Longtime Archie artist Al Hartley produced dozens of Christian themed comics in the 1970s and 1980s for religious publisher Spire. Even though his work isn't as (in)famous as that of contemporary Jack Chick, Hartley's worldview - a grim, inescapable nightmare of Satan, drugs, death, pollution, and global destruction - is even more startling because of the artist's cheerful, cartoony style. What is this Late Great Planet Earth that Hartley shows us? It's the Hal Lindsey version of Christianity, skidding towards God-ordained demolition. The only way out - the Jesus Escape Pod.
In this fallen world, violence and death lurk around every corner.
Also, kids are disrespectful to parents. I think.
Bearded strangers interrupt church with rhetorical questions, then drop dead.
Redheaded streetwalkers shock police with dirty pictures and smutty poems!
Lion Archie delivers insightful commentary concerning modern American culture!
Blonde hotties realize their life of sex and drugs is hollow and empty. Now I KNOW I'm reading a comic book.
And then... death!
Without Jesus, crazed lunatics are compelled to blast police in panels ghosted by Dick Ayers.
Contempt for political activism AND our revolving door justice system, all in one panel!
Oh, you thought he might make it, right? Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.
What's the cause of all this death and disobedience? Satan, of course, shown here starring in the George Lucas version of Genesis.
But if we resist Satan and follow Jesus, we can fix this old world right up! There isn't a social problem Jesus can't lick!
Nothing like bible study to stop those jailhouse cafeteria riots.
A politician mentioned God? Pack up the heroin and whores, boys, we're through in this town once somebody mentions God!
Clearly the signs of the imminent Second Coming of Jesus are all around us! All the hypnotized cult zombies say so! If you don't believe me, check out this handy chart that details exactly where the Bible mentions the United States! Oh, it doesn't? Well, never mind.
Mixing pop eschatology with the apocalyptic tenor of the times, Hartley's contempt for modern Amerikan deathkultur oozes from every panel. The Hal Lindsey end of the world didn't quite happen on schedule - but at least we got some kooky comics out of the deal.
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