At one time or another, most all of us have been given or stumbled upon one of those "Chick Tracts"--pocket sized comic books that rally against the evils of the world and invite you to accept a Jesus Christ into your heart as the one true savior. Hell, I remember getting them in my Trick 'R' Treat bags on Halloween as a kid. They are woefully out of touch with today's world, even by modern religious standards, but they can be appreciated by both the angels and the demons of society--one seriously and one ironically.
One of my favorite pieces by indie comic icon Daniel Clowes is the story "Devil Doll?" from EIGHTBALL #1 (and subsequently reprinted in 20th CENTURY EIGHTBALL). Clowes deftly captures the style and tone of the Chick Tract while gleefully turning it into a grotesque mockery of what it is intended to be.
|The Salvation of Pat|
Teenage beauty Pat has square parents who want her to attend church functions and the like, but she's been spending a lot of time with Dr. and Ms. (decidedly not Mrs.) Nimrod lately. The Nimrods introduce her to all the things that endanger the teenage soul--namely satanic role playing games ("Dungeons & Druids"), heavy metal music (the band Vommitt), new age mysticism (Ouija boards), pagan holidays (the Autumnal equinox), and ruffians with names like "The Ram" and "Bad Bill". You know, all the things that your parents warned you about.
Within a week, Pat is sporting a pentagram tattoo on her forehead, is whacked out of her mind on drugs and singing the praises of Satan. But then, in an odd meta moment, a boy offers her a religious tract by "Goose Gander", and her soul is redeemed (while the sinners that lead her astray get their just desserts).
Take that, evil!