This gorgeous grimoire is part alchemy, part art book, part storybook, part comic book, and part conceptual art from the pen of Al Columbia, a longtime fan favorite contributor to comics anthologies like Zero Zero, Blab!, and more recently, Mome. Collecting over a decades worth of artifacts, excavations, comic strips, animation stills, storybook covers, and much more, this broken jigsaw puzzle of a book tells the story of Pim & Francie, a pair of childlike, male and female imps whose irresponsible antics get them into horrific, fantastic trouble. Their loosely defined relationship only contributes to the existential fear that lingers underneath the various perils they are subjected to. Columbia's brilliant, fairytale-like backdrops hint at further layers of reality lurking under every gingerbread house or behind every sunny afternoon. Never have such colorful, imaginative vistas instilled such an atmosphere of dread, and with such a wicked sense of humor.
This is a comprehensive collection of Columbia's Pim & Francie work, including paintings, comics, character designs, and much more, all woven into something greater than the sum of its parts, with Pim & Francie careening from danger to danger, threaded together through text and notes by the artist.
This is the first book collection by Columbia, a well-regarded talent amongst longtime fans of the alternative comic book scene, and one who will thrill an entirely new audience with the singular, inspired, fully-realized fantasies within Pim & Francie.
"[Columbia's drawings are] showcases for [his] 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
"Columbia’s book Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days strings together 200-odd (very odd) pages of sketches, strips, panels, and spot illustrations, assembled into one long nightmare-narrative about two loose-limbed tots wandering through a village of lusty killers and bleeding trees. There are no explanations here, and few conventional payoffs — just images designed to remind readers what it was like to be a panicked, paranoid child, convinced that every nighttime shadow contained a beast more menacing and repulsive than any grown-up could conceive." — The A.V. Club
"Pim and Francie are a boy and a girl right out of early animation: crisply drawn in a handful of stock positions, with big shoes and three-fingered gloves, and usually identically posed when shown together, except when one or the other is in a chopped-up state. Chopped-up? Well, their grandpa and grandma as well as the Bloody Bloody Killer often turn up flourishing big knives and straight razors. This is all done in black and white, of course, like the early, silent, deadly Felix the Cat cartoons, and also in various apparent states of wear, tear, and draftsmanship (penciled, inked, half-inked, overlaid, palimpsest). Only vaguely narrative, nightmarish, but fascinating, especially for connoisseurs of pure cartooning." — Booklist
"The comics definition of gestalt, Pim & Francie may appear to be a book of random jottings, but don't let that fool you. Treat this barbed landmine like a book and you will be richly rewarded. Treat it like a sketchbook and end up with your hands lopped off and your mind empty. You have been warned." — Paul Karasik