Robot 6

Al Columbia: Good news, bad news

Al Columbia's Pim & Francie

Al Columbia's Pim & Francie

If fans of mercurial cartoonist Al Columbia have learned anything over the course of his sporadic but storied career, it’s “get it while it’s hot.” He’s got talent to burn, but he burned out on Alan Moore’s Big Numbers, his groundbreaking work in Zero Zero and The Biologic Show has never been collected, and he kind of disappeared from the scene for a decade or so, infamously scrapping much of his own work before it could see the light of day. But after the recent release of his stunning art-comics-detritus collection Pim & Francie and signings at SPX and the Fantagraphics Bookstore, all is forgiven, right?

Let’s hope so, because it seems Columbia’s once again becoming an elusive commodity. First Columbia’s signing at Brooklyn’s Desert Island last Friday was canceled. Then, fellow artist Ashley Wood blogged that Columbia’s planned installment of the Sparrow art-book series from IDW has been canceled as well.

But all is not lost: Pim & Francie is out and is awesome, Providence’s Ada Books was still touting Columbia’s scheduled December 11th appearance there yesterday afternoon, and as Robot 6 has noted, Floating World is selling a jaw-dropping print by Columbia titled “Toyland.” (Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for the reminder.) Frankly, as long as the man produces work that looks like that, who cares what else he does (or doesn’t do)?

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5 Comments

The cover to Pim & Francie looks like a 1930s cartoon.

I love his work, but how the Hell does he put food on the table? Does a 4 page spread in Mome every 9 months or so pay $70k?

He updated his blog, and in it he said after the Fantagraphics signing he canceled all of his book signings. Knowing how much of a perfectionist he is, I didn’t even waste my time ordering the Pim & Francie w/ hand-drawn sketch set from Fantagraphics.com, since I’m sure he’ll never do them at best, or he’ll burn them in protect at worst. It’s a goddamn shame that an artist as talented as him is so utterly incapable of basic human function.

“so utterly incapable of basic human function”

because he canceled his book signings? get a grip, pal. it’s none of your business how he makes a living. al columbia doesn’t owe anybody anything, whether it be comics or an explanation for his “erratic behavior”.

Darvid,

Might want to look up what the term “rhetorical question” means when you get the chance.

All I know is what I’ve read online (a bit of a shut-in, self-loathing perfectionist), which seems to jive with the facts (canceled all of his book signings immediately after the 1st one, the smallest work output I’ve seen from any professional in comics still working today that is known to destroy his own work most of the time because it never meets his own standards (which keep in mind he find his own work incredibly disturbing)). He’s entitled to do whatever he wants, but you should expect a bit of a backlash when he continues to pull the same reclusive artist schtick for 15 years.

I still absolutely LOVE his work, but it almost seems like he’s in the wrong field.

I’m not sure being reclusive is a “schtick”. If it is, hat’s off. 15 years of ignoring comics nerds at conventions and signings. good for him.

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