If you didn’t grow up in the independent, fundamental, bible-believin, bible-preachin, buckle of the bible belt, Baptist, Texas church then you probably don’t know about Chick Tracts.
Ahh, Chick Tracts. Those little black and white booklets that tell Christian morality tales and lessons through comics. They did more, I believe, to scar kids for life than turn lost people to Christ.
They’re shaped small and compact like this for easy storage in pants pockets and are meant to be handed out to strangers either coming out of malls or amusement parks. My church handed them out like candy to all the kids. In fact, my mom passed them out to Trick or Treaters instead of candy. (Yeah, we were that house).
But, I mean, c’mon! How could a sheltered little boy not read this?!
I loved comics so of course I read every Chick Tract I could get my little hands on. For Christian literature it was pretty graphic which just added to the appeal for an adolescent boy. A lot of the scenes were straight-up rated R content, but I guess so is a lot of the Bible.
For better or worse, Chick Tracts created my first context of God and Heaven and Hell. To this day I can’t help but imagine Hell and God through these little drawings. They’ve been burned into my brain which I guess was the idea.
These comics accomplished their goal by literally scaring the Hell out of me. After reading these booklets and believing the Bible to be true I quickly asked that robed, faceless God to save me from those black and white flames and horned devils.
While I don’t believe in the turn-or-burn approach to evangelism, I do believe that my acceptance of the faith was genuine—because I believe Heaven and Hell are genuine.
These little comics left a huge impression on me. I still snag them whenever I come across one. I found them on campus in college and tucked inside books at the book store. They’re a form of nostalgia for me, harkening back to a weird element of an otherwise straight-laced childhood.
Anyway, God bless.