Religion

Review: “The Star” by Jack Chick

I’m something of a comic book connoisseur. Not the superhero junk, though that can be fun — I’m more into the subtler underground and independent angsty it’s-not-a-comic-it’s-a-graphic-novel crap. Tony Millionaire, Daniel Clowes, James Kochalka, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, and of course the venerable Jack Chick.

I know I’m not the only one with a lot of respect for Chick. As far too few people know, he’s the greatest living satirist of our time, right on par with the legends like Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and the editors of the Weekly World News. No one — and I mean no one — skewers the radical fundamentalist way of thinking like Jack Chick.

His most recent work is titled The Star and deals with the looming mortality of “Douglas Ford,” a world famous and universally beloved porn actor who is in the hospital for some chest pains.

Enter a lowly toilet scrubber named Daisy who appears to be the only person on the planet who doesn’t admire and respect the aging prince of porn. Daisy’s no nonsense straight talk could be just what Ford needs to cleanse his soul of sin and make it into heaven — but will he listen to her message of God’s love?

This comic (or “graphic parable” if you prefer) was about par for the course as Chick goes. It lacks the zing of some of my favorites — for instance, no one suddenly turns out to be Satan, and there is no evil science teacher corrupting the minds of our youth. On the other hand, it has a number of things that I always like to see in a Chick tract:

*Porn Star Protagonist (note: there is a small chance that he is actually a mainstream actor who happens to do sex scenes; however, his only work that is ever referenced by any character definitely includes sex)


*Random Hatred of Catholics

*Christians in Heaven Acting Like Assholes

*Tidy Conclusion That Wraps Everything Up with a Death
(no pic, I don’t want to spoil it!)

Overall, not one of his finest, but it still manages to effectively mock the absurdities of the hate-filled fundamentalists. As a bonus, it’s nearly topical — consider that the protagonist is in the hospital for what may be heart trouble. He has high-ranking Catholics praying for him, yet he fails to recover quickly (and even needs to be kept an extra day due to high blood pressure [caused by the Christian]). Might this be a humorous explanation for the recent failure of prayer to perform in a (barely) controlled study? Though you may sometimes hear critics complain that Chick is too one-dimensional, I think you’ll find a multi-layered piece of satirical writing if only you examine closely.

I give Chick’s latest effort three out of five eternally damned sinners.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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12 Comments

  1. nsetzer, that IMDB link you provided sounds like this movie is actually a documentary. Especially since there's only a narrator listed, and coupled with the following quote:

    Trivia: The use of still photographs in "The Civil War" (1990) (mini) inspired Jack Chick's use of only oil paintings (360) for this film. (more)

  2. On a semantics note, Exarch, I don’t think you could call anything Jack Chick produces a “documentary,” since usually that category of film deals with reality.

    Well, the dictionary gives one explanation for the noun "documentary, and that's "a documentary presentation (as a film or novel)". The adverb "documentary" lists two explanations, and they basically mean "based on or consisting of documents". Since Chick's "documentary" uses (according to the trivia quote) oil paintings and photographs, the term applies.

    Remember what you just wrote about patents and feasibility …

  3. I love those little "Chick" tracts–have a huge pile of 'em I've picked up over the years. I used to go into Christian bookstores and ask for them. I actually felt a little guilty about it–being there under false pretenses as it were. But the things are hilarious.

  4. Christians in Heaven Acting Like Assholes

    This is perhaps the funniest sentence in the english language. In fact just thinking about it gives me the giggles. Also, love the idea of Chick being a satirist, if it were true these are the funniest comics ever written. Unfortunately, it seems he's just a small minded person who needs a serious religious intervention.

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