Chester thought he didn’t need God. But when the ship began to sink, he learned how wrong he was.
No he doesn’t. Chester never realizes that he needed God until after he croaked. False advertising, Jack.
J: Jack Chick? Bending the truth? Never!
J: You can probably already tell from the title, but this week is a Guest Dissection submitted by reader DaAICh. As always, my text blocks will be prefaced with J:.
It wasn’t an iceberg that sank the Titanic, it was a bunch of ice cubes that were thrown overboard.
J: The confusing whirlwind of speech bubbles looks more like some kind of multi-threaded flowchart for customer service representatives working a “baffle seniles” hotline. I had to read this thing, like, three times before I could figure out what order they were supposed to be in.
What the hell is wrong with the dock? It just fades away into the distance… I’m not sure where the dock ends and where the water begins. Titanic is totally proportioned incorrectly. This has got to one of the worst backgrounds Chick has ever done.
J: It almost looks like that immense, basically endless crowd of people is actually carrying the boat.
J: This is actually one with Fred Carter’s artwork, by the way. He’s better in some ways, but even more horrible in others. At times, his artwork is closer to reality, but in some weird, creepy, wooden way that makes it all seem even stiffer and less real than Jack’s work.
“Oh, Chester.” It should be, “Oh, Chester!” The way Chick has that period there makes it sound as though she’s talking like a robot, and by the way she looks in the right panel, I wouldn’t be too surprised. Has she been drugged?
J: They ALL look pretty fucked up, to be honest. Check out Chester, for instance: “Let me just awkwardly scratch my jaw like some kind of cat, since I apparently have a weird musculature condition in my forearm that prevents me from turning my palm inward.”
With the right panel, I don’t get it. It’s like a non-sequitur. The conversation on the right panel should have directly followed the “Oh, where’s Aunt Sophie? Didn’t she come?” Instead we get three lines of meaningless dialog until we pick up the subject again. Continuity is your friend Chick.
J: Indeed. It makes no sense, really. Aunt Sophie didn’t come, for some unspecified reason that nobody really gets into, but hey, here’s this totally unrelated advice about Jesus shoehorned in.
J: And why the weird emphasis on “want”? It totally throws off the focus of the sentence, making it seem like the sentiment of wanting is going to be swapped out with something more preferable. “I don’t want to hear any more — I need to hear any more.”
“Here’s your room, sweetie.” I’m sleeping two doors down. You snore WAY too loudly.
J: Look at these people, it’s like a My Size Barbie is being accosted by a goddamn ventriloquy dummy.
That whole “God Himself could not sink this ship,” thing is a stupid myth anyways. White Star never proclaimed the ship was “unsinkable.” Only the newspapers ever said that the ship was “practically unsinkable,” because of the sheer size of the ship and the new safety features the Titanic had. Fat lot of good it did them though.
J: If only they’d have, y’know, known how water works when designing the compartmentalized hull. “Eh, no point building the walls up the whole way. The water level doesn’t rise relatively through something that’s sinking or anything.”
J: Yeah, the whole “GOD HIMSELF” thing is pretty lame, but that’s Chick for ya.
Huzzah for prophetic visions!
Okay, in the first two panels, Chester looks like he’s in his thirties, then in the left panel he looks as though he’s in his twenties, and now in the right panel he’s a teenager. Again, Continuity is your friend Chick.
J: HA! HA! HA! I guess “HAW HAW HAW” is reserved only for the most dastardly of villains in the Chickverse.
…And now he’s in his forties.
J: I just figured it out — it’s Yancy Talbot! (Cookie for anyone who gets that reference.)
When was the last time you actually heard a kiss make a smacking sound? And when did money come in liquid form?
J: I’m thinking that she’s actually hitting him somewhere outside the panel, and the “SMACK” is the accompanying Batman Action. Or, considering Jack usually reserves those spiky outlines for his depictions of his creepy, faceless God, maybe that’s a “Godsmack”.
J: I actually misread all of this the first time and thought she said “Is monkey all you can think of, Chester?”
I’m not sure why Chester wants money so badly. Judging from the background, he’s in a first class stateroom, which means he already has buttloads of cash. Historical accuracy? Never heard of it!
J: Yeah, it’s odd for someone who can afford two of the most high-class rooms on a luxury ship to be all “hoo boo, I have no monies, better kiss some upper-class ass!”
J: Take away the sunglasses, and the guy in the chair on the left looks a little like a shrunken-down M. Bison.
I don’t get it. That fat guy has two different speech bubbles, even though both of those speech bubbles come BEFORE Chester’s. Perhaps the chair is offering dinner to Chester? In the Chick-universe, anything is possible.
J: Clearly, Fred Carter felt it was imperative we see the tiny sliver of wall paneling that’s revealed by not having one larger, more continuous speech bubble. This is very important, and I’m sure that particular portion of wall is going to factor into the plot later on.
If dear old Aunt Sophie had the time to put something in this guy’s suitcase, then why couldn’t she have told him in person? I really can’t say much about Aunt Sophie other than the fact she is one of those Christians who will keep bugging you about converting until you finally give in, or ignore them.
J: You know, this guy’s definitely an enormous prick and all, but I’d be pretty pissed too if someone went rummaging around in my luggage replacing my neckties with unsolicited messages about Jesus. “Oh, yeah, thanks for the blessings, Aunt Sophie. I can totally clothe myself in them.”
Those are some amazing shadows on those walls.
J: I think it’s just that he released Death, or some kind of creeping darkness phantom from his suitcase. Maybe Aunt Sophie packed that in there for him as well. Y’know, in place of his underwear. (I’m beginning to think it’s about time we put Aunt Sophie in a home.)
BBLLARRRAGGGHHH!!! Massive Coronary! @!!!**!
J: “Goddammit, WHY WON’T MY TEETH MERGE TOGETHER INTO ONE SOLID BRICK?”
J: Someone has “Aunt Sophie Issues”, if you know what I mean.
J: “This week on ‘That Old Hen’…”
I’m more interested in WHY Chester hates Jesus so much. I mean, everyone who isn’t fundamentalist Christian in a Chick Tract hates Jesus, I really want to WHY they hate him so much. But it probably is just to make the reader sympathize with the good little Christians. Blarg.
J: You really expect convincing, realistic character development in a Chick Tract? HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING?
J: You’re right, though: Every non-Christian is either totally oblivious about everything or else filled to overflowing with an irrational and complete hatred for all things Jesus. It’s pretty terrible storytelling.
I didn’t know the sky had such a wonderful thatch pattern to it.
J: Enormous blades of grass rising up from the horizon. You know, Jack and Fred, if you’re using illustrated narrative, you don’t have to make your special effects look like they were small-scale models in a bathtub or a kiddie pool.
….Uh oh. The wireless officer is talking to himself, out loud even.
J: “Thought bubbles? Nah, fuck it, I’ll just use soliloquy.”
J: “What’s this? Why would someone send me Morse Code for the number eight, three equal signs, a capital ‘D’ and two tildes? I don’t underst — heyyyyyy, wait a second!”
J: You know, with only a couple extra lines, you could easily turn that device mounted to the wall back there into one of those really cute cat clocks with the moving eyes and the wagging tail.
J: “And by ‘very influential’, I mean he’ll punch you right in the eye if you don’t do what he says. Er, I mean… I FELL DOWN SOME STAIRS.”
…Why is the old guy at the table already reacting to Fatso’s words? Normally a person would react like that if Fatso said, “Chester, meet Mr…. etc.” I mean, it looks as though he’s saying “hello” but he doesn’t have any speech bubbles, it’s like he’s squinting through the dim lighting of the room to see what the Fatso brought him to mess with that evening.
J: I think he’s just looking up because he’s a bit startled about someone dragging some greasy-haired prick over to his table to gawk over how elderly he is. The next line was probably “who you calling old, motherfucker? Do you want another black eye to match the one I already gave you? Do I need to cut off your other goddamned leg just above the knee, or was the one enough?” but it was cut out in the final edit.
Historical Error: Alright, according to this, while the Gentlemen are having dinner, the icebergs are being reported to the bridge. But remember, his is also the first dinner Chester is having on board. Titanic was docked at Cherbourg at twilight on the first night out. So the Titanic should be docked off the coast of France while this whole panel is taking place… and they’re already getting icebergs? Remember that ‘TWO HOURS LATER’ sign a few panels back? I wonder why it couldn’t have been ‘FOUR DAYS LATER’ or something. Bye-bye historical accuracy!
J: You know, I can’t really think of any other way of interpreting what’s going on in the panel on the right other than that the two men on the right are some kind of two-headed Siamese Twin. Either that, or Captain Beardo doesn’t have a right arm, or basically anything to the right of his sternum. (Mac users zoom in with ctrl+scroll for a closer look.)
J: “Goodnight, son.” “G’night, dad!”
…Wha? Why are the officers wondering that? The Titanic didn’t sink because the officers mistook two different iceberg reports for one iceberg. It sank because it was steaming straight into an ice field, and didn’t really know it at the time.
J: But… but… what if there were two different icebergs!??!?!!?
Good god. Where did his leg go? Where did his leg go?!
J: Behind the speech bubble, presumably?
J: His future’s so bright, he’d better go back and grab those shades off that M. Bison lookalike who was sitting on the deck earlier.
“Thank you so much, sir, for your help.” Wha? Shouldn’t it be: “Thank you so much for your help, sir.” It must be Chick trying to sound old-fashioned or something.
J: Eh, it’s a little clunky to address someone in the middle of a sentiment, but still perfectly acceptable.
J: “I am literally shitting myself right here in the hall, sir, as evidenced by my unnatural and rigid semi-squatting posture.”
J: “Pleasure me, Chester. I MEAN… my chest pleasure. OH GOD, I MEAN… my pleasure, Chester.”
Chester’s Wife has been replaced by a mop.
J: The surprise twist at the end is that she was a mop all along.
Is that a belt on his bed or something? I’m not sure what is really. Could be a line between “her” side of the bed and “his.”
J: Snakes on a Bed. …on a Boat.
You know in the left panel, Chester is proportioned WAY to large compared to his wife. I mean, seriously, either he’s a giant or she’s a midget.
J: Or she’s a mop.
J: “Mmf. Yeah, connections. That’s great, dear. Mm-hmm, money, yeah. Yes, that’s all very nice dear. Yes that’s WILL YOU FUCKING SHUT THE MOTHERCHRIST UP ALREADY YOU SHIT-HEAVING WINDBAG I’VE BEEN TRYING TO SLEEP FOR THE LAST FUCKING HOUR MY GOD GIVE IT A REST.”
J: Must be really cold out for the lookout to be shaking like that. Or maybe that’s just his Spider Sense. Fat lot of good THAT did him.
Actually, the crew ‘port ’rounded it’ by telling the helmsman to turn ‘hard a starboard,’ get it right Jack. Also: First Officer Murdoch told the engines to come a reverse, then to go to full speed.
J: Yeah, it’s like, “Don’t bother trying to slow down to give us more time to turn or maybe reduce the force of impact, men! Let us charge onward to our doom, ever-smiling at the cold, bony face of Death! May we drink happily together in Valhalla, my friends! It is a beautiful night to die!”
“Hoo Hoo Hoo! Waving my arms madly is sure to get the message across to the helmsman! Who isn’t even looking at me! Hoo Hoo Hoo!”
J: Nah, he’s actually airborne. He’s just shouting his last few instructions before increasing the frequency of his arm flapping and taking off to seek help from the fairy kingdom.
That third guy in the left panel must be staring at the white oblivion in the background of every single Chick Tract.
J: The guy at the wheel is apparently named “CLANG CLANG”, if his goofy, enormous name tags are any indication.
“Did we clear it?” What, he can’t notice the MASSIVE mountain of ice that’s 300 feet tall? In reality though, the iceberg was a mere 60 feet high. Historical Inaccuracy Number 4!
Historical Inaccuracy Number 5: The iceberg did not ‘rip’ the Titanic open. It bent the plating, which caused the rivets to pop out, allowing a hole for water to come in.
J: FACT: The sound of a thick metal hull being torn open by ice is “RRRIPPP”, as though you’d torn a giant origami crane in half.
J: I like that the damage here appears to have been done very clearly above where the ship meets the water, and from the looks of it on the opposite side of the ship that the iceberg was on in earlier panels.
I’m wondering why all of the ceilings on the Titanic are so dang tall. And also: The Captain was in his room when the iceberg struck, so why are there six people in the background…?
J: The way they’re all frightfully huddled together like that, I’d say he was keeping them all hostage, forcing them to amuse him at gunpoint. “How DARE they interrupt my masturbation ritual!? YOU — get back to juggling rotten pears. And YOU, who said you could stop delicately stroking that bowling pin? I’m going to go check on what’s going on. You had all better keep stomping your feet in the litterbox and making duck noises until I get back. Remember, there’s only so far you can run on a boat, and a bullet can run there faster.”
“That was close.” How would you know what had happened Captain? You weren’t there! Hurray for continuity!
J: “That was close.” “Oh yeah? How the fuck would YOU know? You were locked up in your quarters forcing random passengers to perform Death of a Salesman while covered in mayonnaise and stomping in cat litter again.”
Even the night sky has a thatch pattern on it.
Why in God’s name would the Captain turn OFF the pumps? The pumps were the only thing keeping boiler room 5 from flooding during the first hour of the sinking! Historical Inaccuracy Number 6!
J: “Meh, tell the engineers to just let the ship sink. I’m a huge FAILURE, we might as well all just DIE.”
J: “No, sir, it’s ripped us like a tin of nuts.” “Well, tell the… Wait a second, ‘a tin of nuts’?” “Yeah. You know, those cans that nuts come in.” “I wasn’t aware that you ripped them open. It seems like it would be a particularly difficult task. I would think one would use some kind of can opener or something.” “Well, admittedly, it was a bit of a forced analogy.” “Right, but it’s… actually, come to think of it, all the nuts I’ve ever purchased have come in either sacks or jars. What the hell were you even talking about?”
Again with the thatch pattern. I know it looks cool Jack, but I would like to see actual backgrounds.
J: But who needs backgrounds when you have gradients and pixelated filters you can apply?
In the right panel, who is Captain Smith talking to? I’m assuming he’s still in the wireless room, so is telling the other wireless operator (Harold Bride) to tell the crew to head to their stations? I’m assuming so, because he was the only other person in that room at the time.
J: I think he’s talking to Death, actually. It looks like it’s the same shadow that slipped out of Chester’s suitcase, earlier.
J: “I don’t know if this is going to help any, but tell them all I said ‘ho ho ho’.”
…And his hand shook violently for a second before exploding.
J: “Guys, open up! I’ve got all these really cool firecrackers I want to show you, and…” *BANG BANG BANG* “GYAHH! …Never mind. Can you guys just call a doctor, then? Guys?”
I didn’t know shadows were so material. You can’t see the door from behind that incredibly thick shadow of this steward’s hand.
He’s panicked in the first panel, yelling his head of and banging like crazy on the door, and then when they finally open the door, he’s calm.
J: “Is this a joke?” “Haaah, yeah, you got me! Guilty as charged. Yeah, sorry, we all thought it would be hilarious, and if you could’ve seen the looks on your faces, I mean… well, we took pictures, they’ll be up on the website probably tomorrow sometime. G’night!”
“Captain, are you Santa Claus?”
J: Is it just me, or does Chester look like he’s some kind of mashed potato statue here?
Where exactly are those stairs going to in the right panel? They go up past the next deck into… somewhere. Must be the “Stairway to Heaven.”
J: I think it’s so that people can run up and fall down into the life boats so they don’t have to deal with that pesky, lower-class task of stepping over something to get into something else. You know how rich people are. Pfft.
The Captain says that the men will have to wait for another ship, because the women and children will be getting into the boats, and then Chester realizes he won’t be getting on a boat. Chester apparently isn’t very fast on the uptake.
J: Maybe he just had to see it to believe it. Considering the huge boner he has for money, maybe concepts can only be made clear to him if they’re expressed explicitly in number form.
“Is it serious?” What, didn’t you just talk to the Captain and didn’t he tell you that the ship was going to sink? I’m pretty sure he told you that, so why are you asking? “Oh, the ship’s sinking. It’s not serious, is it?” He must have a serious case of memory loss.
J: “So… you’re telling me that the ship is sinking… and that there aren’t enough lifeboats for everyone… and then I looked at the lifeboats and realized that there weren’t enough lifeboats… and then there are all these people here getting into life boats. But… is it serious? Can you tell me?”
“I’m afraid we’ll be eating sand for breakfast.” When I was a lad, the mean boys ’round the bend pushed me into the ground and made me eat dirt. And you know what? It tasted like shit.
J: This man is surprisingly optimistic about how quickly human bodies will sink to the floor of the ocean.
J: The man with the megaphone is all, “Who’s in a bunker? Who’s in a bunker? Women and children first, and the children first, and the children. We’re not scaremongering, this is really happening. Happening. We’re not scaremongering. Take the money, run. Women and children first, and the children first. Here I’m allowed everything, all of the time.”
Hey, if the ship is flooding the boiler rooms then how come we have all this smoke coming out of the funnels? In addition, where is that light coming from that’s lighting up the whole horizon?
J: “Whee!” *boom* *boom* “Fireworks!” *boom* “Yaaaay!”
J: You know, it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s going on in the second panel if you can’t zoom in on it. Goddamn it.
“LOWER AWAY” There’s a little something I would love to introduce Chick to, it’s called punctuation. Plus, why is he saying “lower away” when the boat is already almost at the water?
J: Maybe he’s trying to move the boat with sheer will by screaming instructions at it over and over again.
See the band there in the right panel? They are probably the only thing in the entire tract that Chick even bothered to do any research for. If you look at a picture of the Titanic’s band, you will see that the lead player looks just like that guy. The fact that Chick actually did research impresses me, I just wish he spent more than five minutes on it.
J: “I think it would be better if you played some music.” “What, like, Motorhead?” “Uh, I was thinking something a little more… appropriate.” “Don’t Fear the Reaper?” “Uhh, maybe not something so… dire.” “How about Andrew W.K.’s ‘Ready to Die’?” “No.” “I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight?” “Not a chance.” “In the Air Tonight?” “Oh, come on, you’re not even trying now.” “Fat-Bottom Girls?” “What? No. Good Lord, no.” “Karma Police?” “Fine. FINE. Just… FINE, play that, I don’t care anymore.”
J: “No! It’s not fair! There was time now! I had all the time I needed. It’s not fair! It’s not fair!”
In the left panel, Chester is inside. But then on the right, he’s standing on the very stern of the ship. Chester can teleport! How cool! We’ve also gone from a crowd of singing men to just a handful of men on the stern.
J: Well, of course. They’re all falling off the end of the boat, hilariously clunking their heads against the propellers. (Don’t tell me I’m the only person who laughed at that part of the movie. Though, I was certainly the only person in the theater who did.)
J: Chester looks like he’s about fifty now, by the way. I know we haven’t been keeping track, but the last few panels have not been kind to him.
J: “Just when I had it made! I mean, I was just traveling in one of the most expensive rooms on one of the most expensive ships, and I could afford it, and I was able to hang around with extraordinarily wealthy people without them looking at me like I was some shit-stained peasant, but now I REALLY had it made: I almost had somewhat more money than I already had!”
I can just hear Celine Dion singing during these panels.
J: They make a pill for that now, I’ve heard.
Dawn must be acommin’
J: Hey, check it out, Mary Poppins was on board.
They must have been nuclear-powered boilers.. Jeez.
J: “KABLOOM” gives me the impression that they violently blossomed.
Finally she shows some emotion.
I don’t get it. If Chester’s Wife (We still don’t know her name) believed in God. Why did she even marry Chester in the first place, who hated God? Is that her stretching in the lifeboat there, too? If I were her, I wouldn’t have had my arms so far away from my body, it was 28 degrees outside. A little to cold to “reach for the stars.”
J: It was just a really engrossing yawn. And let me tell you, reading this Tract I really feel where she’s coming from.
And now it’s pitch black. The weather in this tract makes no sense. Whatsoever. Skies with thatch patterns… the night sky lighting up for no apparent reason then darkening again… and now we have the Titanic backlit by some weird aurora thing.
J: Don’t forget when it turned into the solid white void common in the Chickverse. Who knows, man.
J: After the ship sank, the Giant Black Bunny came in its Pyramid of White Dust to devour the souls of all who died. It was visible on the horizon for miles, and we could hear its munching noises long into the morning.
J: Chester must now go before the Great White Throne to face Christ’s judgment. But first, he has an appointment with the Great White Shark.
In the background there, it looks as though we’ve got a tiny human or a really large box. His head is inside the box, which can easily fit ten men inside. This must have been how they transported the third class back in the day…
J: I’d like to think it’s just a really tiny man and a really tiny box, or else a really enormous Chester.
What is up with the left part of the panel. It’s like a staticky television screen making that annoying buzzing noise.
J: It’s the end of the ocean, and the water’s just kinda sloshing out. Turns out the world really IS flat after all.
Why are none of these men wearing life jackets? They were a couple of panels ago. And: Why is there air coming out of their mouths? They should have floated around for awhile while they froze to death.
J: You’re expecting a man (or, rather, men, considering Fred did the artwork for this one) who believe the crazy shit they do and who wholly reject science to actually have any understanding of human biology and physiology? Tsk tsk.
Hey, nice sumo-position there Chester!
J: “Hey, God, you mind if I stand with my legs spread out all wide like this? ‘Cause, see, I’ve been soaking in the ocean for a while wearing those same clothes the whole time, and, uh, I really… I really just need to let my balls air out. Is that okay with you?”
That angel with the book looks like he’s desperate to be in the tract. “Must… crane neck… to appear… in Chick Tract… *breaks neck* Ow.”
J: Yeah, he’s swiveled to, like, 110 degrees from front or something. Pretty impressive.
God’s robes look as though they’ve been photoshopped to look as though they’ve been chromed.
I’ve noticed Heaven works like the DMV in these Tracts. “I’m sorry, but you still need to pay your fine, NEXT!”
J: Hey, awesome, Revelations! A dude who was probably hopped up on a bunch of drugs saw a bunch of really wild shit and then wrote it down! Ooh, I know — LET’S BASE A RELIGION ON IT! HURR!
J: Well, I don’t know about you, but my heart will go on. Nearer my God to thee, indeed.
J: This was one of the rarer ones in that it doesn’t have a 3:16 anywhere in it. Usually Jack tries to shoehorn that in one way or another, but in a very small number of Tracts, it’s mysteriously absent.
J: Sorry for the immense delay between recent Dissections. I’m still working on that novel. The good news, though, is that I’ve made a pretty substantial amount of progress, and I’ll probably release the first few chapters or first thirty pages or whatever on the website here within the next couple weeks.
J: Until next time, tell your friends. And your mom. Especially your mom.