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Al Columbia
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message 1: by Bill (last edited May 21, 2020 10:54AM) (new)

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1228 comments Al Columbia is probably one of my favorite writer/artists working in dark/horror comics. For an overview of the earlier part of his career, I can't do better than Paul Gravett's excellent article:
http://www.paulgravett.com/articles/a...

Briefly, Doghead is early work, still interesting. The Biologic Show, Number: 0 and The Biologic Show, Number: 1 are where we see his distinctive style emerge. He hardly bothers with narrative; the incredible black and white drawings are overwhelming in their intensity.



Those two panels are embedded in this surreal and queasy page (more in the blog post):
https://lars.ingebrigtsen.no/2016/06/...

After Biologic Show, Columbia's work appeared for some years in various anthology comics. His style also seemed to be evolving, from the previous relentless harshness of the B&W work, to an equally unsettling style with color, and makes references to vintage animation cels. My favorite from this period is probably Blood-Clot Boy in Zero Zero #16, with its naive folk tale story which occasionally explodes in ultra-violence. Blood-Clot Boy has its own wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blo...

A page:


Other Columbia stories appeared in Zero Zero, Blab, MOME etc. For a more substantial chunk of his work, we had to wait for Pim and Francie: The Golden Bear Days. While I enjoyed this, it's not my favorite, with minimal stories, and a more overtly "cute" look. More Pim and Francie:

http://hifructose.com/2013/06/17/al-c...

AFAIK, Columbia's most recent book is Amnesia: The Lost Films of Francis D. Longfellow. This is again a bit of a departure, supposedly a "newsletter" containing demented movie posters, cartoons, etc, in a range of styles. The Comics Journal review has some good excerpts:

http://www.tcj.com/reviews/amnesia-th...

Needless to say, being an Al Columbia fan can be a rather frustrating calling. We are lucky to see a little new work every few years, and these are usually scattered over anthologies. For example, I don't have any of his work in the MOME anthologies, and would love to hear from Columbia enthusiasts with good recommendations. Maybe Fantagraphics or someone will put out a book of his uncollected strips sometime. I can dream.


message 2: by Samuel (new)

Samuel Moss (perfidiousscript) | 64 comments Nice post BIll, thanks for compiling this!


message 3: by S̶e̶a̶n̶ (last edited May 22, 2020 06:58AM) (new)

S̶e̶a̶n̶ (nothingness) | 98 comments Yeah, thanks, Bill! Although like you I'd like to see such a collection (or just more of Columbia's work in general), there remains something irresistible to me about artists, writers, musicians whose work is infrequent, scattered, obscure, and/or hard to find. It's almost like bringing too much of their work out into the light would cause irreparable harm to either them or their work.


message 4: by Bill (new)

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1228 comments Glad you enjoyed the overview, Sam and S̶e̶a̶n̶!

S̶e̶a̶n̶ wrote: "... there remains something irresistible to me about artists, writers, musicians whose work is infrequent, scattered, obscure, and/or hard to find. "

Me too. I guess we can be masochists of sorts in that regard. (And I love fiction/films about dark and dangerous quests for the lost work of some mysterious creator...)


message 5: by Forrest (new)

Forrest | 3 comments Bill wrote: "Glad you enjoyed the overview, Sam and S̶e̶a̶n̶!

S̶e̶a̶n̶ wrote: "... there remains something irresistible to me about artists, writers, musicians whose work is infrequent, scattered, obscure, and..."


Count me in on the "hate myself for loving too much" train in regards to Al Columbia's work. In my perfect universe, he would team up with Brother's Quay and they would release a feature-length film that would send the world spiraling out of the sun's orbit and into the void, eventually being stretched into a piece of spaghetti by a black hole.

If you're going to go, go big.


message 6: by Bill (new)

Bill Hsu (billhsu) | 1228 comments It's out!
http://www.tcj.com/reviews/the-biolog...

I will obsessively check my mailbox several times a day now.


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