Bring in 'The Imp'
September 3, 2010 8:11 PM   Subscribe

Even though only four issues were published, Daniel Raeburn's 'The Imp' is widely regarded as a classic publication of comics criticism. Long out of print, he has now put them online for free. The four insanely comprehensive issues each cover Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, Jack Chick and Mexican Historietas (violent and bizarrely sexual comics-NSFW).

Ira Glass comments..

“It was clearly the work of an obsessed person, in the very best way possible. A really smart obsessed person. There was a kind of Talmudic completeness to the whole thing, in a way that journalism rarely even aspires to. Not much journalism tries to be so emotional, and funny, and analytical, and thorough. There’s really very little like it out there. The closest you get is one of those big stories they used to do in the old New Yorker, where at the end you feel like there’s nothing else that needs to be said on the subject. I read it admiringly and jealously. In the years since I read the Chris Ware issue I’ve actually become friends with Chris Ware, real friends, we talk all the time, and probably a third of what I know about Chris still comes from that issue of The Imp. It was that complete and emotionally insightful.”
posted by AzzaMcKazza (15 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite
When I end up getting my degree in contempary american religion i will teach Jack Chick using Imp. It is one of the best examples of treating as important and formal work that is morally odius.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:27 PM on September 3, 2010

When reading (the excellent!) Imp book on Jack Chick, make sure to check out some original source material; the D&D tract was one I found in my preteen years. Chick has been on the blue before (and waxpancake will probably appreciate this post).
posted by el io at 8:36 PM on September 3, 2010

Calling Jack Kirby a blockhead is an ultra-troll move. Nonetheless, this looks intelligent and interesting.
posted by Scoo at 8:39 PM on September 3, 2010

Neat. It'll take me forever to work though these, but a quick glance was fascinating.
posted by Forktine at 9:06 PM on September 3, 2010

For anyone interested in the Historietas there is this blog which is dedicated to the covers, the majority of which are over the top and absurdly NSFW.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 9:23 PM on September 3, 2010

For anyone interested in the Historietas there is this blog

That link doesn't go where it is supposed to.
posted by Forktine at 9:28 PM on September 3, 2010

Oh Noes! Here's the blog
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 9:35 PM on September 3, 2010

Heh -- I have The Imp.

I bought it at Pic-a-Book in Madison back in the day. Growing up we had tons of those Chick tracts (my mom was fundie - dad was atheist. heh) Anyways, I remember all those tracts, and when I saw that, realizing it was a parody or... something, I had to buy it.

I love the little reference at the back. It's a sweet little thing and I'm glad I found that little treasure at a now-defunct local bookstore (which also carried all kinds of sweet fuckin' newspapers from around the world and from all view points in the US).
posted by symbioid at 10:05 PM on September 3, 2010

These are really great, thanks AzzaMcKazza!
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:42 PM on September 3, 2010

Oh Noes! Here's the blog

Oh, so this is Jan Brewer's source for the beheadings. It says "Espeluznante hecho veridico" ("Terrifying true fact") right on the cover, so it must be true!
I'm sorry, Governor Brewer, for ever having doubted your word.

Wait a minute, it says "en Uruacan" that some weird Mexican word for "Arizona"?
posted by Skeptic at 3:51 AM on September 4, 2010

Yes, I went through a Jack T. Chick phase many years ago. Cartoonist Jim Blanchard loaned me a copy of The Imp, which caused me to see Chick's work as a weird sub-set of graphic novels.
posted by Tube at 5:28 AM on September 4, 2010

As a resident of the town where Chick publications is located (Just drove by it yesterday) I can attest to the oddity of it all. Chick publications shares it's a parking lot with a huge Custom Motorcylce store; so choppers, bikers and Crazed fundies all in one parking lot. It's surreal.
posted by Jaymzifer at 9:45 AM on September 4, 2010

thank you and thanks to the man behind the Imp. the Mexican issue lives in my nightstand bookcase but i'd resigned myself to never reading the others.

now if only CLAW HOLD was online...
posted by jtron at 10:49 AM on September 4, 2010

Thank you for this. I found the Jack Chick issue of "THE IMP?" in a comics store when it was new, and it taught me things about Chick and his flavor of Christianity that I did not know, and wouldn't find out easily from other essays.

It's how I learned that one of Jack Chick's few remarks on his personal history is, "When I was forty, my mother told me she tried to have me aborted." Later, I learned that Saddam Hussein's mother is said to have tried that as well. The lesson is clear and grim: some jobs, once started, have got to get finished.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Weeeelll I downloaded the four PDFs a few weeks ago and have been gradually working my way through them, and this evening I finally finished Imp #4. THANK YOU for this fpp. I'd never heard of The Imp before, and now I am So Ticked that there will never be an Imp #5.
posted by Ritchie at 8:17 AM on September 26, 2010

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