Thursday, May 04, 2006

A BORG, WITH S'MORES

Drinking a Sauvignon Blanc from Santa Ema in Chile. It's very light and whimsical (why not?) much like Mr. Eddie Campbell's work. Or, at least, his latest, The Fate of the Artist, his latest 'Alec' book and his first book from new imprint, First Second (an imprint of Roaring Brook Press). First impressions were 1) I thought these were supposed to be hard cover books (I don't know why I thought this, but I did), 2) what's with all the prose?, 3) why is it so small?, 4) I'm so giddy, I'll start it on the train and 5) I ought to get some hwine. Also acquired, new Hino and Infinite Crisis #7 (finishes just as ridiculous as it began with some truly awful art in many places, more characters than anyone could recognize, inexplicable motivations, a half-assed attempt to make you care about characters no one should know anything about — t-shirt Superboy? Bartflash? Wonderbra? Green Lanterns you can't even see dying? — but it does have Mogo and is crap ina ll the ways crap should be crap... fun crap!).

Fate is funny, warm and in COLOR. It lacks the notorious big, fat line of delineation I love im me Campbell, but his standard line seems more lively than it has in a while. Truly, no one has a better line in all comics than he. Many will call it impressionistic, but I call it quantum (if 20th century criticism can drape itself in 19th century terms, surely we 21st centurions can use the leftovers from the 20th). It's like watching someone try to pin down a point that can only be approximated. Campbell goes about his business like a master physicist, finding a likely set of potential points with his uncanny eye for body language. It's very much body language as writing with a supple, energetic penstroke. If there's any disapointment, it's that the text pieces lack the flick of his agile wrist (although they are enjoyable).

How to Be an Artist was very much the insider's view of the "graphic novel" movement that never quite happened when it was supposed to. After the Snooter found the cartoonist most ahead of his time finding time had caught up to him a bit too late. Egomania and his "History of Humour" seemed a bit lost and focusless as Campbell tried to figure out his new place in the schemata. Fate is Campbell's first real 'post graphic novel 'graphic novel'. All of the above were great (or had their great moments, in 'Humour's case), but Fate zeroes in on the self-loathing, introspection, humor and personalities around him and in his head like no book sice giving up the 'Alec' monicker. I think it helps that Campbell is missing in his own story, and it gives him and us a chance to laugh at his foibles. Without a Danny Grey, a mispent youth of his artform or various romantic liasons in his life, Campbell needed a new subject of tragicomic-epic proportions and found the one we've all been busy building a pedastal for: himself.

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Ah, there's the drink. Anyway, between that and ohmygod!!!Lost, I didn't get that much done except finish building that page in the previous post. Well, it's a bit more finished now:
I'll be looking at this a lot at work and seeing if it's what I want it to be. If it is, then it's on to page 2!

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