Wednesday, 5 July 2017

A Biography of Jack Chick

Jack Chick, the Christian cartoonist whose tracts have a tendency to offend the obviously hellbound sectors of polite society, died last year at the age of 92. But for those who wish to know more about the man behind such classics as Big Daddy?, The Poor Little Witch (my personal favourite), and, um, Why is Mary Crying?, there’s now an authorised biography available, written by David W. Daniels: You Don’t Know Jack: The Authorized Biography of Christian Cartoonist Jack T. Chick (Ontario, CA: Chick Publications, 2017).

You Don’t Know Jack is an easy but sometimes frustrating read. The early chapters seem more concerned to justify Chick’s antipathy towards the Roman Catholic Church as shaped by his relations with the former Jesuit, Alberto Rivera, and to defend Rivera himself against accusations of deceit. But eventually, we begin to learn more about Chick himself: his family background, his wife and daughter, his early cartoon strips that preceded (and perhaps inspired?—Daniels certainly implies this, I think) The Flintstones, and, of course, the founding of Chick Publications. Regardless of what one thinks of Chick’s theology or the content of his tracts, I don’t think many would deny his talents as a cartoonist or a communicator—and to prove the point, You Don’t Know Jack contains reprints of many of Chick’s early cartoons, as well as a large number of photographs of Chick and his family (and his pets!) at various stages of their lives.

from The Poor Little Witch
Daniels paints Chick as a friendly, loving, and even flawless man—this biography is more of a tribute and sometimes veers towards hagiography; but until a more detailed, nuanced account of Chick and his life is produced to say otherwise, there’s no reason to doubt what Daniels writes about his mentor, despite the latter’s often-gross stereotyping of sinners and fallen society found in the tracts. You Don’t Know Jack is ultimately a fascinating insight-lite into one of modern Christianity’s most polarising evangelists.


  1. Bravo for helping to legitimize an anti-Catholic bigot.
    Can you recommend any good biographies of those who fought the good fight against niggers, spics, and/or kykes?
    You're an asshole.

    1. Well, thanks for your reasoned comment, Mark.