Amnesia (comics)

Amnesia (comics)

"Amnesia" is an 8-page comic by Al Columbia. It was published in the twentieth issue (September/October 1997) of "Zero Zero".


Columbia's recurring character Seymour Sunshine is shown standing in the middle of a street, looking uncertain and ill at ease. The omniscient narrator introduces him as a victim of amnesia, and comments on his plight as he wanders confusedly through a landscape strewn with entrails and the carcasses of bizarre creatures. Stepping into an unfamiliar house, he responds hesitantly to a knock at the door, which proves to be his companion Knishkebibble the Monkey-Boy. Though he does not recognize him, Seymour follows Knishkebibble on a long overland journey to a fog-shrouded city. They find it inhabited by untold numbers of identical, cadaverous-looking men in suits with wrinkled, unsmiling faces. At first the men ignore the pair, but when the city's clock tower strikes on the hour the men's collective facial expression changes to a menacing grin and they begin to pursue Seymour and Knishkebibble, who run away in terror.

As the two interlopers cower in a hiding place, Seymour's memory is suddenly restored "with intoxicating clarity." He starts laughing with relief, insisting to Knishkebibble that "Those 'ghouls' are merely FIGMENTS of our own INTELLECT and can cause us no physical harm!" Speaking up loudly, he gets the attention of his pursuers, proclaiming them his "bond-slaves" and proposing that they can conquer the world under his command. The ghoulish men crowd around Seymour and Knishkebibble, still grinning menacingly and showing no signs of a change in disposition towards their prey. The final panel shows Seymour surrounded by the ghouls, his previously smiling face contorted into a nervous wince as he nonetheless asks "How'd you like "them" apples, eh?"

Analysis and criticism

"Amnesia" represents a step in the development of Al Columbia's artistic style. While earlier works such as "I Was Killing When Killing Wasn't Cool" and "The Blood-Clot Boy" used flat areas of color, in "Amnesia" Columbia used a combination of watercolor, acrylic paint, ink, charcoal, and digital tools [" [ "AMNESIA 'stillframe' painting #45"] . Comic Art Collective (via Accessed October 18, 2007.] to create minutely detailed chiaroscuro backgrounds that contrast with the cartoony look of the characters. As Paul Gravett commented: "Al works his flat, outlined Seymour and his pal into what look like soft focussed stills from some vintage black and white animated film. His bigfoot characters scurry about amongst period buildings and backgrounds that are richly textured and photorealist, bathed centre stage in glowing light, but shrouded in threatening shadow in the wings. He bans all speech bubbles and sets his perky text in eye-straining type above the image or in framed boxes." [ [ "Al Columbia: Columbia's Voyage of Discovery"] . "". Accessed October 18, 2007.]

Although the pictures in "Amnesia" can appear at a glance to be monochrome, the story is actually printed in two colors. An unsigned editorial in the final issue of "Zero Zero" noted ruefully that in this and similar stories such as "Alfred the Great" "Al was flirting with a two-color process that [cost] as much as any two-color process but was invisible to the reader." ["Editorial". "Zero Zero" #27 August 2000, 15.]


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