience with the pope. (The pope was once in one of my audiences. He said I had a good delivery, but I tended reference movies he hadn't seen. Also didn't care much for my working blue.) You know, if he was such a big shot, why couldn't anyone have given him a ride? Instead he has to run all his errands in the rain. Oh well, at least his well-lived will lead to rewards in the afterlife, right? Right?!
Nope, this is the beginning of the end for John. That angel is looking pretty down. Is he sad for John's plight, or skeeved our that he has to carry a middle-aged naked man who hasn't been keeping in top shape? Right now someone killed a hooker in Los Angeles. But women of ill repute are not in our angel's jurisdiction. Nope, he's clearly in the Department of dopey Philanthropists. That promotion will come soon buddy, hang in there!
Life's just one big popularity contest for Catholics. If you don't have friends to pray for you, you're going nowhere. If you're an orphan, or a lonely person with no family, well, you're just going to have to afterlive with that. So says Mother Church. Don't trust anyone who looks up to a woman. I think I'm going to start a "Jack Chick has Mommy issues" pool. Of course, the answer is "yes, he does", but the real wager is on what she did to mess her boy up so bad. Making him wear a dress? Got it on with his best friend? Ate his beloved dog in front of him? Then there's the longshot vote: "painted little faces on his privates".
John, he's God, you're not going to win an argument with him. If you so much as tried, he'd change the universe around so right was wrong, green was red, and engineering students talked to women. You're going to a lake of fire, you might as well plead for some hot dogs. A lot of hot dogs, it is eternity after all.
Yup, good deeds are for naught. Helping people, making the world a better place, that just makes you too proud. I can imagine why our Lightbulb-Headed Lord and Savior would. I mean, he floods things, creates fruit and tells you that you can't have any, and tosses people in lakes of fire. What's a deity to do but pull an old-fashioned sour grapes and tell everyone "oh yeah, well good deeds are stupid anyway!"
Don't go praying to blessed virgins, they're graven images. Well, that's it for me, I guess. Back in my freshman year in college, I was completely beholden to a young Senorita with the most graven ass I've ever seen. That thing was graven out of marble. I sure did worship her. But she wasn't a virgin, so maybe I'm off the hook. And look, it's our recently departed pope, making a cameo. I wonder if this means Jack is going to have to back and reprint all of these with the new guy. We'll be getting brand-new, 20 cents a piece "Special Edition Collector's Item" tracts. Don't think he won't do this.
John's feeling a little sick. Probably because he's just recounting a couple of experiences he had as an altar boy. Kind of a rip that you'll still feel bouts of nausea even after your dead. You may rest in peace, but your stomach never will. In any case, isn't "mass" part of keeping the Sabbath Day, which is commandment number...three?
God oh-so-kindly tells John that he's been wasting his time. A serious case of last word-itis on that one. "Sacrifices are so last week. No one does that anymore. That's it. I've won the argument. Go me."
Perhaps you shouldn't shed so much blood, my lord. You're looking a little pale. Just humor everyone and say the water is holy, and you won't have to go be born of woman and die on the cross and everything. Everyone's happy. Except for the carpenters in the cross-making industry. And look at Jack, hiding behind the angel's gown. I'm with him on this. Yelling at me is bad enough, the creator of the universe yelling at me while my thing is hanging out is never a pleasant experience. Especially since he has no eyes, so who knows what he's looking at.
Catechism (the Catholic version Sunday School) is full of dirty liars. Which totally sucks, because I always had to get up at seven to go there every Saturday. And now I find out my weekends were ruined just so I could be lied to? Personally, missing Saturday Morning cartoons throughout my childhood should be enough to get into heaven. I'll never know the rousing finale to the Macaulay Culkin cartoon, Wish Kid.
John thought he was forgiven. But nope, humans don't have that power. Every time you think you've forgiven someone? That wasn't it. It was something else. I don't have the power to forgive. Which sucks. Clint Ruggeri, remember in the fourth grade when you kicked my teeth in at the jungle gym? Well, I tried to forgive you, but I guess I can't. I don't have that power. I'm going to have to hold it against you until my dying day. Kelly Loissele, remember at the semi-formal when none of the boys asked you dance, so I did the honorable thing, and you laughed at me? Well, I'd like to be the bigger person here, but Capital G. says I can't forgive you. Creepy, angry letters are in the mail.
I'm not sure, but doesn't the number of Catholics in the world reach a billion? Or at least hundreds of millions? In any case, it seems odd Jack's tendency towards exaggeration would jack up the numbers in any case. Nice of John not to feel any resentment towards God for being so passive aggressive about it. Just a little shock.
Say what you will about Jack, he never gives up on the sales pitch. Priests are all well and good, but you know who truly has your best interests at heart? Comic artists with dubious drawing ability. A tract telling you what to do tells you that a tract telling you what to do is in your best interests. Sounds fair enough. Why would he lie? If you ever see a tiny, crappy comic book, believe what it says! Surely it has more brevity then every single other person in your life that you've know for years! Oh sure, they seem a little crazy, their eyes a little dead, but that's how he's testing you!
Obligatory shot of Jesus on the cross. You sure do see a lot of those in these tracts, don't you? Hmm, where else have I seen them? Where else are crucifixes so prominently displayed, almost like an icon? I know! The Catholic Church!
How could God love the Catholic Church? It's their fault John is going to a lake of fire. I mean, yeah, he's God, and he could change any rule he wants when he wants and how he wants. But he doesn't like that you're going to Hell. But he has to send you there. You made the most powerful being ever send you there. Clearly not God's fault at all. If he reneges, then he'll have to let every do-gooder into the Book of Life.
God just isn't budging. John is about to be elected the Mayor of Screwedsville by a landslide. The Lord explains it perfectly clear. "Come out of her, my people, that ye not be partakers of her sin, and that ye receive no of her plagues." That is airtight God-logic folks. John's ready to reject his upbringing, to avoid burning in Hell. Watch out, Pope Cliff! This guy's an example of the fairweather flock you're inheriting. Of course, it's way too late for John to change his mind--that's the living's prerogative. Why is God even explaining it to John if it'll do no good? Just to watch him squirm. He's what you might call a "sore winner".
Who's this guy? I have to tell you, Jack introduces new characters into the story more awkwardly then Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. However, the point is, even though it's too late for John, at least someone out there recognizes the decadence and of eating fish on Friday and wearing cross necklaces. A character we haven't invested anything into is going to Heaven! It's a happy ending after all.
Your newly-minted holiness, if you see a flaming bag of excrement on your lawn, you know where it came from. Of course, I don't see Jack having the energy to run away so fast. Not that you look so spry yourself. But please, whatever you do, don't unleash the Apocalypse of anything on us with a Secret Police or something. Jack Chick being right is Hell enough.