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Worse Than You Can Imagine
No Fear? by J. T. C.
© 2013 James LaFond
I have reviewed some J. T. C. Christian comics here previously. I look forward to my coworkers bringing them to me and to finding them on the bus. There is something a bit nostalgic for me here. When I was a nut-job teenager I had a friend who was what we called ‘a Born Again’ Christian. He was a nice guy with a deep well of anger beneath a thick stifling layer of parental repression. Rick and I had a lot of reasons to feel sorry for Hug, but one of the biggest was the fact that he could, by parental decree, only read a single type of comic book. I think it was Crusader Comics. So now, every time I see a new issue of the little flip comics by Chick Publications, I can rest assured that Christian kids are better served today than they were in the hedonistic 70s of my youth.
That said; I’m feeling like one of my coworkers is being stalked by a rabid missionary. Five different coworkers have brought these fire and brimstone flip comics to me, but over half of them have come courtesy of Jay, and he has saved some for himself as well. This last one has a personalized message hand written on the back with a mature androgynous hand. In the blank space reserved for church stamps and such on the back of the comic underneath Compliments of: is a felt penned message, “Hell’s fire is worse than you can imagine. Run to Jesus while you can!”
I am wondering if this has more to do with this clerk’s Mohawk and gothic attire than my previously postulated theory that this missionary dines upon inordinate quantities of pasta? Is Jay being stalked? For clues I looked within the flip comic.
The title is No Fear?, and has J. T. C. working to his strength—Hell! This dude does Hell well. The devil and his noxious sidekick are the very Laurel and Hardy of damnation as they coach a young suicide to ‘do it!’
The scene where the boy hangs himself on page 5 with a “Crack” as the devils cheer has got to be one of the most tasteless works of art ever. Hell does not disappoint, though this version of eternal miscalculation falls short of most of J. T. C.s bitterly infused damnation art. The action returns to earth where the boy’s girlfriend is about to hang herself so that they can be together, but is saved by a Clark Kent type of hero Preacher. The artist permits his comedic genius to show through as he repeatedly depicts the two devils weeping and frowning in the background over their denial of a new eternal guest.
For damnation bibliophiles page 14 features 11 descriptions of Hell from the New Testament and The Apocrypha. The story is lame and overworked compared to many in the series. Despite the encore appearance of the evil domestic cat on page 18, the story was about to lose me… J. T. C. does not, however, disappoint, when it comes to his standard strong motif, the midnight crucifixion! Page 19 has Jesus dying on a night-shrouded cross. J. T. C. has done numerous variations of this theme, and, despite—or perhaps because of—my loyalty to Woden and the Old Gods, I always find myself moved. Honestly, as well as this guy does Hell, he does Mel Gibson fantasies even better. This should be done as an urban mural somewhere in the deteriorating ruins of a postmodern American City.
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