If fans of mercurial cartoonist Al Columbia have learned anything over the course of his sporadic but storied career, it’s “get it while it’s hot.” He’s got talent to burn, but he burned out on Alan Moore’s Big Numbers, his groundbreaking work in Zero Zero and The Biologic Show has never been collected, and he kind of disappeared from the scene for a decade or so, infamously scrapping much of his own work before it could see the light of day. But after the recent release of his stunning art-comics-detritus collection Pim & Francie and signings at SPX and the Fantagraphics Bookstore, all is forgiven, right?
Let’s hope so, because it seems Columbia’s once again becoming an elusive commodity. First Columbia’s signing at Brooklyn’s Desert Island last Friday was canceled. Then, fellow artist Ashley Wood blogged that Columbia’s planned installment of the Sparrow art-book series from IDW has been canceled as well.
But all is not lost: Pim & Francie is out and is awesome, Providence’s Ada Books was still touting Columbia’s scheduled December 11th appearance there yesterday afternoon, and as Robot 6 has noted, Floating World is selling a jaw-dropping print by Columbia titled “Toyland.” (Thanks to Tom Spurgeon for the reminder.) Frankly, as long as the man produces work that looks like that, who cares what else he does (or doesn’t do)?