Re/Read: Pim & Francie by Al Columbia


Re/Read is an occasional column by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery curator Larry Reid examining backlist books you may have missed or deserve another look. This time we’ll examine the recently reprinted Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days by Al Columbia.

When I first got my hands on an advance copy of Pim & Francie I found it positively biblical. I carried it with me everywhere, often imploring complete strangers to behold the wonder of this amazing artifact. What at first glance appears to be a collection of exquisite drawings on a related theme soon reveals itself to be a tender, if terrifying, romance. Equal parts gothic horror and Disneyesque adventure set in a surrealistic dreamscape, this work is deceptively coherent. The sparsely worded narrative is driven by breathtakingly beautiful renderings – at once seductive and grotesque. Columbia has developed a substantial cult following over the course of his career. This book demonstrates the source of that devotion.

You can find Pim & Francie and other essential contemporary comix at Fantagraphics Bookstore, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in the heart of Seattle’s historic Georgetown arts community. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-557-4910.