« Nobody likes a clown at midnight. » — Stephen King
And now for a creepy tidbit with a sensibility at once contemporary and rooted in the somewhat faraway past — namely the 1930’s. From 1997, Amnesia drips from the mind and pen of the… unpredictable Al Columbia.
Born in 1970, Columbia…
« … started his career in comics at the age of nineteen, when he was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz. Together, they created ‘Big Numbers’. In 1992, however, the pressure of continuing this real-world, realistically painted comic series became too much for him. Al Columbia vanished, destroying the fourth issue of ‘Big Numbers’ he was working on, and nothing was heard from him until 1994. » [source]
Young Mr. Columbia then resurfaced with a new style more his own, and created The Biologic Show (2 issues, 1994-95, Fantagraphics). He also contributed a handful of striking short pieces to the publisher’s Zero Zero anthology, and this is one.
To my eye’s delight, the chief outside influence at work here is early cartoon talkies, in particular those produced by the Fleisher Brothers (Betty Boop, Koko the Clown, Popeye, Superman). In fact, I can easily envision Koko himself starring in this macabre vignette, though I sure would not wish it on the poor lad.
You won’t often hear me recommend video games, but there’s one that appears to draw from the same bottomless, poisoned inkwell as Columbia: Limbo (2012), brought to you by independent Danish game developer Playdead.
Take a look at Limbo’s official trailer.