Fred Carter – RIP

Religious cartoonist/artist Fred Carter has passed away.

Frederick E. (Fred) Carter
June 22, 1938 – May 9, 2022

From the Jack Chick Tract Museum Facebook page:

It is our sad duty to report that Fred Carter, the phenomenal artist who drew many of Chick’s tracts and all of The Crusaders comic books (as well as nearly 360 paintings for the “The Light of the World” film) passed away today from a lingering illness. Fred was also a minister as well as an artist… He worked for Chick from the early 1970s up until his death.

From Christianity Today:

His name did not appear on his art. Most of the millions who have seen it do not know who he is.

But Fred Carter’s art is unforgettable.

He drew bodies that were heavy—weighted with humanity and the possibility of redemption. He painted biblical characters who seemed real enough that their struggles and stories could be the viewers’ own. He depicted sin so that it was tempting; salvation so it mattered.

And his art was reproduced by the millions. It was distributed across the country and around the world while he remained in anonymity.

Carter—an African American artist who drew gospel tracts, evangelical comic books, and Black Sunday school curricula—died on May 9 at the age of 83.

He was the close collaborator of Jack Chick, pioneer of the popular evangelistic cartoons known as Chick Tracts. According to Christian Comics International, more than half of Chick Tracts were drawn by Carter.

His life changed in the early 1970s when a friend at church showed him something he had picked up in Chicago: a Chick Tract. It was most likely This Was Your Life or A Demon’s Nightmare, the most popular two titles from the newly founded Chick Publications. Though the style was wildly different than Carter’s—with simply drawn, slightly shaded figures—the 32- or 33-year-old Christian artist felt a thrill of recognition.

“I had always wanted to use art in a Christian setting,” he later said. “I saw it and it impressed me because that’s what I always wanted to do.”

Carter sent Chick a letter and some of his artwork. He moved to California in 1972 and started drawing tracts. A company photo from the following year shows a staff of 19 people. Carter was the only Black person.

“Carter had real chops as a draftsman, fashion sense, & an eye for drama,” Fred Sanders, theology professor at Biola University, wrote on Twitter. “His output was so thoroughly aligned with, & carried along by, Jack Chick’s own project that I can’t tell a bit of difference in their theologies.”

One thought on “Fred Carter – RIP

  1. The Chick tracts scared the crap out of me as a child. I was very afraid of burning in Hell for eternity. It did not sound fun. Much of the credit for filling my childhood with tremendous fear has to go to Fred Carter. Kudos!

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