Chick Tracts are short evangelical comic books that primarily exist in the form of very small printed albums - small enough to easily fit into a wallet. However, most of the tracts are also available for free at their home website Chick.com. The author calls himself Jack T.[Thomas] Chick. This may or may not be a pseudonym.Each tract tells a story. These stories handle all kinds of subjects, but they all have two things in common: They all have some direct or indirect connection to religion, and they all end in An Aesop about everyone needing to become a born-again Christian. Sometimes the entire story builds up to this Aesop; other times it's shoehorned in after the actual story is finished.Villains in these stories are demons or misguided mortals. Demons range from Cthulhuish monstrosities that make the heroes facing them come across as epic fantasy heroes, to silly little imps that are mostly Played for Laughs. Mortal villains are very likely to make a Heel-Faith Turn due to Easy Evangelism. Those who do not invariably end up in Hell. And so does everyone else, including those who are kind and selfless. Only a very particular kind of evangelical Christian gets to avoid eternal torture; everyone else is doomed no matter what. The tracts are all set in the same world (and thus have a lot of recurring characters). A world very different from what most people, including most Christians, are used to. In The Verse of Chick Tracts:
The Ancient Conspiracy is everywhere. Science, religion, and politics are all fronts for it. The world is a very dangerous place indeed, and The Devil rules over us all.
A prime player in this worldwide Satanic conspiracy is the Roman Catholic Church, which in this setting is really a pagan Babylonian religion in disguise and bears the blame for pretty much every war and tragedy since its creation. Also, Islam is actually only a front organization for the Catholic Church, or at least started out that way.
Evolution is a religion, demanding faith and loyalty from its adherents and forbidding theism.
Noah actually saved the dinosaurs from the great flood, but due to death of all plant life, the air was to thin for them to breath properly. They were soon hunted to extinction by humans.
Atheist and/or Muslim countries are bound to attack Israel and get slaughtered by Jesus.
The King James Version of the Bible is the only version that God inspired. All other versions of the Bible are lies, corrupted by humans and Satan.
More positively, Chick tracts have no problem criticizing the Anti-Semitismnote In this world, at least. Any Jews who don't convert are still deservedly bound for infinite suffering, of course.and racism displayed by many fundamentalist groups.
People can only relate to other people of the same gender and ethnic group. Many best-selling tracts have been rewritten to change the characters to women, or to black people, or to (insert target demographic here). All of these have a Jive Turkey feel to them.
In other words, this setting is a very dark fantasy world, comparable to Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, although with less graphic violence (and with a bit of South Park thrown in). Unlike Games Workshop, however, the people behind chick.com seem to believe their own message. Some people insist that it must be some kind of parody. However, Jack Chick himself has given one interview where he claims to be totally serious. Honest or not, he does seem to make a lot of money from people who buy large quantities of his tracts with their own money and then hand them out free of charge to friends and random strangers in the hope that this act will eventually spare a few souls from the horrors of hell.Meanwhile, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Chick's efforts have inspired many parodies, and he was featured as the subject of the documentary, God's Cartoonist.In addition, a live-action version of Dark Dungeons is currently under work,. "Dark Dungeons: The Movie!" is officially licensed by Jack Chick. Debate rages on if the filmmaker believes in the tract or not, though the response to the FAQ question "What is your favorite type of comedy?"note "I really like Stephen Colbert and The Onion. When a comedian really knows his material and can present a situation that sounds pretty ludicrous but instead of just jumping up and down and saying, "I'm making fun of this!" he instead presents it completely straight-faced and in a serious manner while never breaking character, that is when true comedic genius can occur." suggests he does not. The teaser trailer for the film has been released. It's precisely as over-the-top and narmy as was expected.
Achievements in Ignorance: Here. The man who tells him making a contract with the devil has doomed him is wrong, the guy who doesn't know better, who gets a last minute conversion from some old priest (and decides even that guy isn't righteous enough so goes to convert him) gets saved. The guy who talked some sense into him, but was too proud to listen to his last-minute evangelism? He was damned.
"God Hates The Scene". What would Eazy-E and Tupac do if they were alive to see all this pretentious Goth bullshit? They'd grab their gats and start rushing some pasty-ass tricks to the dirt, that's what.
In "Happy Hour", Jerry ends up spending most of his family's money drinking, causes his wife to die after pushing her over during an argument over his drinking, and uses the grocery money on alcohol. Naturally, while his kids think that he should have died instead of their mother, they end up forgiving him and Christianity is what he needs to get over his alcoholism.
In "Tiny Shoes", Juan's alcoholism is the reason why he is unable to keep his promise to buy shoes for his son. After the saloon is destroyed by lightning, he decides to buy the shoes, but by then, Juanito has died of pneumonia after walking out in the rain to search for him.
In "Mad Machine," a father and a son go to a facility described to treat alcoholism. The father's told that he'll like it there, but he says that his son is the patient
All Myths Are True: They're all agents of Satan (except maybe the Grim Reaper), but a surprising number of mythological figures do exist in the Chick world. The Grim Reaper is practically a minor character, and magic, although Satanic, apparently does work (because of Satan).
All Sins Are Equal: Whether for murdering, stealing, or occasionally telling a small lie, you deserve to go to Hell if you don't accept Jesus—and conversely, you'll go to Heaven if you do.
Also, as noted below, The Devil's Night explains the "true" origins of Halloween in a massive case of research failure.
Almost Dead Guy: A lot of Chick's amoral characters always manage to see the error of their ways and convert to Christianity just like that when on the verge of death. In one instance, a character survives several grenades thrown at him at a church, and takes time to stagger out of the building, drive to someone else's house and find peace in Jesus while dying in the arms of his friend.
Amoral Attorney: Attorney Douglas Rogers in "Busted!" prosecutes people without caring whether they're guilty, and likes "to see the accused squirm."
Ancient Conspiracy: Apparently, the Catholic Church has a computer database with the name of every Protestant in the world so that when Catholics Take Over the World they'll kill them all. Also, the Catholic Church manipulated Mohammed into creating "the Islam religion" (which includes Catholics on the list of people to convert), instigated The American Civil War and then caused the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy (despite the latter being Catholic), formed The Klan (despite the Ku Klux Klan's anti-Catholic origins), created Communism (despite its famous anti-religion views including being against Catholicism) and were responsible for the Holocaust (which included Catholic victims) among other, just as stupid, things. Where and whether the Eastern Orthodox church fits into any of this has yet to receive any mention, however.
Appeal to Fear: The backbone of many tracts. Numerous commentators note that Chick very frequently fails to make any appealing arguments toward his position, rather simply resorting to "Don't you want to be on the winning side?"
Bob: Malcolm lovingly tried to warn homosexuals of God's judgment. So who committed the hate crime? Malcolm, or the guys who almost beat him to death? Tell me, Ray, of all the sins, lying, adultery, stealing etc., can you think of any other sin where God Himself wiped out entire cities to remove that sin?
Ray: No... No I can't!
Another common one is asking people whether they've sinned. They will often bring up minor sins, such as lying, and Chick will point out that everyone has sinned, and are doomed to hell unless they repent and accept Jesus. "It's The Law" has a nice example of them.
The Bad Guy Wins: Fairly often, Satan and his minions succeed in capturing a soul.
Badass: Jesus, according to "The Sissy?", for being willing to suffer and die for the good of humanity.
Some particularly courageous and determined Christians count as well. The prison guard in "Bad Bob" says that a young man who tries to witness to the Jerkass Bad Bob and his cousin has more guts than both of them combined, even if the guard doesn't agree with his brand of Christianity.
Beauty Equals Goodness: The flip side of this trope is more frequently observed; Chick's heroes tend to be "cute" children who tend to look somewhat creepy, whilst his villains are hideous. "Wounded Children" presents an odd inversion: the gay men, including the main character, are drawn very detailed, handsome and attractive for the majority of the tract. The ex-homosexual and born-again Christian he meets that turns him from homosexuality is bearded, fat, and just plain ugly. The main character then becomes much less attractive when he converts.
Begging The Question: Many of the tracts use this. They're intended to convince people that believing in evolution/being homosexual/following Roman Catholicism/anything else the author doesn't like is bad, but the reasoning behind this goes: This person did X. X is bad. People who do bad things are are sent to hell. This person is being sent to hell. Therefore, X is bad.
Berserk Button: Apparently, Freemasonry for Bob Williams, as the tract dealing with it, "Good Ol's Boys," is the one time where he's shown to lose his cool at the person he's trying to convert.
Non-Christian characters in Chick Tracts tend to react this way to other characters mentioning the Bible or Christianity, or revealing that they are Christian.
Bittersweet Ending: Several tracts feature the characters dying untimely and tragic deaths, but managing to get into heaven.
Black and White Morality: All people in Chick tracts are divided into either Christians (i.e.: good, unless Roman Catholic) or non-Christians (i.e.: bound to Hell, unless they convert). Note that Chick's definition of "Christian" is (apparently) "American evangelical Protestant."
Blue and Orange Morality: Everybody but born again Christians are damned to eternal torture, regardless of whether they were actually decent people or not. Join Jack's denomination, or God hates you. Gotcha.
It's frequently pointed out by riffers that despite His supposed omnipotence, Chick's interpretation of God actually appears to be bound by His own rules. God frequently mentions how much He hates having to send people to Hell, but nevertheless seems unable to make the qualifications for getting into Heaven more lenient.
Blunt Yes: The typical response Chick's Christians have to anyone who asks whether a person has gone or will go to hell (in the latter case, often about themselves), although with the caveat "but you don't have to."
Bond Villain Stupidity: In "Wounded Children" (an Old Shame of his), Satan/a demon leads a boy to get into porno, have unsatisfying sex with girls, then go gay and have unsatisfying sex with guys. The boy considers suicide, but Satan/the demon suggests against that. Later, the boy gets saved straight. Satan/the demon could've just killed the boy/let him commit suicide, since sending people to Hell is what Satan's supposed to do, right?
Bratty Half-Pint: Li'l Susy can easily be seen as incredibly annoying and petulant.
Bread and Circuses: It's implied that Satan uses sports and other things to distract people from faith.
Broken Aesop: In one tract, Jack rightly calls out the Jehovah's Witnesses on their absolute refusal to accept a blood transplant. In fact, the consequences of doing so are the driving plot of the tract. Don't worry, the JWs convert in time to get the transplant. But in another tract, the Mad Machine, Chick demonstrates an attitude towards modern psychology very similar to Hank Hill, and recommends that anybody who is having mental problems should simply pray to Jesus.
Brutal Honesty: Typically exercised by the Christians over whether the unsaved have gone to hell. Oscar in "The Slugger" mentions that "a real friend had the guts to tell (him he) was a sinner on (his) way to hell."
Butt Monkey: Bruce in "Fallen." He's apparently a Jerkass, and comes off as quite rude, but what exactly he did to deserve being dumped by his friends with his mother's purse, and have his neck broken by Frankie is unclear. The main character in "Unloved" has also been one his entire life.
Card-Carrying Villain: Satan and his demons. No Freudian Excuse for these guys; they know that God is right and drive you away from him anyway, purely For the Evulz. Satan is also sometimes seen filling the role Judaism has him in, as God's "devil's advocate".
"Depart from me, ye cursed, into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!"
Categorism as a Phobia: While most tracts portray negative feelings against Christians as a matter of ignorance, bigotry and believing the lies of demons, some characters are portrayed as having a phobia against Christians. When it comes to the demons in this setting, the fact that almost all of them are terrified of Christians does not count as a phobia, since this fear is completely rational.
Category Traitor: Chick implies that all Christians who disagree with him on certain religious matters- especially Catholics- are this. Similarly, he believes that the Catholics see the "real" Christians as this.
Christianity is Catholic: Does it really need to be explained how it's Averted, Inverted and Subverted? The fact that there's a tract titled "Are Roman Catholics Christians?", to which the answer is decisively no, is effective indication of what Chick thinks.
Cool Old Guy: Many protagonists are grandfatherly old men, possibly as insertions of the elderly Chick himself.
Culture Blind: It's hard to believe that the adults who grew up in the United States and are the target of his Easy Evangelism have never even heard of Jesus or basic Christian beliefs. In one tract, an American Christian lectures a Muslim on the "history" of Islam.
Cure Your Gays: In addition to the infamous "Wounded Children," the idea is also presented in Sin City and Uninvited. The latter tract also states that being molested makes you gay (unless you find Jesus). Note that none of the "saved" gays are shown to become heterosexual.
Depraved Homosexual: In the Jack Chick universe, being a homosexual is apparently synonymous with being a drifting, shamelessly promiscuous swinger unable to form any kind of commitment. The only reason any of them seek government recognition for gay marriage is that they know it'll upset Christians. In addition, they feel that using the word "queer" is a sign of insanity and that anyone who disagrees with their agenda should be sent to prison.
Dick Dastardly Stops to Cheat: The Devil in "First Bite" makes a false prophecy to a group of vampires because, as he says, "I Lied! It's What I Do!" Except that this false prophecy directly leads to many of them being saved, which is usually the opposite of what he does. The way it's presented, however, it does seem he intended to make his prophecy to come true, and then claimed to have lied to save face when he failed. Of course, this is very in-character for the Father of Lies.
In "Fairy Tales?" after learning a horrifying truth, a child (Harry Garner) goes on a killing spree, burning down his school and eventually becoming the FBI's most wanted fugitive who is then arrested, tried, executed, and sent to Hell. What was the truth so dreadful it drove this child to kill? The fact that Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny aren't real.
Another case of this trope comes from "The Last Generation" mentioned below. It's mentioned that Larry's mom told him to go to bed immediately. What happened? She got put in a concentration camp for child abuse.
A historical version of it here. Apparently, all of our problems come solely from Abraham slighting Ishmael by driving him out over teasing a kid.
The notorious "Dark Dungeons" made roleplaying out to be an exciting life-or-death scenario that introduced real occultism and gave players fabulous supernatural powers that they can use to brainwash their parents into buying them stuff. More than a few roleplayers love the tract and it has been parodied and affectionately referred to in innumerable ways among the subculture.
The tract has become so famous that it is currently being funded as a live-action movie on kickstarter. "Dark Dungeons: The Movie!" seems to be getting most of its backers from the gaming community.
In his anti-Catholic tracts, Chick shows very little downside to being one of those dastardly Papists, since they seem to have nothing but crazy sex parties and oodles of cash, and be secretly running the world.
Depending on the tracts, he'll even make the devils funny or sufficiently clever to provide comic relief, which makes anyone who wins against them seem like a bit of a killjoy.
Halloween is another Satanic thing, so he fully expects children to read tracts about how a holiday that involves dressing up and carving pumpkins and abstain from such a heinous holiday. One tract shows a bunch of "bad" people partaking in a huge Halloween party in a rented cabin, which looks like a ton of fun (barring the cat sacrifice at the end), while the "good" kid sits quietly in his house, praying to God and apparently having the most boring evening ever.
Dolled-Up Installment: "The Slugger" has been recycled several times, swapping out the first few panels and changing the dialogue (including the name of the star and his servant) to make it apply to sports other than baseball.
Doublethink: In this Verse, Fundamentalist Christianity is not only true, but a very obvious truth. Some characters who understand this at heart still choose not to believe in it, instead embracing whatever false teachings that will be good for their career and social life. In some cases this is merely playing along with the lies, but in others they appear to honestly believe in them.
People who reject the offer to convert are often killed off in short order by a fairly sudden or improbable cause of death (such as Charlie Connors in "Hi There!" falling from a girder and getting impaled, or the main character's cousin being killed by a falling tree in "The Contract").
Sometimes people who accept the offer get the treatment: (Crazy Wolf is told by God he made it by the skin of his teeth), other times those considering it are killed before making up their minds, meaning they go to Hell. In both cases, the Aesop usually demands that the character's death and arrival in the afterlife make it into the story somehow, and the death is used to remind readers that they can't put off accepting Jesus.
Surprisingly, initially averted in Happy Hour. After pushing his wife down and indirectly causing her death of a heart attack, and later spending the grocery money on liquor, Jerry tries to apologize to his children, but his children will have none of it until they go to church and learn the value of forgiveness, forgiving him two panels after the previous incident.
Eric in Baby Talk. Granted, he recognizes his mistake in abandoning Ashley and tries to fix it, but she doesn't seem angry at him at any point.
This is extremely common in Chick's tracks. People can go from staunchly anti-Christian beliefs to devout believers with a few minutes of conversation with a Chick-like Christian. Averted in many cases when this fails, but when this succeeds, it doesn't need much effort.
Easy Road to Hell: Simultaneously played straight and inverted: everyone is going to hell for the slightest, and least objectionable, of sins. However all you have to do is accept Fundamentalist Protestantism and you'll spend eternity in heaven.
Eldritch Abomination: God. He is a Time Abyss that is all powerful and will send all of us to an eternity of torment for believing in the wrong religion or the wrong sect of the right religion.
Face-Heel Turn: Occasionally, Christians fall from grace, like three of the four brothers in "Four Angels?", Harry (only briefly mentioned) in "The Poor Revolutionist", and Paul in "The Last Generation".
The Faceless: God's head is silhouetted by brilliant light, making it impossible to see His face.
As noted earlier, even Satan occasionally screws up. In this case, he was probably planning to have his character commit some more "spectacular wickedness" (as Screwtape would put it) and corrupt the people around him before harvesting his soul.
Type 3 comes into play, as according to Chick, trying to witness to others often gets you sued, prosecuted or killed.
Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: The non-Christians do this quite often. They feel insulted, threatened, even oppressed... not by how the Christians treat them, but by their very existence.
Fix Fic: The tracts have become a magnet for Remix Comics and Fix Fic of this sort, thanks to their endemic research failures. Most of them completely change the worldview espoused by the comic, but there are some exceptions: Morrakiu's Dramatic Reading of this tract is just as anti-communist as the original, but is far more intelligent about it.
Flat Earth Atheist: Every atheist on the planet, according to Jack Chick. Of special notes are the atheist who are visited by devils. It's probably intended to come off as the whispers of the devil putting thoughts in their minds, but some panels really show the atheist facing the demons and having what looks like a conversation with them.
Footnote Fever: Chick Tracts sometimes have as much space devoted to footnotes as to the tracts themselves.
For the Evulz: Aside from the protagonist of any given tract, supporting characters with a viewpoint that opposes Chick's are quite often very happily aware that their religion, belief, etc. has been planted by the Devil. More often than not these characters are intentionally out to inflict some form of harm the other characters of the tract. (In several cases, the supporting characters are flat-out demons in disguise.)
Good Angel, Bad Angel: More precisely, demons causing all sorts of human evils, from homosexuality to suicide to Freemasonry. When angels appear, they pull minor pranks like tripping people and give them seemingly irrelevant directions (such as, "You're going to wash your hair"), but all for the cause of saving souls.
The Gods Must Be Lazy: Satan tends to get the lion's share of the action in most stories, always working to corrupt people. God rarely shows up except at the end to render final judgment, with a few exceptions. On the other hand, the angels sometimes show up to counter Satan and his demons, presumably on assignment from God. (Also, an occasional miracle in answer to a prayer may be coming more directly from God.)
The Great Politics Mess-Up: Chick had... interesting ideas about how the Cold War would turn out, some of them bordering on Insane Troll Logic (The Soviet Union invading Israel under orders of the Pope? WHAAAAA?!) After the fall of the Soviet Union, tracts containing these bizarre theories were re-issued with them clumsily edited out.
Heel Face Door Slam: Some people, like Charles Bishop in "The Assignment" and Bruce in "Fallen"note which actually tells Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son die while considering conversion (and procrastinating), and go to Hell as a result.
Heel-Faith Turn: Constantly, the sinners get converted to Jack's definition of what a Christian is, and thus, by extension, become good guys.
Heel Realization: Quite a few of the soon-to-be-converted undergo this, especially those Chick believes are responsible for enabling sinful behavior. Kelli in "Greed" realizes that what she did to the old man she was nursing was essentially the same thing that Ahab and Jezebel did to Naboth, even calling herself "a Jezebel".
Hell of a Heaven: If your loved ones don't convert you'll be in Heaven all alone so convert everyone you know today!
Hollywood Satanism: How Non-Christians (by his definition) are portrayed in his tracts. Unusually for this trope, Jack Chick does actually believe this.
Humans Are Bastards: The tracts tend to ping-pong back and forth on this in a bizarre way. Some use it straight, citing the doctrine of Original Sin, but in others it seems as though the only reason humans do anything evil at all is due to the influence of demons.
If I Were a Rich Man: In "Titanic", Chester and his wife stay in a first class room on the aforementioned ship. He then goes off to rub shoulders with all the wealthy passengers and says that in a few months, they'll "be rolling in money." This is odd, considering that they're in a first class suite and in today's dollars, they cost either $83,000 or $3000 (depending on if they went with a parlor suite or a berth; the extreme price difference is because there were only two parlor suites on the entire ship and each of them had their own private 50-foot promenade, so it probably wasn't supposed to be one of these). Therefore, by some standards, he was already rolling in money. Of course, he may have been saving his pennies for this expensive trip because it was his opportunity to get really rich really fast.
I Got a Rock: Several tracts are specifically intended to be handed out to trick-or-treaters, usually (rather ironically) the ones arguing that Halloween is an evil pagan holiday. In the tracts themselves (see "Stinky" for example), some characters are positively portrayed giving out tracts as treats. Somewhat averted when the children in the tracts appear quite excited to receive them, and in real life, to his credit, Chick does recommend including a bag of candy along with the tracts.
"And here's a nice treat for you... little comic books!"
Scrooge: Why in HEAVEN'S name would God bother with insignificant Man? Man is rotten to the corenote A footnote indicates Rom. 3:10-18, though the verses actually mention St. Paul quoting, in order, Psalms 14:2-3, 53:3-4, 5:10, 140:4, 10:7, and 36:2; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Proverbs 1:16; and Isaiah 59:7-8 (NAB)! MAN is a BLIGHT on the earth!
Cratchit: What a coincidence, Mr. Scrooge. The Word of God says the same thing.
Just in Time: Typically, someone dying of a disease will convert (or in some cases, get through to the person he or she was trying to convert) within a day of expiring.
Karma Houdini: While neither abuser in "Lisa" is shown going to jail, the neighbor is an even better example. The Villain Protagonist father, at least, gets scared badly enough to contemplate suicide, not only because he might go to jail, but because everyone's going to know what he's done. The neighbor, who also helped make things even worse for him by blackmailing him, simply disappears at the end without explanation.
The Governor in "Here Comes The Judge" and the Communist leaders in "Fat Cats" and "The Poor Revolutionist" also qualify, though one can presume they went to Hell eventually.
The sargeant from "Holy Joe," after deliberately sending Joe to his death, goes to heaven after asking God for help 'seconds' before he dies, while the corporal who objected to the order ends up in hell.
Large Ham: Even considering how often things are emphasized in Jack Chick's tracts, some characters end up talking EXTREMELY loudly and animatedly, FAR more than would be expected otherwise! Scrooge in "Humbug" is a good example.
Laser-Guided Karma: Happens from time to time, such as when A.J. fires Dudley after he makes a $5 million contract with Japan (for flying first class), the contract fails and he gets sued for it (among other indignities).
Lawful Stupid: Chick's Christians, and surprisingly, not just where their brand of Christianity is concerned. They know that the teachers and other authority figures are not on their side, but believe in following them so long as doing so doesn't involve them going against their religion. For example, Suzy's grandfather tells her, in response to Ms. Henn's Halloween party, that she must obey her since she's an authority figure, but it doesn't have to be a Halloween costume
Missing Steps Plan: Despite the title, the subject of Love That Money! has a clear plan for profit, but the demons and angels don't. The devils say that Joe Bronson will be their star in politics and is invaluable to them, but they seem perfectly fine with his ending up broke and in Hell (where he was pretty much heading before). The angel meanwhile stops the demon from preventing Joe from listening to some evangelism, but apparently doesn't stop the man's Christian aunt from dying such that Joe gets her money, which ultimately prevents him being saved.
The Movie: "The Truth as You've Never Seen it Before", a 78 minute long film that brings The Bible to life, named for its star, The Light of the World. Perfect for your Hell-bound friends and Sunday School. Official Site. Watch here.
Two Chick tracts have also been animated in mediocre CGI, unfortunately.
Must Make Amends: Eric leaves Ashley after she gets pregnant, but after seeing the error of his ways and accepting Jesus, races to stop her from getting the abortion, declaring that he's willing to stay with her now.
Necessary Fail: In "It's The Law", Miss Crawford considers her flunking Timmy for writing about the Ten Commandments to be this, since it enabled her to meet Uncle Bob and get converted to Christianity.
Neck Snap: Bruce suffers one, but doesn't die immediately.
Never My Fault: Some condemned sinners complain that they were never told about Jesus, such as Mildred's friend Frances in "The Letter". Most of them are wrong, and someone did tell them.
Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Averted in a few tracts. Chick's heroes can and will remind people that the recently deceased unsaved have ended up in Hell.
Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The Christian homeowner in "The Thief" is not trying to talk the burglar out of murdering him, but succeeds anyway.
Oh Crap: The reactions of people of other faiths, or Christians who disagree with Chick when they realize that they aren't going before their god. In "Baby Talk," Eric has this reaction when he learns that Ashley is being taken to the abortion clinic while he's trying to rectify his mistake.
Only Sane Man: Yusuf in "The Sky Lighter" wonders why only the kids, and never the old men training them to be suicide bombers, actually blow themselves up.
Despite the world of Jerkass Gods, satanic conspiracies, assholes, lunatics, and obnoxious fundamentalists that he inhabits, the Grim Reaper is delightfully friendly and polite, even as he's taking people to their deaths. "Hi there!".
Open Says Me: In "No Fear!," the pastor kicks a door open in order to prevent a suicide.
Our Vampires Are Different: And named Igor, for some reason. They're born as vampires, and apparently they can survive all the way up to adolescence before the first time they get hungry.
Original Position Fallacy: One of the most common types of Straw Loser is the guy who isn't afraid of hell. One variant of this is that he believes that hell exists and that it is a horrible place for the damned, but also believes that he'll be one of Satan's demons reigning in hell. Of course, his fate invariably turns out to be much crueler.
Parental Abandonment: Li'l Susy's mother died when she was born and her father died of a heart attack.
Path of Inspiration: The Catholic Church, Buddhism, Islam, and pretty much any other religion or denomination that doesn't mesh exactly with Jack Chick's worldview.
Pet the Dog: Despite the massive amounts of bigotry towards other religions, beliefs, and sexual orientations, Chick dislikes racism. Some strips have even been rewritten for a black audience.
Poe's Law: Most of the positions stated and conclusions drawn in the tracts are so preposterous and illogical (not to mention un-Christian, at least to the majority of Christians) that it's hard to tell if Chick is being entirely serious.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Humbug!, which is a tract adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Since the full story wouldn't fit without cutting out way too much, Chick skips the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, and instead focuses on Scrooge's bad deeds and his redemption after being visited by Marley's ghost.
Prayer of Malice: This is sometimes done by Catholics, non-evangelical Protestants, and so on. Within the context of the pamphlets, this "proves" that only evangelicals are Real Christians.
Pride Parade: Several tracts feature Pride Parades, portraying them as unholy armies of Satan laying siege to the world.
The Prophet Muhammad: The tracts go straight into the Type 4 tradition. They portray him as a brigand, thug, devil-worshiping liar, pedophile and so on, much as it does with any other villain.
Race Lift: In the tracts' case, a rather interesting variety: when the Target Audience is of a different race/nationality, the characters and sometimes the settings as well are also redrawn to look like the people and places of those ethnicities. Compare, for example, the North American English version of "This Was Your Life" with the African English version ("It's Your Life!"). Even the angels are of different ethnicities. Even God can be black or white depending on the ethnicity of the one who's up for final judgment. Chick is nothing if not flexible. The website even lists them as "Adapted for black audiences".
Rape and Switch: In the first tract of the year 2011, Chick declares that all gay people were molested when they were children (and possessed by gay demons). This is an idea which originated with the Freudians, let us note, and was discredited along with them.
Rays from Heaven: The black and white tracts are full of these indicating Heaven and God's glory, as they are easy to understand when drawn simply in a small panel.
We walked by day and night, and yet you showed me not the light.
You let me live, love and die, and all the while you knew I'd never live on high.
Yes, I called you friend in life, and I trusted you in joy and strife...
and yet, in coming to this end, I see you really weren't my friend.
A jail guard gives one to Bad Bob and his cousin after he fiercely rebuffs an attempt to witness to him.
If two guys ever deserved hell, it's you two. You didn't have to destroy that kid the way you did. He might be a little off base, but he's sincere. I'm a Christian... and let me tell you, that kid's got more guts than the two of together. Anyone can be rebellious and crude like you guys. But it takes real guts to stand up for God like that kid did. He cared about you and wanted to help you. But you are too blind to see it. Whether you know it or not, we all deserve to burn in hell. But God in His mercy sent His only begotten son to shed His precious blood and die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. But you two have spit in God's face and rejected His gift of eternal life, so both of you are on your way to the lake of fire.
Recursive Canon: When there's no Bob or Lil' Susy around to perform Easy Evangelism, Chick will have a character find redemption by coming across one of his other tracts, sometimes as a Deus ex Machina randomly stuck in their pocket.
Redemption Equals Death: Tracts that involve people such as murderers finding redemption will often end with their death.
Religion is Magic: In The Verse of chick tracts, all religions (except Chick's variant of Christianity) practice black magic. Catholic clergy are particularly vicious mages.
Religion of Evil: Catholicism, mostly. And Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism,... heck, any other religion that is not Chick's particular brand of fundamentalist Protestant Christianity. Also atheism, even though atheism is a blanket term that means "does not believe in a deity," not a religion in itself.
Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: In "The Poor Revolutionist", the main character and some of the revolutionaries are executed because "[he is] a revolutionist, perhaps [he] might revolt against [their] own system." The country shown being overthrown is not actually specified, though it certainly does look like the USA, and the revolutionary hippies he lampoons are hard to mistake for being from anywhere else. Some versions do mention, though, that basically in any country Communism overthrows, the revolutionaries are always eliminated afterward.
In "Good Ol' Boys", a variation applies when the Shining Path leader offers to let anyone who denies Jesus live. When the missionary and his wife refuse to do so, he orders that his men spare them, but "shoot the traitorous dogs who believe in nothing."
Running Gag: There seems to be a running gag regarding Chick's firm belief that Britain has long been overrun by violent Muslims as a punishment from God. He also seems to claim that the decline and fall of the British Empire is the result of their failure to support Israel, a fate that awaits any nation that does the same.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: In "Fatal Decision", Dr. Bowers sells most of his stocks and bonds to obtain a vaccine for a patient, who destroys it and dies a few days later. To make matters worse, Bowers' son died in an accident on the way back.
Smug Snake: Quite a few of the unsaved, but Elmer Boggs is a particularly good example. He's rather arrogant and condescending toward John Freeman, but ultimately, he's relatively low-ranking in his bank, and when his boss calls him out on what he's done and fires him, he becomes quite pitiful.
Stealth Parody: Quite a few people suspect that the tracts are this, though Chick claims otherwise. The director of the "Dark Dungeons" adaption has gone on the record saying that the film is going to be this (though how stealthy it will be is debatable).
Strictly Formula: Usually, whatever else is in the story, a sinner gets salvation explained (and offered) to him at some point. Either 1)He accepts and goes to Heaven, 2)He doesn't and goes to hell, or 3)Someone accepts and another person doesn't.
Stupid Evil: Satan and his minions sometimes come out looking like this at times, particularly when their schemes backfire.
The Unfavourite: Jimmy in "Unloved", as his parents refuse to attend his high school graduation, constantly tell him he's inferior to his sister Nancy, criticize his choice of a wife, blame him for having rotten kids, berate him for losing his job, and disown him after he asks to borrow money.
In "Mean Momma", Austin Parker realizes that Charlie is favored over him, and then commits suicide.
The Devil often tries to invoke this, especially in The Assignment. Charles Bishop's subordinate's wife is a successful case, as she prevented him from witnessing to his boss, but the devils' attempts to use a popular boy and the subordinate as distractions for Bishop's daughter and Bishop fail.
Vanity Publishing: All of Chick's work is published and distributed by Chick Publications, including books by other authors.
Verbal Tic: The omnipresent and random use of Biblical quotes, especially John 3:16.
Downplayed with "Bad Bob". The people at the bar who buy drugs from him are disappointed that he's a different person, but, befitting how many sinners see people as expendable in Chick's tracts, merely decide to get another dealer.
In "Born Wild!" Connie, despite being angered by her son's disrespect toward her prior to his conversion, is depressed when he finally does convert and starts acting like a good kid.
Wisdom from the Gutter: Happens from time to time in certain tracts, in which very famous, respected, wealthy or educated individuals get witnessed to by blue-collar workers, servants, convicted criminals, children and other people you wouldn't expect them to listen to. Whether they do depends on whether Chick wants to show them seeing the light and going to heaven, or show that if you reject Christianity, you will go to Hell.
In "The Bull," the eponymous character, after reading a tract, calls in the prison chaplain to give him a lecture about hell, which the chaplain doesn't believe in.
Not actually butchered, of course; the King James Version, which was produced by very well-educated scholars, is just about the only really good example of "Old English" (actually Early Modern English) most people will ever see, and "God" in Chick tracts mainly just speaks in quotes lifted directly from it.
The Jewish people could be said to fall into this. Chick says protecting the state of Israel is a God-mandated duty, and any nation that betrays or abandons the Jewish people will suffer consequences. However, all Jews who fail to accept Jesus will go to hell like anyone else.
Naturally, all of Satan's followers end up going to Hell with him.
You Rebel Scum!: "Fanatic" is a favorite insult to True Christians (very much a minority in the world of Chick Tracts) by nonbelievers and authorities.
You Should Have Died Instead: In "Happy Hour", Jerry's children tell him that he should have died instead of their mother, which is understandable, given that he had pushed her over and caused her death from a heart attack when she tried to stop him from spending the last of their money at the bars. Naturally, however, he's Easily Forgiven in the end.
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." —John 14:6