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The Blood-Clot Boy

For the mythological figure see Blood Clot Boy.
"The Blood-Clot Boy" is a 6-page comic by Al Columbia. It was published in the sixteenth issue (April/May 1997) of Zero Zero.

Synopsis

The wealthy Count and Countess Borovsky give their lovely conjoined twin daughters' hand in marriage, along with their home and fortune, to a visitor who claims to be a distant family relative. Although he offers assurances that he will care for the Count and Countess in their old age, their new son-in-law soon begins to neglect them, and taunts and abuses them with the willing participation of his bride(s). Left to forage for food, the Count secretly observes his son-in-law slaughtering a yak, and steals a large clot of blood from the animal's butchered remains. When he puts the clot into a pot of boiling water to make soup it magically turns into a small boy, who grows to the size of a normal eight-year-old in a single night. After hearing of his "parent"'s plight, the Blood-clot boy kills the son-in-law and the twin daughters. Having restored the Count and Countess to their place, he sets out to wander and see the world.

Heading to the nearest town, he finds it is under the control of the goblin-like "Brownshirts", who fly their "peccant, yet strangely attractive banner" in the center of the town. The Blood-clot boy fights the Brownshirts using his (unspecified) magical powers and kills all but one of them, who he leaves tied up as an object for public ridicule. Moving on, while a lake he is swallowed by the Windsucker, a giant aquatic beast that disguises itself as an unremarkable rock. Inside the beast's stomach he finds other people who have been swallowed like him. With their help he kills the Windsucker by burrowing through its brain. After this escape he determines that "this is my business in the world! To kill off all the bad things!"

Next the Blood-clot boy encounters a witch who asks him to wrestle with her. Seeing that the ground where she proposes to wrestle is covered with hidden blades that she would use to kill him, he forces her onto the blades himself, and they cut her body in half. Finally he comes to "the blackest place on earth: the home of the Man-eater." Outside the house, the Blood-clot boy meets a young girl and tells her to perform a ritual that will revive him if he should die in his encounter with the Man-eater, who is revealed to be an apple-cheeked, kindly-looking old man. The Man-eater kills and devours the Blood-clot boy and the girl revives him; this repeats many times before the Blood-clot boy finally defeats his nemesis. He and the girl end up living happily together and having many adventures.

Analysis & criticism

"The Blood-Clot Boy" was the second of Columbia's stories to appear in Zero Zero. It has a two-color scheme similar to that of its predecessor "I Was Killing When Killing Wasn't Cool". While that story was nearly wordless, "The Blood-Clot Boy" features an arch, loquacious narrator whose words appear in text captions interspersed among the drawn panels, a format Columbia would continue to use in later works such as "Amnesia" and The Pogostick. Paul Gravett wrote that Columbia "narrates this [tale] in jaunty storybook fashion in densely typeset captions and hand-lettered balloons, like some nasty Struwelpeter [sic]-style primer to terrify children into good behaviour.

"The Blood-Clot Boy" is loosely based on the stories about a character of the same name in Native American folklore.

Citations

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