Jack Chick’s The ProphetIf one were asked to comment on influential and powerful pieces of literature, one would expect the usual suspects to come to mind. There are those time-honored classics found in bound, leather volumes that are on everyone’s bookshelves. Many celebrated contemporary works have the distinction of having been awarded a Nobel or Pulitzer Prize. It was not really until Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize winning Maus (Parts I and II) that we could realize the awesome power of literature in a comic form.
Literature in any form is also a double-edged sword. It can incise like a scalpel or detonate like a bomb. The endless rearrangement of twenty-six letters to form words represents both thought and action. Both have the potential to be positive or negative. The Chronicles of the Learned Elders of Zion, an apocryphal and fraudulent anthology, helped stir up anti-Semitic strife in a pre-Holocaust Europe. In a mere thirty-two pages, Jack Chick’s comic, The Prophet, conveys much the same attitude as that which dominated the fascist landscape of the Nazi Reich less than six decades ago. The Prophet is nothing more than a disgusting piece of rubbish and propaganda. The assertions made about the origins, history, and motivations of Islam are so ridiculous, that at some point one cannot help but laugh at the stupidity needed to write such trash. This makes Chick’s work both comic and tragic. Unfortunately, free speech even applies to the ignorant and those consumed with hatred. On the other hand, freedom of thought allows us to evaluate, criticize, and reject them.
The story begins with the civil war in Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1980’s. It is here that a reporter is terrorized by the stereotypical wild-eyed Muslim fundamentalist. Before the reporter’s “enlightenment” by the warped Dr. Alberto Rivera, he neatly sums up the situation in the Middle East as most Americans have been trained to do – dismissing everyone there as being crazy and giving up on even an iota of understanding (Chick, Jack T., The Prophet, P. 3-4). Luckily, Dr. Rivera is at the terminal snackbar so he can make sense of all of human history. His story is so convoluted that he manages to solve more mysteries than Matlock and Columbo did I their entire television careers. The only question that remains at the end of his idiotic expose is: Where was he when the Warren Commission needed him?