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.