Chick Dissection | Dark Dungeons Revisited (Epic Tag-Team Gary Gygax Died For Your Sins Edition)

I’ve been meaning to revisit some of the earlier Dissections, since I did them long before I got much of a feel for them, and it seems like there are a few things missing from them. So in light of Gary Gygax’s recent demise, I figured we’d pay a kind of tribute by going back and taking a look at the subject of the very first Dissection: Dark Dungeons.

[nepphie] That’s us, honoring the creator of one of the greatest games ever by re-trashing a tract that completely misrepresents said game.

Since nepphie has done all the work of tagging all of his lines with [nepphie], we’re going to ditch the usual convention. My lines will be the unprefixed ones.


[nepphie] Weirdly enough, this cover looks a lot like the old Adventure module covers from the late seventies and early eighties. In fact, I’m gonna gank it and use it as a cover for one of my modules, and see if my group notices.

Interior decorating tip: Hang enormous cauldrons with plants in them at face level for an effect that’s sure to please (and bruise) the eye!

[nepphie] I’m curious about that weird bendy statue thing beside her. What is that? Sex toy? Statue of Nyarlathotep? I don’t remember my GM ever having a stroke-inator 2000 hanging out beside his elbow during a game.

I do. All too well… all too well.

Well, looks like he drew in the Mountain Dew, but he forgot to include the Cheetos. I’m beginning to suspect that Jack Chick may not be very familiar with Dungeons and Dragons at ALL!

[nepphie] Now now, for this to be a proper discussion of a Chick tract, you have to emphasize totally random words, not coherent lines of thought. Bad.

[nepphie] As for not being familiar with DnD, he definitely got the boobs to balls ratio wrong at this table. And I’ve never gamed under a female GM. Almost did yesterday, but I refused specifically so I could make this outrageous and irrelevant claim today. Don’t say I never did anything for you people.

Yeah, you’d be lucky to find three women at a Dungeons and Dragons convention. Or, sorry, you’d be lucky to find three women at a Dungeons and Dragons convention.

[nepphie] You make my brain cry.

This house is situated on the edge of forever. Either that, or someone painted the outsides of their windows white. Maybe that’s supposed to be interior decorating tip #2.

[nepphie] Continuity pointer, the DM refers to the spellcaster as ‘wizard’. Just keep it in mind. Also, heh, does this mean she’s into “Light bondage”?

Though, it actually says “blinds” not “binds”, but I could’ve sworn it did as well until I zoomed in.

I’m going to start using “Okay, Dungeon Master” in a really sarcastic tone whenever I’m told I can/should do something.

[nepphie] Protip – Rule Zero (the DM can do whatever (s)he wants). This however is the most hilariously extreme reaction I have ever seen. Did this crazy DM lady convince these people that this is the only copy of the game out there? That no other groups exist? Really now! I’ve never been exiled from a group for dying, in fact I have a reputation for some of the best death scenes ever. What the hell is going wrong with Marcie (and who would name their kid that anyway)?

Huge Charles Schulz fan? This whole scene is kind of hilarious, really. She must really hate Marcie if she suddenly throws in this unavoidable trap with no chance of redemption, banishing her from the game forever. “Don’t even bother creating another character or anything, Marcie, you’re fucking DONE.”

So, here’s a question: If Debbie gets real wizard powers later on, does Marcie somehow suddenly have lock-picking skills and stuff after playing a thief?

[nepphie] “My mind-waves do nothing! nooo!”

If her Spider Sense was so obviously tingling, then she shouldn’t have missed that fucking trap. Really, it’s her own fault.

I’d like to think she keeps that panicked pose like that and just vibrates her way across the floor and out the door.

I suspect that Jack is trying to go for some kind of “D&D makes people feel like you don’t exist anymore after you die” thing, but if fantasy gaming and literature has taught anyone anything, it’s that you can die basically infinite times in these universes and still be brought back via magic or prayer or gods or prophecies or whatever else.

[nepphie] Yeah. Though maybe resurrection wasn’t in Jack’s copy of the rules.

[nepphie] Continuity pointer part two, whereas before Deb’s character was a wizard, now she’s a cleric. Granted she could have multi-classed, but that’s a) a pretty unfavorable combination back in 1st and 2nd edition (the only editions out when jack wrote this drivel), and b) probably beyond jack’s understanding of the game. Nitpick I know, but I feel petty. Also fat, and possibly sassy.

Somewhere, there’s a rebuttal joke in that about “petting my fat sassy any day” or something, but I can’t quite get the pieces to fit together.

[nepphie] How about sassing my pet fatty? Fat-Bottomed Girls, anyone?

I’ll take a dozen.

So, “You have the personality for it now.”

[nepphie] What, vapid? Schizoid perhaps.

Profoundly stupid? I dunno. Do permanently Cheeto-stained fingertips qualify as a personality trait?

[nepphie] Perhaps it’s the personality that wears acid washed denim all the time.

INTENSE OCCULT TRAINING

That’s like calling Viva Piñata INTENSE GARDENING TRAINING.

And as earlier mentioned, do the other classes receive training in their own respective proficiencies as well, or…? Because why be anything but some kind of wizard type?

[nepphie] because every guy secretly plays a fighter while imagining Conan (Barbarian, not Destroyer). I know I chuck my D20s with the hopes of being able to ride about hyborean lands delivering unjustified violence to innocent and wicked alike.

Fun fact, by the way: People do not, as some may think, play games for entertainment purposes. It’s all about receiving INTENSE TRAINING in whatever subject the game is about. I, for one, now know how to overtake and run a hood, thanks to Saints Row. I feel as though I would fit right in with an inner-city gang community.

[nepphie] I know I’m working on finishing up my “seducing alien temptresses” correspondence course from the Mass Effect school of “we gon’ hit that.”

[nepphie] This panel looks like Jack took a day off from the artwork and had someone else do it for him. Seriously, Deb looks like a videogame sprite. Also, god damn, she just shows up , says she played DnD, and she’s instantly a priestess? Must be hard up for membership, this particular batch of wicca-bes.

This might be a Fred Carter one, but I’m not sure. Even if it is, it looks like even he took a day off.

And hey, can you really blame them for ranking her so highly? She did, after all, receive all that INTENSE OCCULT TRAINING. I managed to get a multi-million-dollar record deal just by telling the studio I’ve played Parappa the Rapper and Guitar Hero.

[nepphie] Really? I told someone that, and all I got was ‘you have no friends, do you?’

[nepphie] Though maybe we have this all wrong. Clearly this isn’t a room, but actually another plane of existence! That she’s there at all proves her worthiness. The Dirac Sea is (this time at least) a place that initiates must survive reaching! Oh wait, the only thing that’s reaching here is my bad joke. Well, I’ll make fun of the bloated witches instead. Seriously, they look like Catholic Friars who’ve hit the buffet a bit too hard.

Well, maybe they’re like a REAL witches’ coven in that they mostly sit around meditating and burning herbs and knitting and talking about books they’ve read and stuff. In which case, I guess Debbie really didn’t need all that much training after all.

Now, let’s switch classes, here, for a second. Let’s see what would’ve happened had the game become “not a fantasy any more” for, say, Marcie the thief. “Last night, I broke into my first car!” Or, “Last night, I robbed my first elderly woman!”

[nepphie] Or the nameless guy who was probably playing a paladin. “I killed my first villain!” “Jeremy, that was the principal.” “Eh, he was shifty anyway.”

[nepphie] Additionally, this little logic trap is probably just Jack looking for the most “big scary” thing he can imagine. “I learned to swing a sword” is college level sports. “I learned to cast black magic” is something an order higher on peoples’ “Oh shi-” meter (I almost wrote meater).

Well, it has to be something that would compete with his equally fantastical worldview. Swinging around a sword isn’t necessarily a threat to the Lord, but black mag… wait a second, isn’t God supposed to be, uh, omnipotent? I guess God is powerless in the face of, y’know, a book about how many hit points a dwarf gets or whatever. Which makes sense, because I recently exiled Buddha to some netherworld plane using the instruction booklet for Crysis.

Anyway, apparently some nerds writing a gaming rulebook a couple decades ago somehow brought forth dark powers from hell or something. Yeah, Gary Gygax, man — that dude was fucking dangerous.

This house almost feels like they hired Doctor Seuss as an interior decorator.

[nepphie] The detail in this panel is very jarring after the non background of the previous one. I know art critique is wasted here, but it just kills me that anyone could be so completely inconsistent from one panel to the next. Every panel up to the witch’s coven was almost lovingly decked out in background, and that one? “meh, I’ll halfass it.” Then bam, right back to it.

If that’s the same houseplant that’s over on the right side of the last panel, they live in a pretty thin house. Though, given the expression on her face, it’s possible the thing is growing out of the side of her head.

[nepphie] Or the white behind it is a column, and the darker areas are back further into the house. And yeah, what is up with this? Does she LIVE with Ms. Frost? Also, totally hot if she’s Emma Frost. I want an X-Woman as my DM.

I want an X-Woman as my dominatrix. Speaking of bondage. Er…

“I used the mind bondage spell on my father! It gave me some kind of facial palsy!”

[nepphie] Continuity glitch again – note Ms. Frost’s repeated flipflopping on Debbiestar’s name. Here it’s Debbie, at the coven it’s Elfstar. You may think this a nitpick, but stick around folks.

[nepphie] “I cast mind bondage on dad, and then he hit me so hard I’m deformed!”

Goddamn. That face. I can’t believe anyone could draw this and think it looked good. It’s like her right eye socket caved in or something. There’s just so much wrong, here.

[nepphie] So much wrong that we’re doing a new panel!

Yeah, having trouble looking at that face without feeling physically pained.

[nepphie] Random reality again. Now that we’re back to the angle of two panels back, the scenery to their right has COMPLETELY changed. So unless they walked into a new room, suspending their conversation until they arrived…

She looks like she’s about to break into “If I Were a Rich Man” or something.

What’s going on with Frost’s head, by the way? “Damn you… spine… curl up over… my… skull… already… grrnnnhhhh!” Either that or she’s trying to swallow her own jaw or something.

[nepphie] If I were a Deep One, maybe. And forget her head, look at her arms. Someone cue Morbo; ARMS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY.

Maybe he’s not even trying for foreshortening. Maybe this is some kind of black magic trick where her arm gets all short and pudgy. Who knows?

[nepphie] I had a members only jacket once. It was pretty rad. I was a dork though, I buttoned the neck clasp thingie.

Man, with powerful magic like this around, it’s pretty amazing that we, y’know, never actually see any of its effects anywhere ever. You’d think if there really were such things as mind bondage spells, we’d have heard maybe, oh, I dunno, at least a single report about it. But maybe there’s some powerful warlock who just sits around all day casting spells to make sure that nobody actually notices all the magic spells going on. Or maybe — and I know I’m really reaching, here — there’s no such thing as black magic?

Of course, admitting that ONE fantastical element that some people believe in is imaginary could lead to them realizing that there are OTHER beliefs that are imaginary. If Satanists really can’t control reality… does that mean prayer doesn’t work either? Can the influence of God still exist if the influence of Satan does not?

[nepphie] You’re talking about a man who wrote the tract “will the yellow race rule the world?” Who then withdrew it. Asking for consistency in his worldview is the first step down the thirteenth ladder to madness.

[nepphie] Speeeaaaking of which, we still have Ms. Frost at Debbistar’s house a week later. I like to imagine, in that ludicrous part of my soul, that she’s been there the entire fucking time.

In that very spot.

Yeah, it is kind of weird. I’ve asked this before, but seriously, who the fuck is this woman? The maid? Their teacher? Her stepmother? Her, I dunno, pet woman or something?

I, too, am fighting the Zombie. (Playing Dead Rising as I write this. Damn, we’ve made a lot of video game references.)

For a while “I’m fighting the Zombie” was my voice mail message, by the way.

[nepphie] I’m making it mine right now.

I changed mine to “Wait a minute… *chew chew chew* …this is COW corn.”

[nepphie] Ms. Frost talks through clenched (or are they frozen?) teeth! Well, at least she got rid of the Cthulhu sex toy from beside her DM screen, possibly at Debbistar’s insistence.

Well, how do you think Debbie is, y’know, ‘fighting the Zombie’?

[nepphie] …let me call FedEx, I need to send you the internet. You know, the one you just won.

[nepphie] Marcie’s mom may not have it goin’ on, but she does look exactly like I imagine the characters from Atlas Shrugged looking like when they give their overdramatic, exposition filled speeches. Loved the book to death, but too many speeches.

Quick, love it a little harder — it’s still alive! It’s still alive! …sorry, couldn’t resist.

[nepphie] Hey, die in a fire. Also, weird tree is weird.

It’s like some twisted, terrible outcropping of hell itself.

Given the mom’s extremely awkward posture, I wonder what her legs are doing. She seems like she’s crippled up from the waist down with some kind of palsy. Or maybe she just got off a horse she’d been riding for six or seven straight days.

[nepphie] “Deb, could you do me a favor and see if my breasts look sideways? Thaaaanks.”

Though I really don’t want to imagine this woman’s breasts, you’ve now got me picturing her with the front of her shirt open, flopping her hang-egg tits back and forth. So, thanks. Thanks for that.

Yeah, man, ever since Mario fell off that asteroid in Galaxy, it’s like part of me fell off an asteroid in Galaxy, too.

[nepphie] I gotta say, if I ever started acting morose and depressed because I lost out in a game (any game!) my parents would smack me upside the head for being a moron. Seriously, Marcie’s mom is either in complete denial about Marcie’s obvious crippling mental illness, or secretly enjoys talking about her daughter’s misery and thus encourages it.

Indeed. It’s a game. Unless she bet substantial amounts of money on it and forfeited it all when she lost, there’s no reason at all for her to become profoundly depressed about it unless she already has some well-rooted mental issues she’s struggling with.

I can’t believe she hasn’t played D&D since one of her characters died during a single campaign. It’s like if you were playing, say, Super Mario Brothers, and after dying the first time, you just set the controller down and ran off bawling to your bedroom. “He DIED. It’s OVER.”

[nepphie] Well you just know Jack was basing this idea off the idiotic stories about steam room games and the kid who supposedly offed himself over DnD. Exploitationism for the win, I suppose.

Next he’ll be writing Tracts about heroin needles in Hardees ball pits and using stories from MySpace chain-mail bulletins straight out of Snopes’s “False” files.

“NOOOOOOOOO” I kind of want to redraw this panel with Darth Vader in the role of Debbie. In fact, I want to do that with this entire Tract.

“No, Marcie! You didn’t have to do that! I mean, we’re all really glad you did and everything because with your profound mental issues, you were a constant burden and a total fucking nightmare to be around, but you didn’t have to. Thanks, though. Saves us the trouble of having to covertly suffocate you in your sleep.”

[nepphie] That’s not Marcie, it’s a vibrating sex doll. O what a wacky misunderstanding! Also, that’s either a low bed or a tall chair, since the chair’s tipped over and still above bed height. Shouldn’t it have fallen down if she’s already dead, anyway? PSYCHIC GOAST CHAIR.

It’s desperately trying to save her, all tilted up on two legs, but it just can’t seem to push her up enough.

That dragon looks less like it’s about to breathe fire and more like it’s soaking her bedsheets with vomit.

[nepphie] But her poster in the background is awesome. Some kind of metal band thing.

I think it’s one of those Meat Loaf album covers that he had back in the 80s, where the dude is all riding a motorcycle made out of skulls and animal parts, getting groped by three or four women, while being chased by lava monsters and dead bats and things.

[nepphie] I get it! She’s not hanging herself, she shoved her head into the light socket!

Hah! Very nice. Kind of puts the “Marcie, you didn’t have to do that” comment into a different perspective. Like, “Marcie, you didn’t have to do that. If you wanted to cast a lightning spell, I could’ve given you the REAL, ULTIMATE POWER.” Or “Marcie, you didn’t have to do that. To illuminate a room, you normally use a light bulb, silly!”

[nepphie] Here’s a little something I noticed:
This image (taken from the old Dark Dungeons dissection)
and the panel above (the current panel up on chick.com)
Point of fact, I think the whole tract as-is was reissued at some point to make the text more readable in certain parts. No real shockers here, just something that seemed funny to me. Where did you get the old tract, Jabber? From the chick site, or a scan?

From his site. Normally, I just save the page and upload the image files from the resources directory. Weird. What’s strange about it is that he didn’t really clarify the text at all, he just made it cursive. I guess maybe someone told him that all teenage girls write in nothing but cursive or something. I think it would be the most hilarious thing in the world if he made that alteration in order to make the panel more “realistic”, considering everyfuckingthing else that’s going on throughout the Tract.

That is one ugly hand, by the way. It looks kind of like an emaciated headcrab.

I’m not sure what’s going on in the background, here, either. Either there are giant translucent vinyl records overlapping, or… I don’t know.

[nepphie] It’s just one of the scene-switch interludes from That 70’s Show. And yeah, the hand isn’t just ugly, I think the thumb is somehow mutated. Some kind of bone disease going on there maybe.

Perhaps it’s some kind of subtle hidden message from Jack, like “if you do magic, you’ll get ugly hands! Ugly hands!” Then again, subtlety isn’t exactly Jack’s strongest writing/drawing skill.

Pfft. “Spiritual growth through the game.” Yeah, when I played Final Fantasy VII, I was totally in tune with the Lifestream. Everything fantastical is spiritual! That’s a FACT.

[nepphie] I dunno, I’ve become a much more patient person through playing with some of the groups I’ve had to put up with…anyway, the sense of time in this tract is odd. Was Debbiestar taken to the coven right away after the game? How long does ‘Later that week’ mean? And how long after Marcie bites it does Debbie go whining to Ms. Frost (you’re a cold hard bitch…)? The random clothing changes on Debbie don’t really help either.

Maybe it’s all happening on the same day. Who knows? If she’s getting magical powers from a roleplaying game, anything’s possible.

“Ms. Frost, I can’t get Marcie out of my mind, no matter how many chunks I claw out of my scalp.”

[nepphie] Another epic Megadeth metal poster in the background there. Kind of distracted from it by the what the fuck is she wearing outfit on Ms. Frost though. Seriously, do these kinds of clothes exist anywhere except the tortured dreams of Chick and bizzare fashion madmen? Debbie, meanwhile, looks like she’s been drugged.

Or is undergoing some kind of transformation into a gazelle or something.

Apparently Wiccans subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath.

I think Jack is trying to make some kind of implicit critique on the idea of people being able to do whatever they want as long as they don’t harm anyone else. Sort of a “but if you don’t abide by God’s dictate, you’ll still be a terrible person and fuck up other people’s lives! You NEED law! You NEED to be domineered or else you’ll still hurt other people!” Which fits well with what I’ve realized about many of the more fundamentally religious folk: It’s quite possible that if they didn’t follow (or at least attempt to follow) these specific instructions, with fear of punishment, they’d actually give in to all these “temptations” to, I dunno, rape and kill and slaughter. Things that people with actual consciences don’t view as “tempting”.

[nepphie] Typical means of control is to insinuate that the other party *needs* that control or else they’ll cock it up. It being everything, of course. Look at the military, the police, petty middle management. Of course, there are varying degrees of truth to it, but the idea that we need some sort of external force to maintain moral order -after- we’ve been raised through childhood is nonsense. Yes, we need authorities in order to protect ourselves from people who have it wrong and think they have a right to take our swag, but I myself maintain a moral code of behavior without any external motivation, because I -want- to. Chick clearly has no idea what a strong willed human being is.

[nepphie] And I think I actually figured out Ms. Frost’s outfit. From this angle she looks like one of the straightjacket zombies from Silent Hill 2.

Seriously, forget the outfit — Jesus, lady, get a fucking sandwich.

[nepphie] Debbie’s out of control? She’s not the one grabbing people and shouting stilted dialog, lady. Though actually, pet theory; none of these other people except Debbie have ever existed. They’re all Debbiestar’s hallucinations, and this is finally her decision to get help. Discuss!

So you mean, not only is Debbie Elfstar, she’s also Ms. Frost? AND Marcie? And this whole thing is a kind of solipsistic hallucination? You know, actually, I find that a lot easier to believe than the actual plot of the Tract.

Also bizarre is the idea that people actually somehow become whatever character they pretend to be. Like, if you were trapped in a jungle with Richard Dean Anderson with a ticking bomb, surrounded by terrorist thugs, and he was all “damn, how the hell are we going to out of this”, and you grabbed him by the shoulders and shouted “I THINK YOU’D BETTER LET MACGYVER TAKE CARE OF THIS”. I mean… what?

[nepphie] You…you mean…MacGyver isn’t real? D:

Of course he is, son. In all of our hearts… in all of our hearts.

[nepphie] What’s with all the action lines? Are they shaking? Vibrating? Stinking?

Maybe everybody in this is afflicted with severe Parkinson’s or something.

[nepphie] Along with schizophrenia, naturally. Reshapes the whole plot. Just Debbie wandering around the various rooms of her house, imagining she has friends. Only she’s such a loser that she imagines mean friends and suicidals as her companions. What a wuss.

And Jack wants us to believe that this is all a typical situation that could affect anyone. Bullshit.

I’m not sure if those are supposed to be bushes, or if he swallowed a grenade and his intestines are exploding into a thick haze.

[nepphie] ‘Hay Debbie, wanna see my new detonating torso? Now with realistic splatter effectz!’ I agree, the ‘leaves’ look either impressionist or like some kind of swarm of angry bees.

Or just a poorly-applied Photoshop filter.

[nepphie] The tree off to Debbie’s right (the left of the panel) looks more like a pillar of fire. Maybe Debbie really is a wizard! That, or it (and exploding Mike) are even more hallucinations for her jolly imagination.

More goofy outfits. Were these ever a style of clothing that existed anywhere on this planet at any point in history?

I guess the message of this panel is “God is less powerful than a teenage girl who gets magical powers from an RPG.” Considering this kid has been praying and fasting, and it’s done basically nothing to help her at all, but she’s been able to mentally enslave her father into at least doing a bunch of goofy things like buying her $200 worth of D&D guides, I’d say God must not really give that much of a shit. “Sir, if I could have just a little more power, here, it might allow me to save this girl.” “Meh, fuck it. I’ve been wanting to eternally torture all these people.”

[nepphie] I love how we’ve never heard of Letter-Jacket-Mike before, no inclination at all that he even exists, but somehow he knows Debbie well enough to know what she’s involved in and indeed caring enough to fast for her. Question buddy, did you ever in the past week or two think to DIRECTLY contact her, as opposed to randomly running across her? What a dick.

Yeah, if all the help he’s managed to offer is this paltry and ineffectual “praying and fasting” bit, instead of actually maybe fucking talking to her or doing even anything else, then is he really a good person? Should this guy really go to heaven, while other people who actually successfully provide help to others but don’t happen to believe in Jesus are roasted forever?

[nepphie] I dunno, I think my mom had a shirt like Debbie’s, from the 70s or something. I don’t remember if she ever wore it. Maybe this is why.

It looks like a halfassed attempt at a superhero costume. I don’t know what her powers could be, though. Profound stupidity? Complete dependence on other people to determine the course of her life?

[nepphie] “A” spiritual warfare. Man, Jack just goes balls to the wall with his shitty dialog, doesn’t he?

Hyperbole? In a Chick Tract? It’s pretty hilarious to call what’s been going on so far “spiritual warfare”.

[nepphie] Now the explosions seem to be coming from Mike Hardjaw’s ass. “GWAR, MY COLON.”

I would like to see an MTV show like “Pimp My Ride” called “Gwar My Colon”. I can’t even imagine what that would entail, but I’ll bet it would be awesome.

[nepphie] Maybe it involves shoving a speaker up your ass and playing Gwar music a lot. Also, is it just me, or does Mike look like he’s barely repressing a smirk here? Seriously, he looks like those snotty rich kids in the 80s movies that invite the ugly girl along just to see her humiliate herself in front of everyone. Which reminds me of Carrie, which is my favorite Stephen King movie. Er, getting a bit tangental here.

[nepphie] Speaking of tangents, protip art for Jack; leaning a book against another book only works if we can SEE THE BOOK IT’S LEANING ON. As it is, the line that should be the prop book just looks tangental to the line of the speech bubble. Layout and design, you goddamned hack!

I was thinking more along the lines of styrofoam prosthetics.

I’ve never seen a tree with branches like the one in the background, but goddamn is that a nightmarish kind of awesome.

“The speaker came out of witchcraft.” What was he, like, some kind of clay golem or something? A summoned gremlin?

[nepphie] Burt Reynolds as Evangelist Man! Note that we won’t hear any details of his supposed experiences with witchcraft. This is basically the same tactic used by Mike Warnke, a Christian “comedian” who claimed to have been a satanic high priest and hardcore drug user, but who essentially made the entirety of it up. It amuses me that Christians denounce the power of the occult and sin as limited and shallow, but almost always use it as a means of legitimizing their claims to knowing the truth, as if there’s no serious conversion story without a crap life before it.

It seems like an easy conversion tactic, really. Like, “I was a hardcore drug user, sucking dicks made of used syringes in dumpsters full of bloody razor blades to fund my combo heroin/cocaine/LSD habit, and I couldn’t go an hour without mainlining grain alcohol, and I managed to turn my life around and accept Jesus Christ. Why can’t you? All you have is a couple of whiny kids and an inattentive husband. COME ON!” It’s amusing that most Christian conversion tactics are like excerpts from some kind of Brainwashing 101 course.

I’m still not seeing the downside of the dungeon of bondage, here.

[nepphie] Well, if it includes this creepy guy, I will pass. But if it’s got some young hotness as the dominatrix lady, then I’m sure we can work out an arrangement of some kind.

Good point. Though, I can’t really think of anyone in a Chick Tract who might fit that criterion.

[nepphie] Jesus also came to tell us to leave our dead folks for other people to bury, that money is inherently bad, and that being sick is our own damn fault. Also, to kill the gays (if his claim that he was there to fulfill the law, which included Leviticus, was serious) and treat non Jews like dogs. Not really selling me on the enjoy life abundantly part here, Pastor Burt. Or is this Tom Selleck?

I find it amusing that homosexuality is basically the only part of Leviticus and the “old laws” that fundamentalists think is still applicable. “What about trimming the hair next to our ears?” “Nah, Jesus got rid of that.” “Well, what about pork? We shouldn’t be able to eat pork, right?” “Of course we can. Jesus abolished all of that.” “But what about this gay sex thing?” “Are you KIDDING? No! Good lord, no. No WAY can we fuck people with the same genitals we have.”

[nepphie] I wonder if he actually -says- the parentheses around Satan. Seriously, he’s made interjections and elaborations before without them, why the fuck does he need them? I know it’s a visual medium, but it’s portraying someone speaking, dammit. God, how lame.

I imagine him just kind of, like, whispering the things in parentheses. I mean, fuck, he should just rephrase the sentences to better incorporate what he’s putting in parentheses.

[nepphie] I guess this strip is pre-Fang. Probably a good thing, because I doubt that loveable mutt could have done much with this horrid tract. Then again, I guess this isn’t a cartoony enough tract for Fang to be in anyway. Bah.

A more realistic depiction of Fang would be pretty awesome. I’d like to see him plunging his teeth into basically anyone in this Tract.

The idea that “rock music” is somehow “occult paraphernalia” is pretty hilarious. It’s just these arbitrary designations for things that old, conservative-minded people find generally unpleasant. KNEE SOCKS ARE OCCULT PARAPHERNALIA. I DON’T LIKE PEANUT BUTTER. YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO PUT MORE CLOTHES ON. TELEVISION HAS TOO MANY COMMERCIALS. IT’S WAY TOO COLD IN HERE. LET’S BURN IT ALL.

[nepphie] The rock music as occult thing comes from the inclusion of Drums, actually. The claim is that the drums were imported along with voodoo and shamanist rituals from the Caribbean and Africa, and that it replicates their effects, turning rock songs into immoral spells of demonic power. I shit you not, that is how the pastor of my long time church (Before I got a brain in my head) explained it.

Hah, oh, wow. I’d actually never heard the “percussion id de debbil” argument before. What about if I drum my fingertips on the surface of a table? I mean, how can these people honestly believe that rhythmically tapping your foot is going to, I dunno, summon some dark specter from hell? I’m sure there’s probably some deeper racist sentiment to it, along the lines of “look at how unusually those darkies act! It must be their tribal drum-heavy music!” but I don’t feel like trying to suss it out right now.

[nepphie] Note that up till now it’s been Dark Dungeons, but the pastor here refers to it as Dungeons and Dragons. It’s like Jack thought his audience might miss the point of the subtle wordplay or some such nonsense. It really just comes across as inconsistent and dumb, really.

Indeed. Like, “oh, WOW, I didn’t notice that parallel at ALL! Now that he names it specifically, I can totally see how this affects my life!” The whole naming convention here is incredibly lame, and anyone fooled by it is such a complete retard that they shouldn’t even be allowed to tie their own shoes without direct supervision, let alone vote.

This man’s expression is kind of like what my cat looks like when he’s defecating.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am not wearing any pants behind this podium!”

[nepphie] The rising lines to either side and the faint appearance of the people in the auditorium make this whole thing look kind of like he’s just summoned a spell that’s blasting them all to the abyss, ironically. Seriously, the entire moment screams dragonball Z anime trope.

It looks like he’s giving a speech to a race of people who all look like the figure in Munch’s The Scream.

[nepphie] Let’s see, ahh…Is that a pitcher of coffee in the cubbyhole to his right? And I think I see a tiny dragon in the one on his left. Seriously, wtf?

Well, coffee’s the devil, after all. It mostly comes from some strange non-white part of the world, and makes people feel good or relieved or excited or otherwise chemically alters their mood. It HAS to be evil.

It looks like she’s about to break into dance, in the second panel. She’ll do a really frantic number in her “working class girl” suit and then a bunch of holy water will rain down on her.

[nepphie] “Oh God!” ba dundun “Help ME!” and so on.

[nepphie] Captain huge glasses to the right there looks kind of dumb. “Oh, wow, GIRLS play DnD? Dammit, and they’re converting her away. There’s just no justice here.” The lady behind her meanwhile, just looks pleasantly dazed and distracted.

I still hold that the guy’s checking out her breasts and the woman is checking out her ass. “Wait, hold on, we came here for Couples Seeking Singles Night. Aw, fuck… this isn’t Tuesday. Let’s go, honey, these are just the gullible pseudo-cult kids.”

[nepphie] Damn he looks angry. “GET OUT DEMONS, OR I’LL BEAT YOU OUT! REYNOLDS SMASH.” Seriously, he’s getting really into it!

He’s all lightly choking her… occasionally slapping… the shaking becomes more intense. And then they all join in on stoning her to death.

For a second, I thought that read “I order you spirits of the occult to leave Debble”, and thought that maybe he was trying to convert the actual evil spirits themselves. “Leave the Debble, foul demons! Turn toward the light!”

Speaking of foul demons, what the fuck is it that’s coming out of her spine, there? It’s like a cloaked man with a fireball for a head holding a bat on a stick while reaching to hug the wish bone of a giant chicken? I… I don’t know.

[nepphie] It looks like some kind of demon horse to me. God damn. Chick really has a fanciful imagination, which I think is of the devil in at least two christian religions.

[nepphie] DebbLe’s hands seem all mutated. I don’t think that’s how clasped hands look. At all. Also, I don’t recall ever turning my whole life over to a DnD manual. I mean, once I looked into it for tips on how to be diplomatic, but it was all fanciful ye olde timey speak, so it just got me beat up by the bullies. Joking aside, DebbLestar’s (god her name is so fun to mangle!) obviously got some issues in the head going on, if she’s this willing to be bullied around by various authority figures (does she ever make a choice of her own, discounting the fighting the zombie incident?)

Of course not. People are always led in one way or another in Chick Tracts. There’s no such thing as free will; it’s all just manipulation by demons or manipulation by angels. (Who sometimes even trip people.) I think Chick simply can’t fathom the idea of not being led in one direction or another. Which is why there are never any real Atheists or Agnostics in these — only people who worship in one direction or another, or demons posing as “Atheists” in order to trick other people into damnation.

Anyone who lets a D&D manual be in charge of their life is in serious need of immediate psychiatric help.

Now this panel just looks like clip art. Like, I don’t know, My New Worshiping Technique Is Unstoppable or something.

So, wait, pretending to be a wizard to slay imaginary demons using dice in a game scenario is the same as actually using black magic? I mean, I know that in real life, both of them are equally effectual at manipulating reality and conjuring evil spirits and everything, but in the Chickverse, I mean… gah. This whole “the pretend is reality” thing is kind of… fucked up, and indicates some really disconcerting things about Jack Chick’s mind and the minds of those who buy into his Tracts.

[nepphie] Sadly, even fairly rational people buy into this crap. My mom was convinced DnD was actual casting of spells and such things, and no matter how many times I told her it wasn’t, she kept bringing up this outrageous ‘evidence’ from books written specifically to cash in on the moral panic and nonexistant “steam tunnel incidents” of the late ’80s. So it’s a compelling case for how completely religious fear can brainwash even a rather normal person.

The human mind seems rather unnervingly vulnerable to that kind of thing. Perhaps one day we’ll figure out a way to protect against these viral thought patterns and things.

[nepphie] The high priest guy in the background/backlight of the fire looks rather sinister. No real commentary here, he just seems creepy to me.

I’m reminded of the scene in V for Vendetta, only instead of escaping the fire to try to liberate mankind, he decided instead to oppress it.

“Thank you, Lord, for setting me free, by completely dominating my life and arbitrarily controlling anything I can do in it, including listening to music that has a rhythm, and reading or watching anything having to do with anything imaginary that doesn’t actually exist in reality. (Well, other than the Bible.)”

[nepphie] Hey now, it sounds like you might be bitter. ;)


[nepphie] Gee Jabberwocky, I don’t think I’ve learned anything useful from this adventure at all! In all seriousness, this kind of thinking isn’t just ridiculous, it’s patently dangerous. It traps people into idiotic logic that makes them fear anything that isn’t the Bible. My mom used to read a great many books and be quite literary, but over the years her disdain for “false christs” (known in literature as Christ types; imperfect people with christlike traits) made her worry that only the bible would help her out, and she stopped reading altogether. It’s the same kind of thinking as this DnD is evil stuff, and it’s patently anti-intellectual. Indeed, it’s frankly poisonous to reason and right thinking.

Agreed. This was the first one I did — the one that convinced me to start doing them, in fact — and it embodies so many of the things that are wrong with fundamentalist thinking. I know it seems a little like cheating to go back to ones I’ve already done, but seeing as Jack consistently goes back to make revisions to his Tracts (as we’ve seen with the penmanship on the suicide note, for instance), you’ll forgive me for wanting to go back and elaborate a little on some of my earlier Dissections.

Anyway, until next time, everyone. Tell your friends.

[nepphie] Have a good one everyone. Thanks for enjoying our double-long Gary Gygax edition of Dark Dungeons! I’m gonna go mainline a bit of peppermint tea and listen to some goddamned devil music from Enya while reading my new DnD 4e books.

66 thoughts on “Chick Dissection | Dark Dungeons Revisited (Epic Tag-Team Gary Gygax Died For Your Sins Edition)

  1. It’s weird what Jack updates and what he doesn’t. (Note the new version of ‘Somebody Goofed’ with the out-of-date slang.) So here, he felt the perfectly-readable handwriting needed updating, but not the Reagan-era fashion?

    At any rate, loved the dissection; nothing like revisiting an old classic!

  2. Second comment? Holy crap!

    This is one of my favourite tracks. I’m glad to see you that you dissected it. As usual, wonderful work.

  3. What amuses me is that if you look at the note in the old image, the writing actually curves downward in the middle to follow the shape of the paper. In the new one though, it’s totally straight, as if the note was being held flat.

  4. You know, I am STILL waiting for the Kajiit powers I SHOULD be getting from playing all those hours of Morrowind and Oblivion! Darn it Chick! Where is my Eye of Night!!

    Also, I think I know why Debbie Elfstar lives with Mrs. Frost: Chick, in yet another attempt to attack gay people, tried to sublity make these two lesbians so that the reader would associate gayness with demonic wicca worship.

    It would also explain the Cthulu Sex Toy…

  5. Yeah, this is definitely not a Jack-drawn tract. Give illustrators a break, all they’ve got is black and white. Don’t give Christians a break, though, they don’t have printing reasons for simplified, unrealistic morals.

  6. It’s amazing how much truth is in this tract, more than anything else I’ve ever read. Because just the other day, I walked up to a friend who I know is a devout Christian, clapped my hands, and shouted “FIRAGA!” and he DIDN’T burn! Clearly, the Lord protected him. And then when I did it to an athiest friend of mine, the SAME THING happened! So the Lord protected him too! I mean, how else could they both be unaffected by my level three fire spells? Unless they were both fire resistant, but there was no “Immune” text that came up, there was just no spell animation at all. Christ’s power just neutralized my high level black magic. And it’s not just black magic! The other day another friend of mine sprained his ankle in gym, so I told everyone to stand back while I used Regen, and it didn’t work either because as soon as I said that, somebody (undoubtedly influenced by Jesus) smacked me upside the head and told me to get the hell away unless I planned on using my first aid training, which I did, and then he recovered all thanks to the Lord and not at all because of my magic!

    Also, all Wiccans can perform magic very easily with immediate effects. My girlfriend, for example, can break wine glasses just by singing a very specific spell at them.

  7. I thought the twisty thing in the first panel was smoke from some incense they lit. Or ‘incense’.

    And am I the only one who finds it odd that they wrote it out as “$200.00″?

    I’m going to start praying and fasting for the redemption of some complete stranger! I don’t know who they are, but when I come across them, I’ll tell them I’ve been fasting for them!

  8. As a gamer with a large group I am, of course, rather pro-D&D. As an aside, I happen to have several females in my various games and my girlfriend runs a game once in a while.
    I got into a conversation at work about hobbies, gaming came up and I had to spend almost an hour explaining how it’s NOT Satanic.
    I’ve been playing RPG’s for over 20 years… wait… 4th Edition is out? I need to actually go outside and learn these things.
    Even when I was a Born Again Christian, I never gave up gaming, I just included Jesus in the game… it was weird, I know that now.
    Anyhow. Well done, as always.

  9. AH! I can cast a spell! I learned it from reading webcomics!

    Ice Bolt (Level 2 Invocation Spell)
    Materials required: Snow
    To cast: Throw the snow at the target enemy, and shout a cheesy catchphrase. “Winter’s bite; ICE BOLT!”

  10. Levall has a point, btw. Even though I feel like Chick’s just putting in chicks because chicks are supposedly more credulous, lots of girls tabletop game. More than they themselves think, so that just the joke about D&D being for dateless teenage _boys_ is itself sexist. It’s like you don’t even want girls playing.

    yeah I’m bitter too

  11. If Marcie felt so alone since Black Leaf died, then who did she leave the note for? Her mom? Debbie? The Dragon on her bed?

  12. Don’t worry Janet, I know and play with quite a few female gamers. We’re just taking the piss out of some stereotypes ourselves, because let’s face it we’re men and we can only reach for the really easy jokes. :)

  13. Funny as always, and although I love seeing revisitings of Dark Dungeons and (hopefully)Big Daddy, there are some of Chicks true classics you haven’t done yet like Angels or The Nervous Witch (Harry Potter is the DEVIL!)or the anti-Catholic tracks. I think you should do one of those next, then Big Daddy, then a new disection etc…

    Or whatever you want, your choice :D

  14. Forgot to add, Nepphie I have played Mass Effect and would like to point out that playing that game does make you qualified to to fight anchient evil machines and save the galaxy. Just like how if you play enough Bioshock you gain the ability to shoot bees out of your hand.

    Also if rock is occult paraphernalia, What does my actually passing “Through the Fire and the Flames” on expert mode in Guitar Hero 3 make me?

  15. I’ve got to scan and post the original pre-revision copy of Big Daddy I have.  It has people wearing peace necklaces, while the black student wears an afro and saber tooth necklace.  Also, it being an older version, the blond student shows natural selection of colored moths in England and tries to explain that it’s not part of evolution.  Not to mention hand-written emphatic fonts that cross your eyes.

    Good times.

  16. Actually, it was to my understanding that, according to the theory of rock being Satanic, the ‘evil drum rhythm’ was supposed to have originated from ancient druid rituals where they performed sacrifice.

    ..Because, you know, nothing lightens the mood of a celebration like killing one of its participants. And druids worshiped Satan, even though they originally had no contact with Abrahamic religions and didn’t know Christian or Judaistic entities. And obviously rock n’ roll was invented by druids. ..Somehow.

  17. nepphie, Im the worst offender at that particular stereotype. I never could get over it and just game, because actually, I suck at games.

  18. When Gary Gygax died, his widow told the press that people came up to him all the time telling him how playing DnD helped them become lawyers, cops, doctors and other professionals not witches and suicides. Funny how exercising the imagination and playing games exercises the mind, and helps shy, intelligent, and creative young people socialize, have fun, and even make friends. Yeah, that’s the devil’s work alright.

  19. Hey folks, Chickman has published another tract, “Fatal Decision”, and it’s just so … ach crivens, see fer yerselves!
    Best regards tae a’ and sundry,
    Reverend Kestrel

  20. LOL! You aren’t a Chick fan until you’ve read his comic “Spellbound” where he explains how witches dance naked over an album before it is copied and sold.

    Has anyone seen his idiotic new tract Fatal Decision? He twists through a bunch of hoops to try to make an analogy to “god’s gift”. I would love to see that one dissected.

  21. Yeah, Fatal Decision is pretty terrible. I think that’s the furthest I’ve ever seen anyone stretch a metaphor in my life. It’s like trying to stretch a balloon over a set of golf clubs.

  22. Which fits well with what I’ve realized about many of the more fundamentally religious folk: It’s quite possible that if they didn’t follow (or at least attempt to follow) these specific instructions, with fear of punishment, they’d actually give in to all these “temptations” to, I dunno, rape and kill and slaughter. Things that people with actual consciences don’t view as “tempting”.

    Only with the harder-core religious types, and not so much the raping and killing but yes, this is actually a pretty accurate theory. The one thing you notice hanging around evangelical kids is that quite often, the kids with the strictest parents tend to be the ones who go off to college and go hog-wild with all those mass drug-booze-orgies that never seem to happen at any of the colleges I’ve been at. The good parents instill their children with a real sense of morality and attune them to their consciences; the bad ones just drill a list of rules into their heads, and as soon as those rules are gone, look out, world.

  23. I always find it greatly amusing that Evangelists believe magic is real and a huge threat, wouldn’t that just, I dunno, encourage people to want to try it?

  24. What I like is how Chick doesn’t seem to understand that vaccines are preventative medicine- not cures to already caught diseases. And if we are all supposed to be in an original state of sin equivalent to someone suffering delirium from a disease, then how is anyone responsible again? The more christians try to rationalize their own beliefs the more they dig themselves into a hole.

  25. You know, I am STILL waiting for the Kajiit powers I SHOULD be getting from playing all those hours of Morrowind and Oblivion! Darn it Chick! Where is my Eye of Night!!

    Personally, I’m waiting for my barbed dick.

  26. The bit about drums being satanic makes me wonder if there’s a Z movie out there called “The High School Marching Band… FROM HELL!!” or something.

  27. BEHOLD, people of Earth! I am REVEREND GOKU! Fear not, for I will save you! SUPER PREACHING DEMON CASTER BOMB! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

  28. Oh, yeah, and playing WoW as a night elf has made it impossible for me to fit through doorways with my freakishly long ears. Why didn’t Chick tackle THAT game? I could have been spared the humiliation, the disfigurement, the much-too-pointy listening devices!

  29. I really enjoy your critique of this tract. There’s just SO much wrong with this it. This is a good effort, though no single effort can ever address it all.

    When Harry Potter learns that everything he knew is wrong, he moves on to a new world and new friends. Debbiestar keeps playing the screening game.

    Marcie’s suicide note should indicate that she identifies with Black Leaf…wouldn’t Black Leaf have written it in first person? Actually, if BL is dead, wouldn’t Marcie’s suicide have been redundant?

    Elfbbie regrets any harm she did to Marcie, but doesn’t regret mind controlling her father? To buy more stuff for the game that is supposed to be the screening device.

    Where was the White Knight when Marcie was in trouble? Does the pastor’s kid only have a thing for blondes? Or does God’s plan not include silly thief wannabes?

    I tried to resolve the copious errors in behavior displayed in this freakfest. Something to make the motives come out right, the game play properly, the secret society make sense.

    I ended up with Chick Slash Fanfiction. Very odd. Now i’m afraid to reread Big Daddy…

  30. Och crivens, Chickman is jist a weird scunner, so let’s enjoy his tales while we can! He clearly dinnae hae the kenning o’ th’ livin an’ thinkin!
    Best regards
    The Right Reverend Kestrel

  31. The pastor’s mention of “praying for the deliverance of those who have allowed occult into their lives” is interesting. Has me thinking that what he MEANS is, “Let us pray for the deliverance of those who have allowed occult into their lives. They’re evil, despicable people and will die and roast in hell forever regardless, but let’s pray real hard for them anyway.”

    Prayer in Chick tracts is like bullets in action movies. It does what the story requires. If the story requires for the “victim” to be made an example of and come to a horrific end, then God and His angels won’t lift a finger. If however the story requires that it be an example of God’s might (or rather, Him sending middlemen to do it for Him), then the prayer will work. And, also, how much of what the “evil” people do is demonic influence, and how much of it is a result of their own free will?

    And, re: the fact Mike’s praying obviously didn’t help Debbie and he had to physically approach her. Debbie had already realized that what she was involved in was evil, so it’s not like she needed him to come along and tell her. Nor did she need that pastor to tell her, either. For Mike to come along AFTER Debbie’s realization that Miss Frost is evil incarnate just makes Mike look lazy; he doesn’t have to convince Debbie at all, merely confirm her fears and throw in the Jesus mumbo-jumbo.

  32. “The high priest guy in the background/backlight of the fire looks rather sinister. No real commentary here, he just seems creepy to me.”

    The “high priest” is probably Joseph Goebbels.

  33. though i was expecting a new tract dissection (and was a little dissapointed), i was still amused by the job you guys did. clearly, you are the duo dynamic of dissections.

  34. For his next tract maybe Jack Chick will team up with Jack Thompson and show how video games turn you into a serial killer and a Satanist! I hope so, mainly because of how you guys will rip it to shreads!

  35. On the topic of level 8 clerics multi classing wizard, I had a massive argument with the DM on sunday in the return to temple of elemetal evil campain due to senshock, who the DM made an 8 8 cleric wizard, which is far less powerful that a 16th level cleric or wizard, playing a magic user myself I would never imagine multiclassing cleric and no sane person would, which would make senshock completely insane and ineffective.

  36. “DARK DUNGEONS” Review by “Terrible Tommy” Murray

    If you’ve hit the Chick Museum’s link, you’ve probably read the MST3K satire of this classic Chick-let, slamming that tool of Satanic Wiccan Catholicism, Dungeons and Dragons and, by implication, ALL role-playing games. The folks who do MST3K are very familiar with D & D, as most Protestants are not, including our wonderful friends at the Chick Museum, who, other then knott speling wurth sheyit, do exemplary work. Just let the drug-crazed Wiccan who’s played D & D since the Sucky 70’s clue y’all into a few overlooked things in “Dark Dungeons” and other Chickery. (Chickcraft? Chickcca?)

    First of all, let’s consider the witness of JTC himself:

    First, Black Leaf dies and Marcie freaks:

    Then Debbie comes to visit, only to find that Marcie has committed suicide; we don’t get to see Marcie’s full-gainer-by-angel into the Lake O’ Fire, but you can bet it’s there. This is a CHICK Tract, remember.

    First of all, dying in D & D is a part of existence: We have Debbie’s character—as the MST gang notes, a cleric named “Wizard” (Tommy: “???!!”)—and one of the many cool magical things clerics are especially good at is called “Resurrection.” That’s raising the dead; you know, like Jesus? (Any imitation of Christ’s powers without ritually kissing Christ’s anus is much screamed over by Jack in his tirades against Role-Playing Games, Resurrection spells included.)

    If Debbie was such a good player, why didn’t she simply access the clerical miracle of Resurrection, or use her priestly connections to have it done? Also, if Mrs. Frost is worth diddly as a DM, the party should have at least ONE Potion of Healing, Ring of Holding with a Lesser Wish or other artifact won in past games that would have served to resurrect Black Leaf. Furthermore, Mrs. Frost could simply have engineered the “coincidental” appearance of clerical non-players characters with powers or artifacts (enough to Raise The Dead, at least.)

    And if worse comes to worst, Marcie could have easily done what me and a billion RPG aficionados have always done in such situations: Either roll up a new character who “stumbles” across the party; or, conversely, “Black Leaf” becomes “‘Blue’ Leaf,” Black Leaf’s long-lost identical cousin who stumbles across the party just in time to mourn her cousin, gather up all her stuff and join the quest. A few seconds to write in the new name on the old character sheet and Marcie doesn’t need to swing.

    Furthermore, if a demented Heathen (capitol-H, arseface!) like Terrible Tommy is DM’ing the game, you can bet that it wouldn’t be more than three hours, game time, (i.e., five minutes, real time) before the party would encounter the stinking, maggot-crawling undead remains of Marcie’s character, now called “Dead Leaf,” either a zombie, ghoul, vampire or demon-possessed barrow wight. (Marcie would probably have flung herself in front of a truck over that one!)

    A much more typical reaction to death in D & D can be found in the hilarious comic spoof of RPG-fanaticism, “Dork Tower” by John Kovalic. In this excellent comic, the players regularly torture the poor DM by hurling themselves into hopeless, pre-doomed assaults on much bigger, badder foes, joyfully stumbling into death traps like eagerly grabbing “The Gem of Obvious Self-destruction” and beginning their sojourn into the DM’s hard thought-out adaptation of The Lord of the Rings by killing Gandalf and Frodo in the first seven minutes.

    In one episode, Matt, the DM, regretfully tells Igor, a player, that his character has died. Igor reacts to this news by—going home and despondently hanging himself? HELL, no: Igor goes into an ecstatic dance, singing a take-off on “The Monster Mash:”

    “His brain was mashed

    It was a MONSTER MASH

    His life was snatched

    Oh, it was really scratched!

    His spine was smashed

    He’s in a graveyard, natch!

    Ha ha ha haaah! Yesss! See ya, LOOOOOSER!”

    Whereupon Igor happily begins rolling up another character while Matt comments: “The Grim Reaper kinda loses his sting when he claims a low-stat character you’ve been stuck with, doesn’t he?”

    THIS attitude is a much more realistic reaction to death in D & D, not the ongoing Protestant paranoiac fantasy of Chickworld (Hey! Great idea for a new D & D module: “Chickworld,” where Witches and Methodists are hung from trees and girls that don’t bleed on their wedding night get beat to death with rocks. Guillotines on ice-cream trucks, demons on Rock CD’s and a worldwide, almost inhuman, Catholic control conspiracy that really IS out to get you! Vampires popping up at Macdonald’s, werewolves at Baskin-Robbins and every Catholic Church will have its own continuous thunderstorm, full of demonic shadows. HEY! Hands off: I thought of it FIRST!)

    Anyway, Marcie’s reaction is extremely unrealistic and reflects Mr. Chick’s willful ignorance of the game and the people who play it.

    Terrible Tommy’s terrible Gripe No. 2: Marcie plays D & D so well, she becomes a full-fledged Priestess of Diana and member of the Craft of Wicca under her D & D character’s name. Let me make just one comment: WHAT???!!

    “You are a whiz at checkers, Jethro, so now you are a Presbyterian, a vice-president in the Rotarians and an Eagle Scout with a PhD in English Literature” makes just as much sense. To be any kind of Wiccan Priestess takes (like the Jedi) the most serious purpose and YEARS, nay, DECADES and LIFETIMES of study and real work (planting corn, milking cows, slaughtering goats and plucking chickens, not to mention raising a family in the Craft in darkest Christian America, no easy task.) I didn’t see Debbie do anything but hang around playing D & D.

    Tell one of MY Wiccan Mambos that you are now a Third Degree High Priestess because of your diligent RPG playing. Go ahead, tell them. See how many times they murder you in seven minutes. Call me so I can watch.

    Another Chick/D & D interaction that you guys missed is how many times various Monsters in a JTC tract are portrayed, line for line, with some creature straight from the TSR manual. How does Jack get away with this? And notice: Jack doesn’t follow the AD & D rulebooks AT ALL! If anything, JTC goes out of his way to “prove” that Dungeons and Dragons is a Satanic Catholic plot and only St. Chick knows the truth.

    In “Satan’s Master” for example, Jack rips off one of the lesser demon princes to be his Satan: Apparently, this character (whose name was some ridiculous agglomeration of letters like “Balferzaz”) really scared the poop out of Chick, as opposed to the classic AD & D Lord of Evil, Asmodeus, who looks like some debonair gentleman, some Hagbard Celine clone, and apparently didn’t produce the same levels of reactionary terror in Mr. Chick’s bowels that Balferzaz had. So the lesser prince gets promoted to Top Dog.

    Also, note the cover: Balferzaz or whatever is sweating and looking fearful, JTC sweat drops and all. Jack is the kind of person who never won a schoolyard fight, but grows up to draw superheroes in response, starring the schoolyard bullies as villains who always get conquered, but never give up. This tract cover is a classic example: Asmodeus and Beelzebub in the Monster Manual apparently didn’t bother Jack a bit, but this sub-sub-demon noble gave him a turn or two. His revenge is this tract.

    [Hey, maybe I can write a song bad enough to make Jack hate ME enough to do a tract on ME! “S’ereh ot ym teews nataS?” Or “Killing Hamsters for the Devil While Sodomizing Light Bulb Sockets?” I’ve got it! “Gonna rock, rock, rock—rock for the rock—embrace me, Love of Death!” I dunno: That song keeps running through my head.]

    Another D & D rip-off is in the same tract: One of the Witches whispers behind the High Priestesses back. A demon sitting on HP’s shoulder relays the dirt to her: Only problem is, the “demon” is actually a creature straight from Monster Manual II (MMII, in geekspeak) called a “stone gargoyle.” While certainly evil, it is considered a non-spiritual, physical entity, which Chick metamorphoses into a made-to-order demon; once again, pulling off a straight-out plagiarism.

    Let’s not even MENTION the dozen or so times that JTC sticks the phrase “Prime Material Plane” into his anti-occult raps (There, see; we didn’t mention it.) This, along with the myth ripped-off from Hislop’s “Two Babylon’s” about Nimrod and Semiramis, marks the mental trail of St. Jack the Tripper quite clearly. If you hear about either concept, you can tell exactly where they came from. [We occult-drenched Voodruid Witches use a lot of words, but “Prime Material Plane” is not one of them.]

    Meanwhile, Chick Publishing screams like the imaginary Catholic goon attacking the Bible Book store if anyone DARES to touch one of his gilded post-scripts to the Gospels, such as Psycho Dave and others. Hypocrisy, thy name is Christian.

    Another rip-off in “Satan’s Master”, non-D & D this time, is the demon “Ri-chan,” one of Dr. “ex-Mrs. Satan” Becky Brown’s obvious names. Forming increasingly wild stories is the stock-in-trade of Chick, Brown and John Todd, who is still in prison for molesting his step-daughter (UGH!) and now claiming to be a “Wiccan” minister. Meanwhile, faithful Jack, as infallible as a Pope, has declared that John has only “back-slidden” and all the “Rev. Lance Todd’s” blithering nonsense is still true.

    As for Todd, just let “Terrible Tommy,” Rock-n-Roll Witch, clue you in: We don’t want him! Stay away from us Wiccans if you ever get out, short eyes. We don’t sacrifice humans, John (Lance?), usually, but we’ll gladly make an exception for you.

    The same ex-cathedra pronouncement of “Factual, because I prayed about it” rests on Dr. Brown’s delusions; and, even though her “block-busting” books flopped like yesterday’s spaghetti for Chick, he still digs into Dr. Brown’s manure heap of non-facts like the old fellow who found the Original Mud Mine.

    One such tidbit is the name “Ri-chan” which gets attached to another ripped-off D & D monster, an actual Demon this time. The name is pure Rebecca Brown exorcism gibberish. I kept expecting to hear about the demons “Ging-gong” “Uu-uu” and “Fooble-ook,” a flying alligator, a hippo with tentacles and a mouse with a gorilla head, respectively. Such gobs of morphemes attached to dream chimeras composed of scrambled body parts are typical of Brown’s ever-increasing dictionary of cast-out demons. Mix them with Carter’s excellent art (well, it IS!), the MMII and Mr. Chick’s fevered-but-fertile imagination and WATCH OUT!

    Then consider “The Hunter.” Since every drug of any sort is just a substitute for Jesus, the rampant hysteria of the “Hunter” gets so wild—and I would still vote that JTC honestly, truthfully believes every single malodorous morsel thereof—that you start having to wonder if Jack has some form of mental condition (obvious, but way too simple); or if, conversely, “M.I.B.” is for real and some over-evolved Chaotic Neutral? (Evil?) orange cephalopodan slug is sitting in a little control booth in Jack Thomas Chick’s head, doing awful things to the human monkeys, at least as far as their sciences are concerned (Thank you, Creationism, thanks a Monkey’s Coitus!) Or, conversely, his REAL masters, The “Union of Girl Scouts, Jesuits-who-hate-Jesus-and-worship-Satan, Yeti people and Insurance Salesman” program him by microwave from afar.

    Either that, or simple human stupidity, explain why, in the rapturously-insane “Hunter,” our man Jack takes a Lawful Good critter from MMII in the form of a demi-divine being named a “Solar” (I think it was called), except this is a JACK CHICK Solar: He’s got leathery bat wings (which, like horns, to us Pagans, signifies divinity, but to Jack’s helically contiguous mind [insult intended], these black Hell-o-wings are scary); and he wields the mace Solars carry to protect and defend, turned by Jack into an instrument of punishment for those not getting their quota in souls.

    Here, again, are the “minds” of Jack Chick, John Todd, Mike Warnke (if you want to be honest), Becky Brown and Worm-meat-for-frontal-lobes Schnoeblin: Every Tot and Jittle in this Saliva-fest of Salvation (How GREAT a Salivation?) is PURE UNALLOYED GOSPEL to the various sub-sub-splinter sects of Protestant Christianity that mostly purchase, believe and use Jack’s incredibly sordid visions. That’s why this man’s mind can go so far off track and people like the wilder Protestants lap it up as truth while people like us lap it up as art. Jack Chick is, ultimately, his own best customer.

    Lemme know.

  37. Holy.. holy shite. Chick has a new tract that “explains” evolution. And goodness, he doesn’t grasp the concept of gradual evolution.

    http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/1041/1041_01.asp?wpc=1041_01.asp&wpp=a

    And we were dots in goo.. then tadpoles! Then fish! then legged fish! Then frogs, then monkeys! Then the monkey ripped off its tail and became like man, and turned into man!

    And every child who hears this thinks they are gods and believes in Social Darwinism. Not remembering (hell, he doesn’t know any history, what am I thinking) that the WASPS were the most fervent believers in it during most of America’s history.

    Just… DAMN. I mean, Chick is funny and all, but sometimes he makes me die a little on the inside, knowing people take him seriously.

  38. What about hit points? She’s not dead until she reaches -10! And weren’t any clerics offering to save or resurrect her? Or does Chick not believe in resurrection. ;)

    When my favorite D&D character died on me…I thought it was a great chance to roll up another character and try my hand at a completely different class.

    Their game didn’t have enough cheetos and mountain dew. Or funyuns: http://www.animationarcade.com/animation/8bitdnd.html

  39. Hey guys,
    Reading this tract for the umpteenth time, I am still fascinated by the Rev. Goku’s condemnation of rock music. Being an Australian, I miss out all the hilarity of conservative, fundamentalist Christianity (though we do still have conservative, fundamentalist racism) – so I’ve never actually heard any of this rot first hand.

    A quick Google search landed me this page:
    http://www.av1611.org/rock.html

    This author (if it isn’t the man himself) sounds an ardent supporter of Chick – they have the same narrow worldview, selective use of sources and ultimately hate-spreading message. AND the same randomly emphasised text.

    I think what these fundies fail to realise (again, who needs self-examination) is that such burning hatred for their religion comes not from Satan, but from the fundies’ oppressive desire to force conservative Christianity down our throats. Douchebags…

  40. Oh, and as a slightly-lukewarm Catholic, I can confirm: everything Chick writes about Catholicism is true. We are gonna round you heathens up and burn your arses.

    AND we invented Stalin.

  41. Pfft, ya know what I say? Fuck Marcie! Yeah.
    It’s her own damn fault she played a thief, and not a Wizard/Cleric.
    I am interested though, what happens to Bards in the game? Do you suddenly realize how to tell epic and interesting stories by playing pretend with a bunch of friends, or maybe learn how to sing and play a musical instrument?
    Sometimes I’m actually a bit disappointed that I’ve never ran into some person who believes that DnD is the work of the devil, since I would have loved to have an argument with them.

    Also, if D&D is such a horrible thing why did Marcie’s mom even let her go play at the first place?

  42. As part of an optional test protocol, we are pleased to present an amusing fact:

    In the original Dark Dungeons tract, long before even the first dissection on this site, the phrase “occult books” had an asterisk, connected to a footnote citing C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as OCCULT AUTHORS. C. S. Lewis, of course, wrote the Narnia books, which fundies now swear by, along with a large number of other Christian writings, and Tolkien’s Middle-Earth writings are often mentioned in works attacking Harry Potter as Christian alternatives, even presenting examples of its view of magic as “dangerous”, quoting Galadriel to hand-wave the Elves, “I suppose you would call it magic; but it is merely our own natural abilities” (paraphrased here), and stating that Frodo’s experience with the Witch-King’s blade shows that magic leaves eternal wounds, and claiming that Frodo never completely recovered from the Ring’s influence (don’t believe me? Try reading a copy of “Harry Potter and the Bible”. Or, better yet, don’t). So, apparently, C. S. Lewis is occult, but, what, no one gives a shit about Lovecraft? You want occult writings, check out some of that stuff about Shub-Niggurath, Yog-Sothoth, or Cthulu.

    Anyway, I’d like to get together a small group of female D&D players to come and fight the Zombie with me. I’ll DM.

  43. Maybe her multi-classing makes her seem even more powerful to them,as it shows she can take something disadvantageous and do very well with it. Is 8 high level?

  44. I’m confused. First she’s a wizard, then a cleric, then a priestess/witch, then just a priestess. With a name typically given to elves, if I’m not mistaken. Geez, you usually only see this sorta multiclass on deviantART.

    Page 8: It takes all afternoon for her to fight a zombie? Where’d she learn to play, fanfiction.net?

    Page 10, translated to Chinese and subtitled in English: DO NOT WANT!

  45. On the subject of games condemned by the religious right, I’m surprised and slightly amused to see that Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering are condemned, despite being VERY fanciful and having little occult imagery, but even though Yu-Gi-Oh! was all the rage a few years back, it was completely ignored. I’ve found one site – ONE – that warns fundies to stay away from Yu-Gi-Oh!, and that’s just in passing, while telling Christians to stay away from fantasy games altogether. This response seems odd, considering that the whole idea of Yu-Gi-Oh! is that you’re supposed to be an Egyptian High Priest summoning demonic monsters to fight each other (at least, according to the manga; and yes, I was and still am a player, so I have SOME idea of what I’m talking about), even offering them as blood sacrifices to summon even more powerful monsters. I guess you’re only occult if you don’t have overt occult trappings.

    Well, there was also a fundie warning about Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Movie, but even fans were warning people to stay away from that piece of shit.

  46. Love this stuff! I’m hitting your whole site, I can’t wait for more.

    Re: “Hippocratic oath,” actually, yeah kinda. The “Wiccan Rede” is “An it harm none, do what thou wilt.” Check it out here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiccan_Rede. It’s their only commandment (and I’m using “they” loosely, here). Don’t ask why I know that. It’s a long story.

  47. I interpreted the “cthulhu sex toy” as rising smoke from an ashtray. Of course I’ve just totally dated myself — Yes, I played DnD(excuse me, was sucked into the satanic grip of ebil) way back when smoking in front of teenagers was, like, not evil yet.

    I kind of can’t get the tentacled sex toy image out of my mind though. I blame you both.

    The fact that the GM doesn’t even give Black Leaf a chance to roll, and that PLAYERS actually LEAVE when their characters are dead, does seem very draconic. So why is this same GM allowing Debbelelf to declare her spellcast AND its success AND its effects, all herself?

    There is so much to laugh at here and you’ve done it so well, I just can’t resist pointing and laughing myself. OH, and the (constantly changing) decor? If this is how the dark side lives, I want to join up now. Seriously, the first thought that entered my head when I saw the dreadful DnD-inspired suicide scene, even though I first saw it without the benefit of Jabberwocky commentary, was — If she’s really dead, can I have her stuff?

  48. What is he even trying to prove here, obviously we get the same Jesus is the only one who can save you shit. But other than that the plot seems to tie which craft to D&D, that is simply wrong, The problem with these comics as arguments is that they provide no evidence to support their arguments, they are obviously fiction, and nothing in them suggests in any way that they correlate to real life. This one in particular can be easily disproved by anybody who actually plays the game (myself included) so who would be convinced by this. Is their anybody stupid enough to just belive the world is like this just because they read it in a comic with no other reasons?

  49. My DM let me play as a half elf/merfolk fighter/sorcerer. WHY DIDN’T I GET THE ABILITY TO CHANGE INTO A MERMAN AND FREEZE PEOPLE’S ARMS WITH TOUCH SPELLS WHILE CLOCKING THEM ON THE HEAD WITH A SHORTSPEAR?! I WAS ROBBED!!

    Seriously, though, why are fundies so damn stupid? Has Jack done any Tracks that involve Pokemon?

  50. If my brother weren’t asleep when I was reading this…I’d have probably laughed so hard that I threw up.

    Shit, I’m having a hard time right now trying not to bust out laughing…

  51. I’ve known of the Chick tracts for a while, but how I never found your site sooner, I’ll never know.

    Keep up the good work!

    Diptera

  52. Efrain: I’ll forget Mr. Chicks statement that both cleric’s/ wizards are the same thing. a level 8 player character is like an elite mook. The level cap ( the highest level any PC can get to.) is level 30. Debbie’s got along way to go, about 6 to 7 more levels, before she actually become a flaming badass.( I’m scared even by the level 14 hafling druid in the town my parties in.)

    Also, MR. GYGAX WAS, INDEED, A CHRISTIAN. That is why most of dungeons and dragons have influence by J.R. Tolkin and C.S. Lewis. ( who would admit that J.R. Tolkin converted from atheism to Christianity.) Therefor, making the Allegory Jesus Lion SATAN INCARNATE. Also, I don’t know if this is true or not, but I think that the creation of St.Cuthbert was Mr. Gygax parodying Fundamental Christians. (someone can correct me if I’m wrong.)

    Also, Debbie is a bitch to get so worked up over her character’s death. Like many people have posted. Just wait for the game to get over, and re-roll your character. And if they won’t let you, FUCKING LEAVE and join another D&D group!!! Don’t kill yourself over it. When my Cleric of ( ronicly) St.Cuthbert got killed by Mother manticore( after we killed her baby.) I said “okay, maybe the next time you guys are in the town, I re-roll my character.” it’s no big deal, little girl. if you didn’t want blackleaf to die, BE BETTER AT ROUGE SKILLZ!

    This tract also contains the ugliest art i have ever seen in my life! What the fuck Jack Chick!?!? Did you have a spasm when actually drawing this!?! This is not how a person’s face looks like.

  53. Correction, Instead of Debbie, Marcie should just re-rolled her character or leave if Ms. Frost doesn’t let her do that. My bad.

  54. When I saw “I like to think she keeps that panicked pose and just vibrates over to the door” I had trouble holding the laughter in. Still do.
    Just re-roll.

  55. MY DnD group had more women than men. :( I must be a freak whose soul is in danger from an evil witch trying to seduce me!

  56. God I love this comic strip. I still reference it on my sig on PbP sites.

    “In retrospect Marcy probably did the right thing. After all, she did let Black Leaf die.”

    Every now and then someone gets it, and evil laughter ensues.

    Sigh… I miss the good ol days when wacko Bible thumpers hated us.

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