Joe the Revelator – (Article originally written for The Inquisitve Loon blog)
For anyone who has never encountered a Chick Magazine, or ‘Chick Mag’ for short, I would like to enlighten you about a staple of Christian Evangelism, and possibly one of the most hilarious portrayals of the roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons to ever grace the pages of a comic book.
But first, a warning:
Chick Magazines are not a joke. Any irony gleaned from the pages of these anti-heathen lessons are coincidental (and numerous). In no way am I condemning or condoning the use of religious propaganda, and am reviewing this short comic purely from the standpoint of an outside observer. If you find any of the following review offensive to your religious beliefs, I apologize in advance, for this is not my intent.
Roll a D20 to determine if you’re damned.
In the early life of the table-top Roleplaying game known as Dungeons and Dragons, many media stories featured unfortunate gamers joining cults, making pacts with the devil, forming unnatural gang-like bonds with fellow players, and committing suicide as a result game-related depression. And although the game D&D has been around since its publication in 1974, the religious controversies didn’t get kicking in the media until the early to mid 1980′s.
Due in part to the media outcry against roleplay fantasy games, this little gem was published and handed out by the hundreds of thousands, and can still be purchased online in bulk for around 13 cents per issue.
Of course this comic may be taking a few liberties about the culture of Dungeons and Dragons. Even the most die-hard, socially stunted, nerdcore gamers don’t usually ostracize a player because their character dies. They’re simply banished to the far reaches of the kitchen for 20 minutes, or however long it takes them to cook a frozen pizza and bring back some Mountain Dew. But being that this is an unbiased, well-rounded view of tabletop gaming, I’m sure everything works out for Marcie…
Despite Dungeons and Dragons being a much more social game than the media has given it credit for, this comic also seems to suggest that roleplaying is the exclusive domain of psychopaths, shut-ins, and people who are actively recruiting youngsters for demonic cults. On my personal blog I’ve mentioned past encounters with fantasy and Sci-Fi readers who have trouble drawing the line between reality and fiction. Some of these people also admit to having disturbed personality disorders long before they ever laced themselves into that first pair of adventuring pantaloons and wizard robe. According to Dark Dungeons, however, even a glimpse of Dungeons and Dragons can send a perfectly normal, well-adjusted schoolgirl spiraling into a realm of satanic delusion.
I don’t know if I can adequately explain the twisted love I feel for this comic. I’m fairly certain the author meant this to be a warning against the dangers of Dungeons and Dragons, and to bring more of his flock into the fold and away from the gaming board. But this is achieved in such a ham-handed, over-the-top way that I can’t help but cackle at it like Willy Wonka in a children’s burn ward. Every Chick Mag I’ve been handed by street-corner preachers has been a tiny nugget of ill-considered humor, but this one takes the cake, and then it uses E Coli frosting to teach you the dangers of eating cake.
And if that ringing endorsement doesn’t convince you to read Dark Dungeons (you can find it with a simple Google search) then this should do the trick…
Well said, Debbie. Well said.