Jack T. Chick, whose religious cartoons, known as Chick tracts, became known worldwide as tools of religious salvation, but which were also attacked as instruments of hate speech, died on Sunday October 23, 2016 at his home in Alhambra, Calif. He was 92.
The death was confirmed by David W. Daniels of Mr. Chick’s company, Chick Publications.
“To some, Chick tracts are American folk art or even a form of religious pornography, titillating and somewhat dangerous,” Brill’s Content wrote in 1999. “Chick is the ultimate underground artist.”
Chick Publications says that almost 900 million copies of the cartoons have been printed and sold in 102 languages to missionaries, churches, youth groups and others.
Mr. Chick saw a long list of practices and beliefs as enemies of true Christianity. In addition to Islam, they included abortion, drugs, evolution, homosexuality, rock music, the Roman Catholic Church, Judaism, Mormonism and Freemasonry — but also Dungeons & Dragons, and updated translations of the Bible. He and the Christian Booksellers Association parted ways in 1981, partly because of his work’s anti-Catholic messages.
Jack Thomas Chick was born on April 13, 1924, in Los Angeles and grew up in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, the son of Thomas Chick, a commercial artist, and the former Pauline Freas.
He won a two-year scholarship to the Pasadena Playhouse to study acting, but his education was interrupted by World War II. He spent three years in the Army, serving in the Pacific Theater — New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and Japan. When he returned to the Pasadena Playhouse after the war, he met Lynn Priddle, a fellow student from Canada. They were married in 1948.
Mr. Chick is survived by his second wife, Susy. Lynn Chick died in 1998, and their daughter, Carol, died in 2001.
Some people called Mr. Chick the Thomas Pynchon of evangelism. He had not given an interview since 1975 and, it was said, had chosen comics as his medium because he was too shy to bear witness any other way.