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Category >> Al Columbia

Daily OCD: 12/7/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DeStefanoRichard SalareviewsRenee FrenchPeter BaggeJosh SimmonsJoe DalyJacques TardiIvan BrunettiHans RickheitDash ShawDaniel ClowesBlazing CombatBest of 2009awardsAl Columbia 7 Dec 2009 3:56 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• List: Your Official Selection nominees at the 37th Festival International de la Bande Desinée d'Angoulême include the French editions of Dungeon Quest Book 1 by Joe Daly (coming in May from Fantagraphics), Eightball by Daniel Clowes (a collection with no English analogue), and Misery Loves Comedy by Ivan Brunetti

• Lists: The Comics Reporter asked its readers to "Name Five Comics You Enjoyed This Year" — spot the Fantagraphics releases in the results

• Gift Guide/List/Plug: At Comic Book Resources, Kelly Thompson's "Awesome Women in Comics Holiday Gift List 2009" includes Ghost World by Daniel Clowes: "This tale of smart alternative teens just never gets old... Enid and Becky are both incredibly savvy teens that I think women can both relate and aspire to."

• Review: "The bewildering events of this fourth volume [of Delphine] race towards a stunning conclusion, one that is quietly horrifying, yet terrifying in its sadness. ... The fourth book is a must for those who have read earlier issues, but it will make the uninitiated really want Delphine." – Leroy Douresseaux, Comic Book Bin

• Review: "Fortunately for today’s readers, Blazing Combat — nearly impossible to find for over a generation — is now conveniently available and immaculately produced in hardcover from Fantagraphics.  Anybody who wants to read great great comics, war stories, or a superb tutorial in short form comics writing and unsurpassed comics illustration needs to read this one." – Michael C. Lorah, Newsarama

• Review: "It was, frankly, a nostalgic blast of fresh air to be able to read a graphic novel of Peter [Bagge]’s again, even if this is a series of unconnected pieces instead of a coherent narrative. ... Anybody who read Hate back in the day already knows to pick [Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me] up just because it’s Peter, and for you kids today who never read Hate, this is a good place to start with the guy." – Kevin Bramer, Optical Sloth

• Review: Greek site Comicdom seems to have a positive review of Pim & Francie by Al Columbia (the autotranslation is a bit mangled)

• Plug: "This is an uber-cool title by Jacques Tardi and Jean-Patrick Manchette... you can add this graphic novel West Coast Blues to the list of greats by this total fab (and late) French author." – Book Soup Blog

• Profilish: At Robot 6, Sean T. Collins gives an update on his "Sinister Six" alt-horror cartoonists, including Hans Rickheit, Josh Simmons and Al Columbia (Elsewhere: The Comics Reporter reviews Simmons's disturbing Cockbone mini)

• Profile: Possibly apropos of the above-mentioned nomination, French blog Beware looks at the work of Daniel Clowes in an article titled "Cynisme et Comic Books" (autotranslation)

• Plugs: Robot 6's Chris Mautner and guest columnist Charles Hatfield are both reading The Comics Journal #300; the former says "regardless of what kind of comics reader you are, there's something in here you're going to want to read," while the latter says "in good Journal fashion, [it] contains a lot to chew on and some stuff that I emphatically disagree with. It’s a great issue that leaves me with both a nostalgic wistfulness... and a keen desire to write about comics into the unforeseeable future!"

• Things to see: Dash Shaw's new minicomic (almost missed it)

• Things to see: Stephen DeStefano presents a selection of inspirations and references for his in-progress Lucky in Love

• Things to see: Just a reminder that Renee French continues to kill it on her daily art blog

Daily OCD: 12/4/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Stephen DixonrockPortable GrindhousePopeyePeanutsJacques BoyreauEC SegarBeastsAl Columbia 4 Dec 2009 2:30 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Like a Dog compiles several of [Zak Sally's] stories from the last 15 years in one sweet, annotated hardcover. I'm amazed by how the styles vary -- one minute Sally can talk about working in a punk-rock T-shirt shop, the next he's going on about Dostoevsky -- but most stories are quite compelling and, man, the guy is just so cool. Sally is an intensely personal writer, and I appreciate how much he reveals about himself within these pages. His work can get a little messy sometimes, but I say that's just another reason to like it." – Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY Pop Candy

• Review: "...[T]he work contained in [Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1] (and kudos to Fantagraphics on the excellent and handsome production work) constantly reminds you of just how stellar an artist Ditko would prove to be. ... For historians, both amateur and otherwise, who thrill to the prospect of seeing that maturity take place, this is the book for you." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6

• Plug: Jason Parker of Benevolent Street says "I will be buying [Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box] soon!"

• Plug: Mike Sterling calls Popeye Vol. 4 "Another collection of the classic strip, and it continues to be great."

• Plugs: Among the blogs taking note of our upcoming collection of Stephen Dixon stories What Is All This?: Condalmo, Thumb Drives and Oven Clocks, Converstaional Reading and Gurldoggie

• Things to see: A new music video from The Francies (a.k.a. Al Columbia — via Floating World)

• Monsters: On Jacob Covey's Beasts! Blog, an update from monster-hunter Ken Gerhard (interviewed in Beasts! Book 2) on the trail of Sasquatch!

• Monsters: Tennessee mayor loses his shit over "our muslim president" [sic] pre-empting A Charlie Brown Christmas (link via Eric Reynolds)

Daily OCD: 11/30/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Steve DitkoRobert CrumbreviewsPrince ValiantPopeyeNell BrinkleyLilli CarréKrazy KatJacques TardiHans RickheitGahan WilsonFrank ThorneDerek Van GiesonDame DarcyComing AttractionsBlake BellArnold RothAnders NilsenAl Columbia 30 Nov 2009 4:08 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions, first of the week, last of the month:

• Coming Attractions: Chris Mautner of Robot 6 got his hands on our Spring/Summer 2010 catalog and runs it all down for you

• Review: "Of all the comics published in 2009, none has deserved more acclaim... than You Are There. ... Tardi's art, which combines the liveliness and simplicity of the best cartooning with a well-observed realism is perfect for this kind of surreal tale. ... His work deserves to be read and will endlessly reward readers who seek it out." – Robert Boyd

• Review: "[Like a Dog] is a gloriously rough-hewn and hands-on collection from a compulsive cartoonist and storyteller packaged with the flair and imagination that has become a trademark of the world’s leading publisher of fascinating comics. ...Sally’s dedication to innovation, exploration and imagination will astound and entrance anyone who knows capital A Art when they see it." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

• Review: "[Strange Suspense: The Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1] is a cracking collection in its own right but as an examination of one of the art-form’s greatest stylists it is also an invaluable insight into the very nature of comics. This is a book true fans would happily kill or die for." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!

• Review: "Columbia's book [Pim & Francie] is positively festooned with frightening moments and tableaux... Any single upsetting image is a rosette on a much more ambitious and awesome-to-behold cake. Al Columbia has progressed to the point where he can haunt my nightmares for three days as an aside." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

• Review: "...The Complete Iron Devil is a humorous adult fantasy book with great art. However, it wouldn't be nearly as good if it weren't for the excellent Devil's Angel story, which points out the craziness of 'morality police.'" – Bernard C. Cormier, [here] (CanadaEast)

• Plugs: The Comics Reporter's Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide '09 is full of 'em

• Plugs: David Allen of the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin recommends some current classic comic-strip reprint projects, including Prince Valiant, Popeye, and Krazy & Ignatz

• Plug: The Paper Collector recommends The Brinkley Girls

• Plug: Polish blog kg looks forward to our next two Complete Crumb reprints (perfectly broken English courtesy Google): "And you need to know that to find and collect all the works of Crumb is as hard as winning for best player of the world, being Polish football player."

• Plug: "It’s like a bomb went off in the subconscious of Max Fleischer and Columbia was around to collect the pieces years later when they fell to earth. In this time of safe substitution power fantasies, Columbia’s work is truly provocative stuff. Funny, dark, and impeccably executed." – The Synesthetic Fugue Incident

• Plug: The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log takes note of Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons

• Interview/Things to see: Hogan's Alley not only shares an extensive gallery of Arnold Roth's Christmas card art over the years, they have a Q&A with Roth about it (via Drawn)

• Things to see/Events: Dame Darcy dances with a shark and plugs her latest doings and makings in her new blog update

• Things to see: Post-it art by Lilli Carré for the imminent Giant Robot Post-it Show

• Things to see: A store window painted by, and photos of an exhibit featuring work by, Anders Nilsen

• Things to see: Another glimpse of Hans Rickheit 's current work in progress

• Things to see: Behind the scenes of the creation of Derek Van Gieson's Mome story "Devil Doll"

Daily OCD: 11/27/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Zak SallyWillie and JoerockLinda MedleyJim BlanchardGilbert HernandezGary PanterDash ShawCharles M SchulzBill MauldinAl Columbia 27 Nov 2009 1:40 PM

Black Friday Online Commentary & Diversions:

• List: At NPR.org, Glen Weldon recommends "Tomes With Which to Tough Out Your Turkey Coma," including Linda Medley's Castle Waiting ("a wryly funny fairy tale narrative that's both women-centered and women-powered") and Gilbert Hernandez 's Palomar ("Dense, vividly realized and both literally and figuratively magical")

• Interview: Robot 6's Chris Mautner talks to Dash Shaw about The Unclothed Man in the 34th Century A.D., BodyWorld and other topics: "There’s a meshing going on between film/animation and comics. The meshing is happening in my own interests, the subject matter of my stories, the way my stories are created, and it’s been fueled a little by what’s going on outside of me..."

• Profile: Pop Culture Institute memorializes Charles M. Schulz on what would have been his 87th birthday yesterday

• Awards: Congratulations to Willie & Joe editor Todd DePastino, who won Fordham University's Sperber Prize for his excellent biography Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front, it was announced today

• Reviewer: At Comics Comics, Dash Shaw recommends a starting point for new shoujo readers

• Things to see: Jim Blanchard draws a real-life bronc-bustin' babe

• Tunes: The Inkstuds podcast presents another episode of cartoonists making music, this time featuring Zak Sally, Gary Panter, Al Columbia and a mess of Fort Thunderers

Daily OCD: 11/24/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsKevin HuizengaAl Columbia 24 Nov 2009 3:24 PM

As expected, a Huizenga-heavy Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days is a downright sadistic journey through the lives of its titular characters, playing out like fragments of a fairytale, had the rawer stories of yesteryear from the likes of the  Brothers Grimm been followed to their logical conclusions in the context of our hyper-graphic society, rather than having been hijacked by the likes of Walt Disney. ... The book succeeds rather well as both an introduction to the artist’s work and as a standalone art book. It’s simultaneously lush and sparse and terrifying and wonderful." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch

• Plug: "Ganges #3... [is] a journey through what's still adding up to be considerably less than a day in the life of observant Glenn Ganges, the narrative eye diving in and out of memories and perceptions and impressions and all the stuff that makes up human experience, serving to summarize all of Huizenga's experiments in comics storytelling so far. It's not what happens here but how it happens, the 'how' alone revealing the complexities of the person, a biography of craft-as-occasion, the hundred revelations to a man remaining still. Jokes too, and real police action." – Joe McCulloch, Jog - The Blog

• Plug: "Ganges #3:... Kevin Huizenga is just a terrific creator. I'd not be too far off comparing him to someone like Paul Grist, a real master of the page and composition, even if the styles and tones are wildly different. Grist is bombast and insanity and Huizenga is meditative and beatific." – "Lydia Park," The Rack (she's fictional, but that has to be someone's opinion, at least partly, right?)

• Plug: "Ganges #3... The likely book of the week in a very, very, very strong week overall. I don't think people will fall in love with this Kevin Huizenga effort the way they did the first two (and particularly the first one) in this great-looking Ignatz series, but it's as challenging and rewarding a read as those two initial books." – Tom Spurgeon, The Comics Reporter

• Plug: "Kevin Huizenga knocks it out of the park once more in this third issue of his ongoing Ignatz series from Fantagraphics. ...Huizenga manages to make the most mundane material come alive with his ingenious layouts and penetrating insight. I've never seen insomnia portrayed so agonizingly accurately or inventively. Seriously, to try to capture these kinds of everyday emotions and experiences in prose as well as he does here would be nigh-impossible." – Chris Mautner's "Pick of the Week," Robot 6

• Plug: "Ganges #3... [is] deliciously inventive... if you doubt that a story about someone trying to fall asleep could be fascinating to read and look at, do yourself a favor and have a look at it." – Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance

• Things to see: Kevin Huizenga's latest Amazing Facts... and Beyond! With Leon Beyond strip

Al Columbia silkscreen print
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under Al Columbia 23 Nov 2009 3:06 PM

Pim & Francie silkscreen print

Now available from Desert Island, this signed screenprint featuring Pim & Francie artwork by Al Columbia is limited to an edition of 60. Each print is individually hand-dyed in tea and oven-baked (seriously) for that aged look and unique textural variations on each print. Only 30 bucks!

Daily OCD: 11/23/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under The Comics JournalSupermenreviewsPortable GrindhousePeanutsPaul KarasikNoah Van SciverLove and RocketsJosh SimmonsJim WoodringJaime HernandezGipiFletcher HanksDerek Van GiesonCharles M SchulzBest of 2009Al Columbia 23 Nov 2009 2:55 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• List: Who says we don't publish superheroes? Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter counts several of our publications among his 83 Best Superhero Projects of the past decade: Supermen!, the two Fletcher Hanks books, Eightball #23, and"Ti-Girls Adventures" by Jaime Hernandez from Love and Rockets: New Stories (also mentioned: Josh Simmons's unauthorized self-published mini-comic... you know the one)

• Review: "[Pim & Francie]'s spine calls its contents 'artifacts and bone fragments,' as if they're what's left for a forensic scientist to identify after a brutal murderer has had his way with them; Columbia obsessively returns to images of 'bloody bloody killers.' ... Many of the pieces are just one or two drawings, as if they've been reduced to the moment when an idyllic piece of entertainment goes hideously awry. But they're also showcases for Columbia's self-frustrating mastery: his absolute command of the idiom of lush, old-fashioned cartooning, and the unshakable eeriness of his visions of horror." – Publishers Weekly

• Review: "With [Pim & Francie], Al Columbia has created not only one of the more unsettling works of horror in the medium of comics, but it also happens to be one of the greatest myth-making objects... Whether Columbia planned more complete stories for any of the efforts collected here is an interesting question, but for my money he has instead come up with dozens of nightmarish scenarios that have a greater cumulative effect by skipping set-ups or endings. The ending, one suspects, is always going to be a variation of horrific death and dismemberment." – Christopher Allen, Comic Book Galaxy

• Review: Hillary Brown & Garrett Martin of SHAZHMMM... try to figure out what to talk about when they talk about You Shall Die by Your Own Evil Creation! by Fletcher Hanks

• Analysis: The Funnybook Babylon podcast discusses the upcoming changes to The Comics Journal. I haven't screened it; I hope they're nice about it

• Analysis: Oliver Ho of PopMatters compares the new book Celebrating Peanuts to other landmark Peanuts publications, including our Complete Peanuts series

• Plug: "I am not nostalgic for VHS... However, where VHS leaves a trace, it is surely through the covers... In December Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box appears... the book looks quality." – Forgotten Silver (translated from French)

• Links: I'm proud to be credited as the primary source in essential Love and Rockets fansite Love & Maggie's latest link-dump mega-roundup, but there's plenty of stuff in there that I've missed so hop to it! They do good work over there

• Things to see: The cavalcade of new Jim Woodring panels continues: more jungle, odd machinery

• Things to see: At Covered, Noah Van Sciver takes on a 1975 OMAC cover by the King

• Things to see: Matthew Forsythe pays homage to Gipi's Wish You Were Here #1: The Innocents

• Things to see: Outtakes from Derek Van Gieson's Mome story "Devil Doll" (also, sketchbook stuff)

Cartoonist tunes
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under rockRobert CrumbPeter BaggePaul Hornschemeiermary fleenerDaniel ClowesChris WareArcher PrewittAl Columbia 20 Nov 2009 2:19 PM

Can You Imagine?

The new episode of the Inkstuds podcast is a special treat: an all-music show featuring music by cartoonists. The playlist includes: The Action Suits! Peter Bagge's Can You Imagine?! Al Columbia's The Francies! The mysterious Extravagant Bachelor! The Crumb Family! Archer Prewitt! Chris Ware! Paul Hornschemeier's Arks! Mary Fleener's Wigbillies! And (drum roll)... Blueshammer! Awesome.

Daily OCD: 11/18/09
Written by Mike Baehr | Filed under reviewsPeter BaggeJim BlanchardJacques Tardihooray for HollywoodGene DeitchAl Columbia 18 Nov 2009 2:04 PM

Online Commentary & Diversions:

• Review: "[Dan Nadel:] Reading Pim & Francie is an apocalyptic experience — as if Columbia is demolishing both his own work and the idea of 'cartooning' in general. I found it exhilarating and terrifying. ... [Tim Hodler:] ...The fact that so many of these grotesque stories and vignettes don't really resolve contributes to the reader's growing sense of unease. ... Al Columbia's comics... really bring out the surreal terror already buried within cartoon imagery. ... [Frank Santoro:] Pim and Francie's adventure struck a chord in me that's been dormant for a long time. A haunting wonder, perhaps? A curiosity of the unknown that, when found, rattles one to the core?" – Comics Comics critics' roundtable

• Plug: "...Peter Bagge's recent collection of libertarian cartoons from Fantagraphics, Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations is much funnier than libertarian cartoons have any right to be." – Paul Constant, The Stranger

• Video: Visa denial (for shame!) forced Gene Deitch to deliver his keynote address to China's Xiamen International Animation Festival by video; Cartoon Brew shares the clip along with the text of the speech Gene would have given in person

• Hooray for (the French equivalent of) Hollywood: Comix 411 takes a look at Luc Besson's in-production film adaptation of Jacques Tardi's Adèle Blanc-Sec (which Kim flogged about a few weeks ago); for the Francophones among you, TF1 has some behind-the-scenes video footage

• Things to see: Jim Blanchard's commissioned portrait of Roky Erickson

Limited Al Columbia Print From Floating World Comics
Written by Jacq Cohen | Filed under Al Columbia 16 Nov 2009 1:07 PM

Check out this killer Al Columbia print produced by Floating World Comics.

Toyland by Al Columbia

 From the Floating World Comics website:

"TOYLAND by Al Columbia

Pim & Francie is already receiving advance praise from folks like Spike Jonze.  Jim Woodring’s drawing group, Friends of the Nib, is calling it 'book of the year.' 

Al’s always working on something new and amazing, whether it’s music, filmmaking, comics, or in this case, painting.  Al showed me a photo of this new painting he was working on and I became immersed in the labyrinth of frayed facade and haunting beauty.  We were proud to feature it as the centerpiece of the new issue of Diamond Comics.

To commemorate the release of Al Columbia’s new book, Floating World has teamed with the artist to produce a limited edition series of archival prints of this latest painting, Toyland.  The giclee prints are just $200 each, printed on museum quality paper measuring 18″x24″; the artwork is 15″x20″.

We only made 25 copies of this incredible image, and each was signed and numbered by the artist at his recent book release party at the Fantagraphics store.  Orders will be filled in numerical order starting with number 3 of 25 (#1 and #2 already sold).  They will be shipped securely in a tube.  Click on the paypal link below to place your order." 

Buy it here