Pim & Francie
Dec 16, 2009 Web Exclusive
Successful art engenders powerful emotion in its observers. How do I know that Al Columbia's Pim & Francie is an amazing work of art? Because it seriously made me feel ill. Uncomfortable. It made me question my sense of aesthetics; played havoc with my expectations. It's unquestionably an amazing book. Not sure I'd call it "enjoyable," but why should it be? Sure, there are moments of mirth, in the context of a horrific backdrop, a world with a macabre soul.
There's no plot, nor really a story to speak of. There are recurring images and characters, not always presented sequentially; threads are picked up and dropped with every turn of a page. Definitely an art book, not a comic book, though it uses the trappings of one. Actually much of the imagery is evocative of 1930s cartoons, of cute imps in clothes with big buttons, skipping away from knife-wielding fiends and grotesqueries that must be seen to be believed. And deserves to be seen, in fact. Just make sure that when you check it out, you do so on an empty stomach. (www.fantagraphics.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 8/10