Monday, June 07, 2004

Eddie Campbell, Comics

Eddie Campbell is one of my very favorite comic book people. A few sample pages from his upcoming issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA are here.

Eddie drew FROM HELL and wrote and drew the wonderful series of ALEC books, including my personal favorite, "How to be an Artist." He usually works in black and white--in fact, I think this is the only time I've seen his work in color, aside from the ALEC and BACCHUS covers. I don't think I would have recognized these pages as Eddie's work if I hadn't known it was him beforehand.

Eddie is my kinda dude. He took the money he made from the FROM HELL film deal and started a magazine, EGOMANIA, that included interviews, letters, and serialized chapters of his new comics work, "The History of Humor." He published it himself through Eddie Campbell Comics out of Australia, distributed here in the states by the very fine folks at Top Shelf. It lasted all of two issues before he ran out of cash and shut down his publishing operation, just like he knew it would. But he still went ahead and did it for two issues, because it was something he desperately wanted to do. Sure, it wasn't financially responsible--but when are fun ideas financially responsible?

I believe Eddie has a Batman project in the works too, a painted graphic novel. I'd certainly rather see "The History of Humor" completed and collected, but it's kind of like Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man--Eddie has to take the high profile pervert suit jobs to make enough money to finance the smaller, more personal jobs. It will definitely be interesting, so who can complain?

On a comic nerd note, Eddie on CAPTAIN AMERICA is probably the last of the "New Marvel" projects, where the company was under Jemas and Quesada and willing to try new things. They were out of cash and floundering and J & Q were loud and obnoxious and rude, and they were throwing cash around. They were putting out super hero books, to be sure, but a few of them were really, really good super hero books. Morrison on NEWXMEN, Milligan and Allred on X-STATIX, James Sturm on FANTASTIC FOUR: UNSTABLE MOLECULES . . . it was good stuff. But Morrison has moved back to DC already, Sturm's project was a mini-series, and the last issue of X-STATIX is out sometime this summer. Jemas is out the door, too. By all accounts he was a little on the unstable side himself, but there were interesting projects coming out of Marvel for a few months there. Now it's back to being a factory for future movie projects, selling stories about super heroes written for teenagers to thirty year old men. When Bill Jemas shows up at my door selling #2 pencils out of a suitcase, I won't let him near my cat or anything, but I will give him a high five.

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