Sunday, 11 March 2012

Eddie Campbell Comics

After The Snooter (Bacchus #44, April 1999)
Art by Eddie Campbell

(from A Cerebus Preview of Eddie Campbell's self-published Bacchus, Cerebus #192, March 1995)
...I didn't so much talk him in to self-publishing as kick the spindly legs out from under all of the half-assed reasons he had for conducting his sorry excuse for a career in the way he did right up to the present day. The kicker was the day he was explaining that he doesn't like having all his eggs in one basket, career-wise. He spreads his creativity over a number of companies so that he isn't caught short when one of them goes tits up or is late paying the bills. "Oh," I said, sneering my best highland sneer, "The Johnny Appleseed Theory." Well, Eddie cracked up. He couldn't stop laughing... he was being so serious about this crap theory of how to keep his head above water, and with one little sneer (one little sneer, mind) I had him laughing at what a stupid, half-baked, witless git he had been.

(from a letter to Eddie Campbell originally appeared in Bacchus #46, August 1999)
Dear Mr Campbell,
Regarding the April, 1999 number of your periodical page 2 of After The Snooter in which a character identified only as Sim (which I take to be myself) enters your story in panel 1, inflates to the size of a small dirigible over panels 2 and 3 before subsiding to semi-human proportions in panel 4 and achieves a passing resemblance to myself just as I depart your story in panel 5... regarding this sequence, I find I have no rejoinder suited to it and I am forced to consider it a karmic repercussion for what I did to poor Greg Hyland in an early issue of Going Home - with an extra twenty pounds or so in panel 3 for good measure. So long as you're misremembering our fateful and life-changing visit, I hope you wouldn't mind if I had a go so that between this letter and your 5 panel in-depth memoir we might make of it a two-ply tissue of lies (as it were).

My own recollection is that you were led to seriously consider self-publishing first of all while Anne was preparing lunch and she offered the opinion over one shoulder: "It sounds perfect for you Eddie, with your compulsion to control everything." (Or words to that effect - not for the last time did I get to see Anne's high ironic wit go skimming over your crew cut as you retained only the flat assertion for future study). The second was at the fag end of the visit when we had gone to the hotel bar and I had noticed that they had vintage single malt whiskey for sale by the wee dram at prices completely unsuited to young fathers but well within the price range of ne'er-do-well divorced gentlemen. I have enough Scots blood in my veins to pick my phrasing carefully: "Well, I'm getting one. I'll get you one too, if you like or you can just sit there and eat your heart out watching me drink mine."

It was a 1963 Mc-something or other. As you sipped yours, I remember your brow unfurrowing for the first time during our visit, a smile of great serenity spreading across your mug and suddenly everything I had been saying about self-publishing began to make sense to you. "I should've tried the single malt first," I remember thinking to myself, "and we could've talked about something else for the last four days."

Eddie Campbell's autobiographical After The Snooter was originally serialised in the pages of his monthly self-published comic, Bacchus, and then collected in book form in 2002. Alec: The Years Have Pants, which collects all of Eddie Campbell's Alec stories including After The Snooter, is currently available from Top Shelf Productions

No comments: