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The Scariest Comic Books of All-Time! – I Was Killing When Killing Wasn’t Cool

A reader named Chris S. suggested that I devote October to the scariest comic books of all-time, as suggested by you readers out there! Sounds like a plan to me! So all October-long, I’ll be featuring 31 comic book tales of terror, based on YOUR suggestions! So e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com your scary suggestions! Here is an archive of all the comics featured so far!

Reader Jake Y. suggested that I spotlight Al Columbia stories in general, so it occurred to me that I make this a Columbia Day Weekend! Through Monday (today), I’ll be featuring three different Al Columbia horror stories from the pages of Fantagraphics’ Zero Zero anthology from the late 1990s. Today is the Columbia classic “I Was Killing When Killing Wasn’t Cool” from 1996’s Zero Zero #4 (probably THE most popular issue of Zero Zero ever).


This short story starred Columbia’s recurring characters, Seymour Sunshine and Knishkebibble the Monkey-Boy, in what would soon become a trademark of Columbia’s work – using the same basic visual approach as the Fleischer brothers cartoons of the 1930s only using the style to depict Columbia’s disturbing stories, thereby giving an even spookier effect than if Columbia used a more frightening style of art (Columbia acknowledges the stylistic homage by apologizing to the Fleischer brothers at the end of the story).

The set-up for the tale is that Seymour and Knishkebibble respond to an ad in the paper to collect a great sum of money for anyone who can get a pie from a psychotic piemaker who has already killed his own twin brother due to paranoia.

After a disturbing sequence, the pair succeed in killing the piemaker and entering his home, where things get a lot more disturbing (and no, there is no pie inside)…

I made sure each page can be expanded by clicking on it, so you can admire all the amazing detail Columbia puts into each page.

The finale of the tale somehow takes things to an even MORE insane level! If you can scrounge up this issue in the back issue bins, you won’t be sorry!

I wish Fantagraphics would just collect Columbia’s Zero Zero stories into a collection. It would be quite an awesome book.


That’s a great story. There’s another really strong piece in that issue from the alt-cartoonist (not the superhero artist) Jeff Johnson called “No Erect Penises.”

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 11, 2011 at 5:17 am

That grinning scary character reminds me of that nun with the nixon face in FELL.

I don’t know why, but both characters gives me shivers.

Where THE hell is FELL?

the grinning characters including the one in the black are chilling. hard to believe given al rep that no one has tried and collect his work in one trade.

Seriously, why have they not been collected? They are some of the best comics ever. Though, even if they were collected Zero Zero would still be my preferred way to read them. It was just the perfect format for his work.

Wow. Having read through all three of the posts for “Columbia Day Weekend”, this stuff seems like exactly the kind of thing I’m into. Now I’m upset at myself for never having seen his work before, and even more upset at the world for not having collected it all so I could BUY IT ALL RIGHT NOW.

Columbia also killed Alan Moore’s Big Numbers. He knows a lot about killing things.

Perhaps I am dumb but… I don`t get it.

Googam son of Goom

October 17, 2011 at 2:51 pm

That is really good stuff. Thanks for introducing me to it, I hadn’t come across it before.

christine gathercole

October 19, 2011 at 6:30 am

Alan Moore killed Big Numbers by writing it to begin with. Its the biggest flop that never was.

Man thank you soooo much for doing this. I’ll do just about anything to get Columbia noticied as I want a reprint of his anthology work soooo bad. I only have Biologic Show #1 and #2, a copy of Blam #10, and Pim and Francie. CMON FANTAGRAPHICS!

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