Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 44.
- Review Date: 2009-11-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Columbia's legend over the last two decades has as much to do with the work he's destroyed or never finished as with the few spectacular, horrifying pieces that actually have seen publication. This, his first book, makes a point of being unfinished and unfinishable. These aren't actually stories about Pim and Francie, a pair of little-kid characters (drawn in a vintage animation style) who are perpetually stumbling into ghastly, wrenchingly violent scenarios: they're mangled fragments of stories, closeups of incomplete comics pages and animation storyboards, stained and crumpled sketches and notes. The book'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.” (His cartoon shorthand for destruction is a human tornado with lots of bent arms holding knives at daffy angles.) 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. (Nov.)