THE IMP? #2
by Dan Raeburn
1998, digest size, 65 pg.
What started out as a Daniel Clowes (author of Ghost World and Eightball) fanzine has turned into a catch
all title of the many interest of Dan Raeburn. No sooner than issue number two, Raeburn would turn his
attention from Clowes to another independent artist, Mr. Tract himself, Jack T. Chick. From the subtle to
For the few who haven’t yet bumped into Chick’s religious tracts, just picture a Russ Meyer-styled mini-
comic were the big boobs are replaced by the big fiery, almost phallic, holy cross, where the bad guys are
Satan and the Roman Catholic church and ‘the end times’ and teary orgasmic salvation is just around the
corner. He has already earned his name in the urban history books and, later, zine universe…though for
reasons that he might not care for, but, for a man who puts his religious heart and beliefs relentlessly on
his sleeve and poured into his soap opera tracts that can be found in laundry mats, phone booths and bus
stops the world over for so long, he really can’t pick and choose his audience any more. He has achieved
his life long mission….and then some.
The definition of religious propaganda just barely covers Chick’s intensity. In this issue, which is made out
as a large thick Chick tract, Raeburn fine tunes Chick’s own separate definition as religious pornography
or, to what he puts bluntly, “the Tijuana bibles of Christianity.”
I’m a big fan of any zine with a relentless curiosity and thorough research into the obscure. Candi
Strecker’s Sidney Suppey’s Quarterly & Confused Pet Monthly, her sadly unfinished 70’s tome What a
Beautiful Lifestyle, Beer Frame and John Marr’s Murder Can Be Fun are just a few that top this list. This
particular issue ranks up there as it raises Chick’s name well into the zineosphere.
Raeburn’s Chick examination is clear, humorous and informative despite very little official personal
information available and it seems Chick wants to keep it that way. Still, Dan is resourceful enough to
find a way around this road block with rare paint chips like old newsletters from Chick Publications and
an interview with filmmaker Dwayne Walker, who actually met Chick himself for a job interview for an
animated movie project Jack was planning.
Dan rounds out this issue with a useful ‘Chick-List’, a complete list of Chick’s tracts, and a ‘Dictionary –
Concordance’, an index of the Chick cannon that takes up almost half of this 65-page tract. There’s
another unofficial Chick book called ‘The World Of Jack T. Chick’ (Last Gasp) by Chick connoisseur
Robert B. Fowler that came out a couple of years after this Imp. However, should Fowler’s Chick book
with its obsessive nature and mammoth size on such an intense subject intimidates your nerves, hunt
down a copy of this Imp for a more casual and humorous guide to the world of…..ah, screw it…
You can now read this and the rest of
Raeburn's The Imp series HERE!
THE LAST PROM #2
by Ralph Coon
Digest, 1993, 22 pg.
….and while we’re on this religious fringe business, let’s not forget its mouthpiece, televangelists. They have been around for years, but it wasn’t until the antics of Jim and Tammy Fay Baker and Jimmy Swaggart in the 80’s that busted the door wide open for scrutiny from all levels, mainstream and independent. I remember my share of watching
compilation video tapes of Robert Tilton that included his reincarnation as Pastor Gas and witnessing footage of Rev. Jonathan Bell screaming at the top of his lungs at the camera for donations.
However, for all around character, I doubt that you can find anybody that can top the late Dr. Gene Scott! Dramatic, intense, relentless intelligence, he was the man with the plan that said he sure fucking can…oh, and he belted out the occasional f bomb when he’s pissed off. You might not agree with the material, but you have to admire the performance.
After writing about the history of drivers education films in The Last Poem number one, Ralph
Coon focused his attention on Scott. At the beginning of this issue, Coon tells of his brief yet intimidating brush with Scott’s ‘tom o’shanter’ dressed security team as he was leaving a video store located across the street from Scott’s main HQ/TV station in Glendale, CA. When Ralph
got into his car and took of the lens cap to his camera, he was swamped with the shanters,
demanding names and writing down his license plate. This would be the closest he would physically get to Scott.
Thankfully, Coon’s research was the next best thing as he details Scott’s family background
and his ascension up the holy ladder. One of my favorite tidbits, outside of Scott’s insane
quotes, is one about Scott’s father: “…the Scotts would move to Gridley, CA, where Gene’s
father would accept pastoral duties of a church whose previous minister had, trying to imitate
Christ, crucified himself on a tree.”
As Scott’s ascension got higher, so does the megalomania behavior and preoccupation with
lawsuits with Coon picking up the pieces for all to read. The assimilation of radio and TV’s
stations in the Bay Area and losing them, his takeover of KHOF-TV in Glendale, his failed fight
to steal and keep the Church Of The Holy Door and it’s iconic ‘Jesus Saves’ sign open in
Downtown LA, the lavish lifestyle he demanded his audience to pay for, the rare Werner
Hertzog documentary ‘God’s Angry Man’ and his famous fight with the FCC are all covered.
As a bonus, Coon includes a “romantic comic” with a loose plotline that includes Scott and the
title of the Hertzog doc. Don’t know if there where any further ‘Prom’ issues, but it’s well know
that Scott kept fighting the FCC to the last bitter seconds before his station was unplugged
and continued his belligerent ways until his death in 2005. Maybe, at last, that Hertzog
documentary will finally be officially released in these states.