Sunday, 24 June 2007

covers- EGOMANIA no.1

T he first drawing (1) is Picasso's well known portrait of Igor Stravinski. I was trying to evoke thoughts of that in my pencil drawing (2) for the cover of the first issue of Egomania. I made several different versions of it, tracing on a light box (ok, a window) over and over. The three above are all different drawings. Mick Evans worked out the design (3) for the solicitation. By the time of the finished version he was wearying of me redoing things over and over and he stuck the logo over my face in an act of flagrant effrontery (4). I liked the joke, a self-effacing egomania so to speak, and said let's keep that.

Egomania ran for two issues, July and December 2002, and was the last thing from Eddie Campbell Comics, publisher. I figured if I dropped Bacchus and started a new mag that was forty eight pages of all new material, not a single hint or whisper of reprint, and all mine too, including articles and interviews with other people, then I'd be starting afresh with a decent level of orders. But alas the orders came in as though it were just the next issue of Bacchus. The only logical conclusion was that I had worn out my welcome. Maybe it was too esoteric. It was designed to be an actual magazine, with well thought out typesetting and design, and my new comic strip work in it was all in gray half tones (the unfinished History of Humour). In fact there was so much 'design' that I think Mick Evans may have made more out of the project than I did.

The publishing model I had picked up from Dave Sim served me well for a few years, but the situation had changed radically since '95. There were eight or nine distributors then and now there was one. I was placing a lot of hope on the bookstore side of things as an altenative route, but that is fraught with difficulty. Top Shelf had been making inroads there for a few years and it was working well for us when suddenly our bookstore distributor, LPC, went out of business owing us around eighty thousand bucks, 50 of which was my business, mostly for the very successful From Hell. Indeed From Hell had been so good for me that I was able to roll with the punch. But I was getting tired of dealing with all this bankruptcy going on around me. A couple of years later it would be Preney, our printer through all this self-publishing, that would go kablooie (owing twenty thousand bucks), but by that time I had handed From Hell over to Top Shelf. The book shown above was the last thing I had printed there. Once again it was a murky thing. I had put up with all that when it was just 'comic books', but now that I was trying to do an art magazine, I needed better. I tried the second issue with Quebecor with more success. That was a much cleaner and crisper looking mag, but by now I wanted to go to sleep somewhere, or at least just draw pictures, and not have to worry about the calamitous business side of things (note that between yesterday's post and this one I've described four separate bankruptcies). More on that next time.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

By my calculations you were down around $95,000 across all those bankruptcies. As someone who went to their local comic book store to pick up the latest Campbell (I missed out on Egomania two, it sold out before I could catch one), I always wondered why it ended there. I presumed on reading After the Snooter that the disillusionment was largely spiritual, I hadn't factored in that you were getting hung out to dry by other businesses.
Did you ever get the money back?

Ben Smith

24 June 2007 at 15:50:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Steve said...

I loved that egomania book, the Batman interview with that old time artist whose name you will be annoyed I have forgot, Lou Schwartz or something like that, that piece on that picture in that pub, the history of humour strip that looked grandiose and you seemed to be slowly melting inside it, it was all damn good fun. Shame it never sold. Will we ever find out what happened to the wee rabbits?

We're just back from the second Fantastic Four film and had a struggle to put a Johnny Storm and a Silver Surfer to bed. Not a bad film, better than the first, kids loved it, what more can you ask for?

24 June 2007 at 15:51:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Capital tried to make good on the debt, offering a couple of options. one of which was to take 75% over nine months and the other the whole lot over two years. I remember a fellow self publisher deciding to hold out for the lot and me advising him to take whatever amount was offered in the shortest time, then turn away and never think about it again. I think he decided to hold out. he's probably still there. KSP (actually Oceanic Entertainmnet (I think..don't quote that)... one thing i learned from this is that it's a bad idea to put your own name on the company) made no effort. I Used the debt to get them to sign From Hell over then I put it out of mind, I think some amounts trundled in from LPC over a long period, certainly nowhere near the whole lot, but that was Top Shelf's connection and I wasn't keeping track. Preney dropped out and disappeared and we spread the loss around among us, me Alan Knockabout and Top Self (20,000 had been advanced on the print job that was never delivered). Anyway, as though the creative life isn't insecure enough!!

thanks for the good words. and no, all that stuff is definitely in the past. and yes, must see the FF movie. It opened here a couple of days back. I always mean to see certain movies, and next thing i know Wee Cal has brought the dvd home. I remember too having superheroes around the house.

24 June 2007 at 16:41:00 GMT-5  
Blogger James Robert Smith said...

Haha! I like Mick Evans!

Ah, the self-publishing route. What a trip, eh? One distributor--if it weren't so pathetic, it'd be funny. Dave Sim's old pissing buddy, Steve Geppi rules the direct sales comic book world. I'd laugh, but the situation is so hideously corrupt.

24 June 2007 at 19:38:00 GMT-5  

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