Jack T. Chick, whose cartoon tracts preached fundamentalist Christianity while vilifying secular society, evolution, homosexuality, and the beliefs of Catholics and Muslims, died Oct. 23. He was 92.
Chick Publications, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., announced the death in a Facebook post and did not provide other details. The Whittier Daily News reported that Mr. Chick died at his home in San Dimas, Calif.
His cartoons combined traditional evangelism with conspiracy-minded attacks. He and later other illustrators produced several hundred tracts over the decades. Latching onto the issues of the day, the tracts took aim at abortion, occultism, ecumenism and other perceived evils.
They portrayed rock music, Dungeons & Dragons and the “Harry Potter” series as literal traps of the Devil. One tract, “The Walking Dead,” tapped into the hit zombie TV show but argued: “We’re all like zombies. The spirits inside our souls are dead.”
As with underground comics of the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Chick’s work opposed “the System.” But instead of the military-industrial complex or “the Man,” it was a secular society viewed as debased, demon-inspired and virulently anti-Christian.
One anti-evolution booklet called “Big Daddy?” has a college student exclaiming: “Then we didn’t evolve! The system has been feeding us The Big Lie! We really do have a soul!”
Mr. Chick offended Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims and Freemasons who found their beliefs discounted, ridiculed or condemned as false — or worse.
“Learn how the papacy helped start Islam, only to have this new daughter rebel against her. You’ll understand the Arab’s place in Bible prophecy. Muslims have been saved by reading this book,” says the blurb for one pamphlet on the Chick Publications order website.
The tracts were criticized for using debunked or one-sided arguments and stereotypical portrayals of blacks, gays, Arabs and others. But they also attracted collectors and fans who cherished them as quirky works of art.
Jack Thomas Chick was born in Los Angeles on April 13, 1924, and grew up in Alhambra, Calif. He studied theater at the Pasadena Playhouse and then served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II, according to biographical sketches.
A biography on the company website says he was converted to Christianity by listening to a radio revival program on his honeymoon. His wife, Lola Lynn Priddle, died in 1998, and their daughter died in 2001. Survivors include his second wife, whose name has been variously reported as Susie and Susy.
Mr. Chick worked as a technical illustrator for an aerospace company in El Monte, Calif., while trying unsuccessfully to find a publisher for his cartoons. He published his first cartoon revival book in 1961 using $800 he borrowed from a credit union. He founded Chick Publications in 1970.
The tracts were intended to be handed out in bulk and were available cheaply. Mr. Chick’s company claimed that it had sold about 750 million of them, translated into more than 100 languages.