The Imp, a great journal about comic books, now as free PDFs


Daniel Raeburn has done the world a favor by creating free PDF versions of his outstanding self-published journal about comic books, The Imp. Though he published only four issues (I have them all in hard copy) Raeburn's journal is regarded as a masterpiece of comic book criticism. Each issue covered a single subject: Daniel Clowes in Vol 1, Jack Chick in Vol 2, Chris Ware in Vol 3, and Mexican "historietas perversas" in Vol 4.

The Comics Journal called The Imp "One of the very best things to come out of comics."

Here's what This American Life creator Ira Glass said about The Imp:

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.

Stefan Jones, who also bought The Imp in hardcopy says,

The issue about Jack Chick is an amazing piece of journalism. It makes you feel some sympathy for the loon behind all of those hate-filled comic tracts.

Much of issue 3 was reprinted in a monograph about Ware. I prefer The Imp version, which resembles one of Ware's big-format comic collections.

Volume Four was mind-boggling. I'd never heard of the Mexican comics in question. I keep meaning to get my hands on some.

Download The Imp here