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Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days: "The Golden Bear Days" by [Al Columbia]

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Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days: "The Golden Bear Days" Kindle & comiXology

4.7 4.7 out of 5 stars 111 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Pim and Francie are a boy and a girl right out of early animation: crisply drawn in a handful of stock positions, with big shoes and three-fingered gloves, and usually identically posed when shown together, except when one or the other is in a chopped-up state. Chopped-up? Well, their grandpa and grandma as well as the Bloody Bloody Killer often turn up flourishing big knives and straight razors. This is all done in black and white, of course, like the early, silent, deadly Felix the Cat cartoons, and also in various apparent states of wear, tear, and draftsmanship (penciled, inked, half-inked, overlaid, palimpsest). Only vaguely narrative, nightmarish, but fascinating, especially for connoisseurs of pure cartooning. --Ray Olson --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B01IQD97CO
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Fantagraphics (January 25, 2017)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ January 25, 2017
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 550222 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Not enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 220 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 4.7 out of 5 stars 111 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
111 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 7, 2009
10 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 24, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Once-in-a-generation brilliance
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 24, 2019
Funneling Gottfredson-style, seminal black-and-white Disney illustration into an uncanny deconstructionist woodchipper, Pim & Francie's nonlinear glimpses into a grotesque cartoon infraverse is the reading equivalent of stumbling onto a pile of grimy film negatives in a darkened alleyway, holding up a few unspliced pieces to the dim light, and finding scenes of an unfinished silent-era cartoon about two psychotic cherubim and their misadventures in a darksome, upside-down comix nightmare. Junji Ito looks like Bill Watterson when Columbia picks up the brush.

With each lurch of the film reel, the world(s) are remade; Pim and Francie's behavior & relationship inverts; events are undone and rewritten with fresh atrocities. I found I could not read its sporadic dialogue without my imagination superimposing the hissing and popping of an old film reel over its characters' distorted voices.

The meta-narrative techniques of severed panels, incomplete pages, scrawled margin notes, snatches of "capsule" stories written in crabbed & barely-visible handwriting, the skeletal pencil scaffolding underlying partially-inked pages, interludes of beautiful, realistically-rendered paintings depicting a desolate counter-reality, abrupt shifts in time & locale, monstrous one-off characters and scenarios alluding to still darker possibilities -- all conspire to imbue one's reading with the vertiginous sense of gazing over the brink and into some backward twilight world one was never meant to see.

In this Ub-Iwerks-cum-David-Lynch fever dream broods an atmosphere wholly unique in my experience of the medium; Pim & Francie is bar none one of the most fiercely original comics I've ever read.
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Customer image
6 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 31, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 22, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 16, 2014
5 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 1, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 19, 2018
One person found this helpful

Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Horrific, I love it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on February 9, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars Either you get it or you don't.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on December 1, 2012
4.0 out of 5 stars What Walt Disney's nightmares would look like.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on January 17, 2014
One person found this helpful
R. Sohi
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter at your own risk
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on July 4, 2017
Michael D'Amour
5.0 out of 5 stars Al Columbia a un grain mais le bon. ;)
Reviewed in France 🇫🇷 on November 23, 2013
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