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Al Burian Goes to Hell

By Leroy Douresseaux
July 12, 2010 - 09:27

Al Burian Goes to Hell cover image

I don’t know if Al Burian and Microcosm expected anyone to describe Al Burian Goes to Hell as charming.  Al Burian Goes to Hell is a loose comic book interpretation of Dante’s Inferno (the first part of his Divine Comedy), with a cartoon version of Burian standing in for Dante.  This is also a new printing of an apparently much sought after publication by Burian, a noted zinemaker and rock musician.

Burian journeys through a hell that is a starkly black and white version of the cartoonist’s own personal torments at the time he created this comic book.  These torments were work, art school, the meaning of life, and his college thesis, among other things.  Of the many questions that plague Burian, the most prominent seem to be “What’s the point?” and “Why does my life suck?”

Normally, I’d be put off by this.  I’ve read more than my share of autobiographical and personal reflection comix created by indie, small press, alt-comics, self-published cartoonists.  [God, I’m not that fascinated with White people.]  Well, that’s where the charming comes into play.  Burian has a way of making even the terminally morose seem sparkling and witty.  Instead of being sarcastic and snarky, like so many people complaining about how awful everyone or everything around them is, Burian seems so matter-of-fact and resigned that his tribulations and the way he worries about them seem funny.

Maybe, I’m not supposed to laugh, but Al Burian Goes to Hell is surprisingly entertaining and, on occasion, even illuminating.

Migraine, PO Box 14332, Portland, OR 97293


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