Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Family of Love Promo Comic
Spiritual Love Goes Physical
In the early 1980s I found this exceedingly odd comic-style pamphlet on the ground at a street fair. I will read anything in comics format (even Jack Chick comics!), so I studied this strange mingling of soft-core porn and Christian proselytizing with increasing disbelief. The comic came from the Family of Love, a cult which began in the 1960s as the famous (one might say notorious) Children of God.
The history of the Family, which continues today as The Family International, may be found in this Wikipedia article. Suffice it to say that the cult was started by one David Berg (who was not working for Mad magazine). Its members lived communally, studied Scripture, and apparently enjoyed considerable sexual liberty.
In 1974, Berg (aka "Father David") conceived a proselytizing tool for the new age, "flirty fishing." Female Family members were encouraged to find love-starved males through escort services and share God's love with them physically. By chance many of these liaisons involved money passing from saved to savior; this point led to later accusations that the Family ran a prostitution ring. Read the details in the Wiki article.
It's interesting to note that the Family shared a trait with many other sexualized cults through the years. Some old guy, touched by God, suddenly found himself surrounded by available young (allegedly sometimes very young) women. Given my advancing years, I've concluded this might be a good time for me to consider starting my own cult.
"Is Love Against the Law" justifies and promotes flirty fishing without naming it. Perhaps the Family figured men would read the comic, then join the cult in hopes of finding busty girls taking notes while wearing transparent shirts. The 8-page strip was offset-printed on both sides of a 6-1/2 by 11-1/2 inch sheet of paper. The paper was folded into four segments in an arcane manner that made it easy to read the story out of sequence. Art was credited to "Zebulon Geppetto." The only reference I found to ZG on Google was in the Family's archived correspondence. Someone had chastized him for illustrating a "false" story criticizing Berg and the cult. ZG credited the cover layout to a co-worker, "Eman Artist."
All things considered the artwork is pretty good for an amateur comic. It surely beats the clunky stuff in Jack Chick mini-comics. But Jack Chick would consider the Family allies of the Devil, and the Devil always seems to get the best artists.