Al Columbia is a grand, once-in-a-generation cartoonist and a most unique and likable fellow. We each survived the Tundra years in various states of post-trauma confusion, but we survived, and I managed to coax a story out of him for Taboo before that wonderful, wretched experiment's death rattle was behind me.
We both went 'underground' from the comics scene around the same time, by sheer coincidence. In doing so, natch, we also lost track of one another. So it goes. I haven't seen Al in years -- we last got together in his apartment in Massachusetts in the late '90s -- but I miss him, and hope he's doing well.
I hope the world is being kind to you these days, Al.
This news just arrived, and I wanted to be sure fellow Al Columbia fans out there knew about it (compliments of John Rovnak of PaneltoPanel.net):
"THE LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS"
A RARE EXHIBITION OF ARTWORK BY AL COLUMBIA
Floating World Comics presents a rare and exclusive opportunity to view new work by the acclaimed and elusive artist Al Columbia. September's first Thursday will see the debut of "THE LAND OF BROKEN
HEARTS," marking the first public exhibition and appearance by the enigmatic artist in over a decade. The exhibition will feature a large collection of limited edition prints, original artwork, handmade books, and other ephemera from his Orange Sunshine Company, much of it created especially for this show. The artist will also participate in an informal Q&A during the event.
"THE LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS" is a new series of illustrations that serves as a preview for a new collection of work that Columbia will release in 2008 from Seattle's Fantagraphics Books. Floating World will have all of Columbia's published works to date on hand at the event, including The Biologic Show, Blab!, Mome, and Zero Zero.
The opening night reception will be documented on film by Kevin Belli, a Boston filmmaker who has been creating the documentary "Whatever Happened to Al Columbia?" over the last four years.
WHO: Al Columbia and "The Land of Broken Hearts"
WHAT: Opening Reception & Book Signing with the artist
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 6th, 6-10PM
WHERE: Floating World Comics
20 NW 5th Ave #101
Portland, OR 97209
"The Land of Broken Hearts" runs through Oct. 2
Floating World Comics is greatly honored to host Columbia, who will be visiting from his home in Connecticut. "I've been a fan of Al Columbia's since I first read his groundbreaking masterpiece, 'The Trumpets They Play'," says Floating World Founder Jason Leivian. Published in the anthology Blab! Vol. 10 in 1998, "The Trumpets They Play" has been hailed as one of the great short stories the comics medium has ever produced, retelling the story of the apocalypse from the Book of Revelations in a style that looked like stills from a 1930s Max Fleischer cartoon. The story caused an instant stir, and comics fans couldn't wait to see what Columbia would do next. Unfortunately, after "Trumpets" was released, Columbia more or less disappeared from the comics scene. This show will end a 9 year silence for him and offers his fans a very rare opportunity to meet him in person.
If you are interested in obtaining an interview or providing coverage of this event please contact Jason Leivian. A selection of digital imagery is also available in a variety of formats.
Floating World Comics
20 NW 5th Ave #101, Portland, OR 97209
Store hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11-7pm
If you're in the Portland area, be there -- this is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, folks.
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