Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Beast

Jack Chick loves to recycle his previous material, especially when it comes to the End Times. The Beast was published, according to the copyright notice, back in 1988, which very nearly makes it the tract that begat all of Chick's end-times stuff (including the hilarious Here He Comes! in 2003 and the stupid and offensive Where Did They Go? in 2007).

Very nearly, but not quite; there's The Only Hope, which predates The Beast by three years. I don’t have that one, though, so let’s stick with The Beast.

It starts with two pages depicting the Noah apocalypse, a time when “everything was totally evil” because mankind “had become so rotten.” Jack compares that epoch with today’s world(or, rather, what he thought today’s world was back in 1988), and declares that “today’s conditions are the same as it was in the days of Noah.” No, he’s not predicting bad weather. Jack uses another two pages to depict “life as it is today,” and sets both images in a bar. There’s a knife fight going on, a bunch of men groping women and talking adultery, there’s a gay couple in the corner, and the waitresses appear to be topless.

Wait! There’s more – a guy shouts about “an old nut” preaching outside, and suggests they all “go give him the business. Haw! Haw! Haw!” There is simply no other way for a person to laugh in a Chick tract.

Oh, and people praise Lucifer’s name, too. The way we all do in today’s world. Back in 1988.

So, we’ve seen Noah’s world (inclement, with a chance of Ark), and we’ve seen Jack’s paranoid delusion of the late eighties. What’s all this got to do with the Beast? Jack’s getting to that; be patient. First there are two pages depicting the Rapture, because one image of Christians flying up to Heaven just wouldn’t be enough. The Four Horsemen start riding, and the Beast finally takes centre stage.

The Beast is “a leader that the world will love,” and is also “Satan’s masterpiece.” He “stabilizes the world economy and pulls the religions of the world together.” Then he uses computers to “control every person on the globe” with his infamous 666 mark. That’s one busy beast!

The world continues its decline, becoming “one gigantic witches’ coven.” The people “will not repent,” so “God pours out his wrath on an unbelieving and rebellious world.” On one page Jack depicts this wrath, which includes the poisoning of water, a third of the sea turning to blood, men being “scorched with great heat,” and swarms of unconvincing bugs with crowns on their heads and nice hairdos.

Like I said, all that stuff takes up only one page. The Rapture, two pages. Not sure what to make of that. Plus, out of 22 panels, the Beast (or his name) only appears in four.

The Beast continues to screw around and the people still won’t repent, so God decides it is time to put his holy foot down. He interrupts the Battle of Armageddon and wipes everyone out, then He throws all the sinners into Hell a thousand years later. Why a thousand years later? It’s a Bible thing.

So there’s Jack Chick’s second (I think) End Time tract. Not a lot in there to convince a secular audience of its validity; The Beast seems to be targeted at the Saved. As Chick tracts go, this one isn’t bad; the art is nice, as always, and the paranoia is good for a laugh. It’s not as good as Flight 144, but tract enthusiasts like me could do a lot worse.

The Beast
Likely to Convert - 2
Artwork - 9
Ability to Hold Interest - 8
Unintentional Hilarity - 8
Level of Disturbing or Offensive Content - 4

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