Eddie at the San Diego Comicon in 2008.
10 August 1955 |
Eddie Campbell (born 10 August 1955) is a Scottish comics artist and cartoonist who now lives in Australia. Probably best known as the illustrator and publisher of From Hell (written by Alan Moore), Campbell is also the creator of the semi-autobiographical Alec stories collected in Alec: The Years Have Pants, and Bacchus (aka Deadface), a wry adventure series about the few Greek gods who have survived to the present day. His graphic novel The Lovely Horrible Stuff, which playfully investigates our relationship with money, was published in July 2012 by Top Shelf Productions.
His scratchy pen-and-ink style is influenced by the impressionists, illustrators of the age of "liberated penmanship" such as Phil May, Charles Dana Gibson, John Leech and George du Maurier, and cartoonists Milton Caniff and Frank Frazetta (particularly his Johnny Comet strip). His writing has been compared to that of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller.
Alec and other autobiographical work
Campbell made his earliest attempts at autobiographical comics in the late 1970s with In the Days of the Ace Rock and Roll Club. This evolved into Alec, with the character of Alec MacGarry standing in for the author. Campbell self-published these early comics in the amateur press association BAPA and then as short-run photocopied pamphlets in London in the early 1980s, selling them at conventions and comic marts and via Paul Gravett's "Fast Fiction" market stall. When Gravett founded Escape Magazine, Campbell was one of the artists featured.
In 1984 Escape published Alec, a slim collection of his semi-autobiographical stories. This was followed by two further collections, Love and Beerglasses (1985) and Doggie in the Window (1986).
In 1990 all three Alec volumes were collected, together with some unpublished material, as The Complete Alec by Eclipse Comics. In 2000 this material was republished as The King Canute Crowd.
Two further slim volumes, The Dead Muse (1990) and Little Italy (1991) appeared through Fantagraphics Books.
Campbell then followed up these works by self publishing two larger works. Alec: How To Be An Artist (2000), a study of the art form and of Campbell's own artistic journey, and After The Snooter (2002), in which Campbell appears to have laid Alec McGarry to rest. Both works were originally serialised within his Bacchus magazine, but were reworked upon collection. The Fate of the Artist, in which Campbell's family and friends investigate his disappearance, undermining the image of himself he had presented in his previous autobiographical works, was published by First Second Books in 2006.
The graphic album Alec: How to Be an Artist was nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work in 2000.
All the Alec stories, with the exception of The Fate of the Artist, were published in one volume, Alec: The Years Have Pants by Top Shelf Productions in 2009 (ISBN 978-1-60309-025-4). this was followed in 2012 by the publication of The Lovely Horrible Stuff, a continuation of the autobiographical theme.
The success of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles led to a short-lived explosion of black and white independent comics in the mid-1980s. Campbell joined in, creating the series Deadface for small British publisher Harrier Comics, telling the story of Bacchus, god of wine and revelry, and the few other Greek mythological figures who have survived to the present day. Harrier published eight issues of Deadface and two issues of a companion comic, Bacchus. Campbell then began publishing short Bacchus stories in a number of anthologies, such as the British anthology Trident published by Trident Comics, and the American anthology Dark Horse Presents published by Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse reprinted the Harrier series as Immortality Isn't Forever in 1990 and a selection of the short stories as Doing the Islands With Bacchus in 1991. Campbell continued to produce Bacchus stories for Dark Horse until 1995 as a series of miniseries. The entire Bacchus saga is to be published in two 500-page volumes by Top Shelf Productions (Vol. 1 ISBN 978-1-60309-026-1, Vol. 2 ISBN 978-1-60309-027-8).
Beginning in 1989 Campbell illustrated Alan Moore's ambitious Jack the Ripper graphic novel From Hell, serialised initially in Steve Bissette's horror anthology Taboo. Moore and Bissette chose Campbell as illustrator for his down-to-earth approach which gave the story a convincing realism and did not sensationalise the violence of the murders. After Taboo folded From Hell was published in instalments by Tundra and then Kitchen Sink Press, until the epilogue Dance of the Gull-catchers saw print in 1998.
Under the influence of Dave Sim, Campbell founded Eddie Campbell Comics and began self-publishing in 1995, after the film rights to From Hell were optioned. The monthly series Bacchus reprinted and completed the story begun in Deadface, as well as carrying new and reprinted Alec stories. He went on to collect both Alec and Bacchus as a series of graphic novels. He also published the collected edition of From Hell, and comics adaptations of two of Alan Moore's performance art pieces, The Birth Caul and Snakes and Ladders.
After the cancellation of Bacchus, Campbell published two issues of Eddie Campbell's Egomania magazine, in which he began to serialise another work, The History of Humour. Facing an increasingly indifferent market for his work, and the collapse of his US distributor, Campbell ended his publishing imprint in 2003 after releasing the second issue of Egomania.
First Second and Top Shelf
After his self-publishing ceased, Campbell signed with First Second Books. As well as The Fate of the Artist, a continuation of the Alec series, First:Second published two other works by Campbell. June 2007 saw the publication of The Black Diamond Detective Agency, Campbell's adaptation of an as-yet unmade screenplay by C. Gaby Mitchell. Set in the closing months of 1899, it features the eponymous private detective agency investigating a conspiracy to blow up a train, and their prime suspect's efforts to find the truth.
In January 2008, First Second Books published Campbell's collaboration with Dan Best, The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard. The work follows the life of circus performers and historical figures as they wander in and out of history. It was enthusiastically received by critics with Ain't It Cool News saying "Something truly amazing and fun does indeed occur in this book."
Campbell's next works were for Top Shelf. 2009 saw the publication of the life sized omnibus Alec: The Years Have Pants. The book collected Campbell's Alec work to date with the exception of Fate of the Artist. the omnibus edition also included new material. In 2010 The Playwright, a collaboration with Daren White, was published. This reworked strips the pair had previously published in the Australian anthology Dee Vee, expanding the scope of the story-line and bringing it to conclusion.
In 2012 Top Shelf published The Lovely Horrible Stuff in collaboration with Knockabout Press, a continuation of Campbell's autobiographical works. Campbell has evolved his art style, using colour, collage and photo-shop to create art which The Guardian describe as having " a surreal, scruffy elegance".
A collection of the "Dapper John" stories originally created in the late 70s, along with an original cover, a new interview and other features, was published as an iPad app in December 2011 by digital publisher Panel Nine. In 2012 Top Shelf are expected to release two collections of Campbell's Bacchus series.
- The King Canute Crowd (2000)
- Three Piece Suit (collecting Graffiti Kitchen, Little Italy, and The Dance of Lifey Death, 2001)
- How to be an Artist (2001)
- After the Snooter (2002)
- Alec: The Years Have Pants (collecting all of the above, with extra shorts and a new Alec story, The Years Have Pants, 2009)
- The Fate Of The Artist (2006)
- The Lovely Horrible Stuff (2012)
- Vol 1: Immortality Isn't Forever (1995)
- Vol 2: The Gods of Business (with Ed Hillyer, 1996)
- Vol 3: Doing the Islands with Bacchus (1997)
- Vol 4: The Eyeball Kid – One Man Show (with Ed Hillyer, 1998)
- Vol 5: Earth, Water, Air, Fire (with Wes Kublick, 1998)
- Vol 6: The 1001 Nights of Bacchus (2000)
- Vol 7/8: The Eyeball Kid Double Bill (with Wes Kublick, 2002)
- Vol 9: King Bacchus (with Pete Mullins, 1996)
- Vol 10: Banged Up (with Pete Mullins and Marcus Moore, 2001)
- Catalyst: Agents of Change #1–5 (writer, with Pete Ford, 1994)
- From Hell (with Alan Moore, 2000)
- Egomania 1–2 (2002)
- Batman: The Order of Beasts (with Daren White, 2004)
- Captain America: Homeland (pencils and inks, two-part "Requiem" story with writer Robert Morales and inks by Stewart McKenny, Marvel Comics, 2004)
- A Disease of Language (hardcover reprinting The Birth Caul and Snakes and Ladders plus miscellany, 2005)
- The Black Diamond Detective Agency (2007)
- The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard (2008)
- The Playwright (with Daren White, 2010)
- Dapper John:
- "Dapper John: In the Days of the Ace Rock 'n' Roll Club", iPad app collecting all of the "Dapper John" stories (2011)
- Yang, Sam (October 1991). "A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine and Eddie Campbell". The Comics Journal 1 (145): 58–87.
- Campbell, Eddie (15 July 2011). "A Big Spread-1". Eddie Campbell (blog). Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- http://www.aintitcool.com/node/36654#12 Review of The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard
- Mautner, Chris (29 May 2012). ""The Only Thing That Matters is the Work on the Page": An Interview with Eddie Campbell". The Comics Journal. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Smart, James (17 July 2012). "The Lovely Horrible Stuff by Eddie Campbell – review". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- "The Comics Journal Message Board Thread". The Comics Journal Message Board: NYTimes Mag Article 7/11/04 – within which Eddie Campbell formulated his Graphic Novel Manifesto). Retrieved 1 May 2005.[dead link]
- "The Eddie Campbell Interview". (September, 2004) Graphic Novel Review in Depth – The Eddie Campbell Interview – Sidebar – Eddie Campbell's (Revised) Graphic Novel Manifesto. Archived from the original on 4 April 2005. Retrieved 1 May 2005.
- "The Eddie Campbell Interview". (January, 2005) Campbell and Dirk Deppey discuss "comic book culture" vs. "graphic novel culture". Archived from the original on 5 May 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2006.
- Comic Book Awards Almanac
- Eddie Campbell at the Grand Comics Database
- Eddie Campbell at the Comic Book DB
- Eddie Campbell interviewed by Italian comics' website Comicus in November 2009 (interview both in Italian and English)