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That Chick is Crazy

That Chick is Crazy published on No Comments on That Chick is Crazy

Hey there and welcome to the community. I have a lot I want to say in the upcoming year about so many artists and there are so many that I want to hear from. There are a lot of things that happened in 2016 that made it feel like the end of an era. The very last VHS recorder was manufactured. The Cubs won the world series, which is earth shattering and I believe to be a sign of the apocalypse. Jack Chick died. This is probably less monumental to a lot of people who are too young to remember who he was or too old to have grown up with him.

Once upon a time, there was a thing called the Satanic Panic and Jack Chick was it’s daddy (sort of- he was at the very least a weird uncle). I was in high school, taking a class they called Freshman Orientation. We were informed about the PMRC who made sure our parents knew when we were listening to songs about naughty bits. We watched Mazes and Monsters, that lost Tom Hanks classic that was a true story but not really that told us all about how Dungeons and Dragons would make us kill ourselves for Satan (and led to my first game sessions of D&D because no one tells me I can’t kill myself for the devil) and how if we ever had sex we would get pregnant. AND get AIDS. AND die. AND have 8 more kids.

Back in those bad old days, pre-internet, you couldn’t post your opinions to random people on Facebook. You had to put some real legwork into letting people know you LOL or sadface, and that’s where Jack Chick came in. As a reclusive man born in the 40s, not a lot is known about him. Later life pictures don’t exist. Some people thought he was probably a pen name. But the Chick Tracts were all you needed to know about this man or the movement he represented.

But that is some exemplary line work.

Those of you of a certain age remember these, I’m sure. They’d be tucked under windshields of cars. Into mailboxes and phone booths (phone booths were once a thing where people could call other people when they were outside their homes or superheroes could undertake transformational necessities) or you’d get them shoved in your face if you went to That Kid’s house to play after school. The artwork wasn’t bad and since they were designed for hooking kids into Jesus young, they did their work decently enough. What kid doesn’t love a comic book?

I was fortunate enough to grow up with real comic books because I didn’t live with Ned Flanders. I had Jim Starlin and Stan Lee, so I didn’t need Jack Chick. Let’s leave the theological implications of Warlock and the Silver Surfer out of things and just say there was no religion in my comics, for ease of use m’kay? Having been raised by readers meant that in the third grade I knew a hustle when I saw one. But still… free pictures to look at.

This was from the most popular Chick Tract “This Was Your Life”, one of the many ways in which the theocratic establishment was trying to scare the hell out of us from birth onward. Don’t get me wrong. Jack Chick didn’t get a whole lot of love from mainstream religions. Or fringe religions. Or televised religions.

I can’t imagine why.

That’s some nice clean lines there. Solid inking. Strong composition. There have been about a half a billion of these in circulation since Chick started publishing. You can still buy Chick tracts to this day. I’m not sure where they are anymore. They’re certainly not as ubiquitous as they once were. I haven’t seen one in this century. I know in the smallish town where I grew up it was the only contemporary art some of the people I grew up with saw.

I just wanted to share a slice of life from when America was great with everyone. In my parents day they were taught to duck and cover. My generation was told not to bother because God was on our side anyways. Someone might tell you something awful about yourself in the upcoming year.

Yes, this kiddie comic wants the young’ns not to be whoremongers.

They might even say it with as much talent and/or insight as Jack Chick. But we can recognize the talent without embracing the message. Maybe incorporate those tactics for ourselves. In the meantime, good luck to all in the Satanic Panic Pt. 2.

P.S. Anyone else remember the Chick Tracts? Have a good story? Sound off and lay it on me. Testify!

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We Could be Heroes…

We Could be Heroes… published on No Comments on We Could be Heroes…

A few years back Utah was determined to be the nerdiest state in America based on Facebook posts and their contents. I live approximately a 4 minute walk from ground zero of the Salt Lake Comic-con and I’ll testify. Not like at the big churchy building across the street, where I’m not allowed to do that. Anyways, off-topic. I’m rambling.

My point is everywhere else I have visited or lived I am considered a hardcore nerd. I know many people here who believe the same thing. But those are people who don’t know the other people I know here. The real nerds. The ones who argued when the list came out that the nerd criteria and method of data gathering lacked empirical validity. The ones who model what commitment, enthusiasm, creativity and camaraderie can accomplish. And the alphas of those nerds are the cosplayers. The hundreds of hours that go into a costume are truly mind boggling. Not to mention the positive self image. I can’t even get away from using facebook avatars that look like this:

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So I will never understand those that laugh at these grownups playing dress up. They must not be not aware of groups like Heroic, who perform good deeds for charity and delight children and adults throughout Utah as the walking avatars of beloved fictional characters. Or the Mandalorian Mercs– an international group of Star Wars cosplayers who perform charity for underprivileged families while counterintuitively dressing as bounty hunters. (Side note- this is where I display my casual rather than deeply embedded nerddom by admitting that I don’t know if all Mandalorians are bounty hunters or if I’m racially profiling. If this is the case, I apologize for my insensitivity #notallmandalorians)

I’m not sure if it was evident before, so let me state explicitly that I do in fact have a point. Back during SLC Nerd in 2013 someone took a truly epic pic of Batman of Heroic riding off with a Mandalorian from the Krayt clan. It was a great pic, but the background was asphalt. Boring asphalt. So I made it into this: 554598_310070115727188_1569278052_nIt just felt better. I’d like to do it again. If this is the sort of thing you’d like to see more of, I’d like to invite all of our cosplay heroes to send me anything you have that you just know could be epic with a push. I can’t promise to get to everything, but once or twice a week at least I’d like to share these inspirational moments. And a big shout out to our heroes above for their kind permission in letting me put this out there.

 

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Mensch

Mensch published on No Comments on Mensch

There’s a wonderful word among our Jewish friends that refers to someone that would give you the shirt off their back. Or drive you to an abyss even if it was way out of their way. That person is a mensch. It basically means not a saint, but a stand-up kind of guy.

Then there are the ubermensch, brought to us by wacky funster Friedrich Nietzsche (as in Nietzsche is Peachy! – little known slogan for his overlooked run for Kiwanis Treasurer in 1892). An ubermensch is beyond human, above human- “better than you” is the shorthand.

abyss

Whether Nietzsche intended it or not, the Ubermensch concept was seized upon by white supremacists and eugenics advocates. Some pretty awful things were based upon this concept in the 1930s. That’s right, I’m talking about Action Comics and that Superman guy. I think there was some other stuff too, but the specifics evade me at the moment.

We’ve come to expect a high degree of invulnerability and strength from our leaders that’s not to be found among real people. But if you actually run across someone that has those qualities to the degree of which we demand, is superdickery.com not the inevitable result? To be better than human is to be inhuman. I can’t speak for all of you, but I can use all the empathy I can get.

I feel this to be a particularly timely message especially to my American friends as we have an election coming up soon. You may have heard something about it in the news. Now I’m not saying either ticket or party represents this:

dr-seuss-how-the-grinch-stole-christmas

But I do believe there is a ticket that represents this:

ticket

I’m begging you, my fellow humanists, let’s not let 2016 be the Rise of the Supermen. Let’s make this the Year of the Mensch.

Civilly yours,

Martin

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Rethinking the Obvious (Or Uatu Barada Nikto!)

Rethinking the Obvious (Or Uatu Barada Nikto!) published on No Comments on Rethinking the Obvious (Or Uatu Barada Nikto!)

In the Marvel Universe there’s a character known as the Watcher. It’s his job to y’know… watch things. Think of him as a peeping Tom with the entire solar system as the bathroom (I know there are plenty of other ways in which you can envision reality as a toilet, but let’s not depress ourselves).

The Watcher is someone who is, above all else, supposed to watch and not get involved. See, he has this Prime Directive that he can’t interfere with developing cultures. Wait…. that’s Star Trek. I’m always confusing the Watcher with Jean-Luc Picard. But still… you get the gist.

Here’s the thing though, the Watcher is about as faithful to his guiding principle as a Star Fleet officer three days removed from his Kobayashi Maru (boy, these genre mash-ups are fun!), and that has a tendency to get him in a lot of trouble with his people. His problem, as I see it, was that he felt too clever by hiding in plain sight. The Watcher lives on the moon, which even mortal man can get to with rockets, to say nothing of reality bending smarty pants like Dr. Strange.

If the Watcher hid in the Sun instead, all his problems could have been averted. You look at people from the one place they literally can’t look at and you’re safe as long as men have retinas.

Behold

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Now That’s a Large Hadron…

Now That’s a Large Hadron… published on No Comments on Now That’s a Large Hadron…

hadronfinalSome time ago, my good friend Ben- who is a genius and my biggest fan that’s not my mom (hi Ben!) had an idea that I still feel was eons ahead of it’s time: The Large Hadron Collider Joke Facebook page. I was lucky enough to be a part of that and it sparked my interest in the large hadron collider in Geneva.

Before anyone calls out my ignorance, I do know that the collider is what’s large and that the hadrons are in fact subatomic. But that’s what makes a joke a joke. The idea of Godzilla Higgs-Boson eating Switzerland and then the world cracks me up.

Why do I bring this up now? Because the big news this week is that our friendly neighbors to the North (unless you’re in Alaska, in which case it’s the friendly neighbors to the South…. Oh and Hawaii I guess makes them…. You know what? Let’s call them Canadians) have a theory that there are alternate two dimensional universes lying one on top of another and microscopically separated. These theoretical universes are known as branes (or in zombie universe: BRRAAAANNNESSSSSS!!!!) and it’s possible that Black Holes may be doorways to these dimensions.

This is big news to us for two reasons. One, because it means that DISNEY WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG and we can finally bring Hans Reinhardt home.  Second, we may in fact be Universe 616.

This leads me to one inescapable conclusion: The Large Hadron Collider is going to be used to prove that God is, in fact, the disembodied frozen head of Walt Disney, running the omniverse from an underground bunker deep in the hills of Anaheim. God has one prophet, and Stan Lee is his name. There’s a reason why Disney acquired Marvel on it’s way to acquiring everything else. (Side theory:Michael Eisner is Galactus -think about it).  All the public figures that are making our lives so… huh? are in fact animatronic next gen Disney cyborgs that are paving the way for us to want to move a universe over.

 

… I am of course open to alternate theories.

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