Posts Tagged ‘Eddie Campbell’

THIS WEEK IN COMICS! (7/21/10 – Britain & Sweden: War of the Invading Forces)


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

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Following up on last week, above we see artist Richard Corben working from a story by the late Harvey Pekar, as presented in 2006’s issue #2 of the first Vertigo iteration of American Splendor; a second series followed in 2008. Collectively, those eight issues were the last of Pekar’s work to see print in the comic book format — although they followed a prominent bookshelf-ready Vertigo release in 2005’s The Quitter, drawn by Dean Haspiel — and often had the feel of a valedictory effort, with a occasional propensity for teaming Pekar with hopefully simpatico ‘name’ artists, like Gilbert Hernandez or Darwyn Cooke.

Corben illustrates a five-page Halloween story which, in true Pekar fashion, ambles into a small domestic drama about searching for a lost pair of glasses the day after a party. The effect of this subject matter on the art is interesting; stripped of any overt supernatural or fantastical image potential, extra attention is drawn to how Corben’s stylized figures hang weightily in space, initially standing in claustrophobic rooms draped with midnight holiday shadows (see left), but then moving outdoors with Pekar’s narrative into white-heavy space, cold and aloof (perfect for hiding misplaced items) and quietly threatening, like sharp leaves and twigs surrounding grumpy vulture Harvey above, externalizing his eternal anxiety ($150!!) as nature itself threatening him with yet another poke. That’s just how Harvey’s world could seem in these comics, mundane to some but likewise potentially transformative for collaborators, in that we might suddenly see nothing but ably wrinkled humans scanning their model-like world, a vulture by a tree, wondering what to do, or maybe pondering which created which, man or world? Writer or artist?

Other artists, and worlds, of course, might resist. Witness Eddie Campbell, as crucial a practitioner of autobiographical comics as Pekar, but full of fancy and romance and fiction, sharply apart from the self-consciously unadorned vignettes and monologues and encounters of the comic book American Splendor. Above you’ll see the bottom half of the second and final page of a Pekar/Campbell collaboration, from the same issue as the Corben story. Harvey has bought some pierogies at the store, and become engaged in a chat with a bagger on trombonist Jiggs Whigham, whose father was a policeman. Our Man reminisces about the old Famous Funnies series Juke Box Comics, in which real popular musicians would get into adventures. Suddenly, the final ‘panel’ is protruding downward from the talking heads above, and Benny Goodman is racing around Pekar’s narrative in a wordless escapade, anticipating the (literally) extra-narrative, occasionally extra-mortal antics of Campbell’s 2008 The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard with Dan Best.

But make no mistake – this might look like crime fighting, but it’s as much a jailbreak. From Harvey Pekar.

Additional splendor of every construction and connotation follows:

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Proto-Graphic Novels: The Prequel


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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In the aftermath of Jeet’s recent post on “proto-graphic novels,” the inimitable Eddie Campbell has generously agreed to let us post his excellent review of an A. B. Frost collection, Stuff and Nonsense, and Rodolphe Töpffer’s Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck. The essay originally ran in the 260th issue of The Comics Journal, from May/June 2004. As usual, Campbell’s voice is unmistakable, and his ideas are ignored at the reader’s peril.

Jeez, I’m making this sound too frightening. It’s actually quite funny. As the Coca-Cola company so memorably put it: Enjoy.

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What’s the Difference Between “Pictorial” and “Graphic”?


Saturday, November 3, 2007

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Don’t mistake this astonishing work [The Arrival] by Australia’s Shaun Tan for a picture book, even though it consists of nothing but pictures. At 128 pages, it’s what could be called a pictorial novel, since the usual label — graphic novel — suggests more of a manga- or comic-style book, bristling with text.

–Elizabeth Ward, The Washington Post

Oh good, another category! If this catches on, we’re in for a new round of many, many wonderful arguments. Where’s Eddie Campbell?

UPDATE: Campbell responds (!)

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Stop Gaps


Thursday, July 6, 2006

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Here’s the problem with running a magazine and a blog: there’s just not enough time. I’m in the midst of closing my Brian Chippendale and Julie Doucet books and editing the next Ganzfeld. Things are hectic. That said, I have been meaning to write a lengthy blog entry on some new Manga and Scott Pilgrim. So much so that I keep carrying the books back and forth from home to office and back again, looking for the spare hours to sit down and write. I expect to find them over the weekend. Until then, here’s a totally lame list format blog entry.

Current Comics Reading List (from memory):

Enigma by Peter Milligan. This odd 90s relic from Vertigo Comics is, well, really odd. I hope to write about it extensively when I’m done.

Sub-Mariner in Tales to Astonish. Bill Everett rules.

I tried to read Civil War from Marvel, just to see…like dipping a toe in the ocean. Man, what a drag. Superhero comics these days are so dour. This is no exception. Kinda boring and short on any real appeal or insight.

Monologues for the Coming Plague: A remarkable new book from Anders…it has the kind of light hearted philosophical heft of William Steig books from the 40s and 50s. Searching, funny cartoons.

William Steig original drawings at Adam Baumgold Gallery. 13 original drawings from The Lonely Ones. These are more lush, striking and daring than I ever imagined, and I already loved the book. Steig, like Steinberg, burns so bright on the page.

Power of 6 by Jon Lewis. One of my favorite cartoonists from the early 90s boomlet returns with this superhero comic. It works–funny, exciting, and authentic. It’s so nice to see his drawings again.

Various Paper Rad mini-comics. I’m combing through for some old material for an upcoming Paper Rad digest book.

Eddie Campbell’s Fate of the Artist. I’m not sure what to think yet. Campbell is a fascinating cartoonist, and this oddly formatted tome is no exception. But I’m still reading it and wondering about it.

Oh, and also various issues of Alter Ego. Hmm.

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