Ten years Before Jack Chick’s Dark Dungeons, there was Hal Lindsey and Spire Christian Comics. Lindsey, who I mentioned briefly here, started a Christian ministry at UCLA in 1970 to target members of the hippie community. That same year he published The Late, Great Planet Earth, a bestselling smash that fit the global ills of the day into end times prophecy—this was 25 years before the Left Behind series debuted, mind you. The irony is that Lindsey used the same formula—simple, unassuming prose presenting provocative, faith-based ideas—made popular by Erich Von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods (1968) and other occult-related popular literature of the era.
The comic is based on the book of the same name, also published in 1974. I found the pages above at one of my favorite blogs, Garage Sale Finds, where you can and must read the whole comic. “The Great Snatch!!!” refers to the Rapture, for those not hip to the Jesus, and that’s not the last uncomfortably unwitting sexual innuendo in the book by a long shot. The comic is meant specifically to deter hippies from stuff that hippies like—there are a number of references and panels condemning drugs, as well as “free love,” all things occult, and, for some reason, martinis. But the comic also presents being “saved” during the Rapture as the most awesomely psychedelic event in the history of the universe.
My favorite bit describes the “bodily resurrection of the dead,” when we’re told that it doesn’t matter how messed up or decayed the dead body is: “even if it was chewed up by a man-eating shark—Christ puts it all together again.” How very specific! All in all, it’s just a real pleasure watching these beautifully-dressed white folks getting sucked up into the swirling, rainbow-streaked sky and chatting matter-of-factly about the whole thing. Sucks to be the guy swallowed in hell fire, I guess, but you can’t win ’em all.
Oh, and here‘s that kick-ass Larry Norman song.