conservatism part 2
Why, oh why can't I be THIS Eddie Campbell:
instead of that other one, that Eddie Campbell the 'graphic novelist', the meanspirited bastard who speaks ill of his friends in public, that supercilious twerp who has made his poor wife's life a misery with all his vainglorious claptrap. I should give up this foolish seeking after Art, do charitable work for the community, find at last a humility that will enable me to live with myself instead of pacing the floor all night, unable to even escape from my own ego into the anaesthesia of slumber.
Maybe I could be THIS EDDIE CAMPBELL... no wait, he's dead:
The producer of the Arts program that flew me to Melbourne a few weeks back to explain what a 'graphic novel' is phoned yesterday to find out why I'm refusing to sign the customary release document for my appearance on the show. After I explained she offered to put up the podcast of my original interview. I said no, but I was thinking good lord no, I don't believe a word of that optimistic baloney I came out with. As a sidelight in relation to yesterday's blather, one of the several bones of contention was that they wanted me to name the first 'graphic novel', and I wouldn't do that because I thought it would be misleading to imply that firstness was important.
In fact if I'm ever asked, and you can quote it, this is Campbell's final theory of the graphic novel:
Once upon a time, in a place we shall call Comic-book-culture some guys stopped cataloguing their purchases for a minute. Now, this is the place where they bag and box their comic book collections and lose sleep worrying whether the acid in the paper will eventually destroy the books. Well one of them had the disquieting feeling that it was a bit embarrassing to be losing sleep over this juvenile nonsense, so what if we were to lose our sleep over something worthwhile instead! Another said, yes and if it was not dissimilar from the juvenile stuff then we could use the same boxes and not have to look for new ones. Okay, but we'll need a name for it, and a high flown theory of course if we are going to impress the world with it, and a few theorists to make it sound gee-whiz complicated. And thus was born the 'graphic novel.' And out into the world it went. Now, when they got it out there they found that it already existed in many various ways. There was loads of stuff that already fit the description of this thing they had sat up all night inventing. But that just wouldn't do if they were to impress upon the world that this was a great artistic moment in history. The most important thing is that it should have originality, and trailblazers and most importantly of all, originating genius. A first! It wouldn't do if there was stuff around before that looked pretty much exactly like this brand new idea. Thus they devised a defintion so that the other stuff could be clearly excluded. In fact they enjoyed the mental exercise so much that they spent the next thirty years writing ever more precise definitions until at last the new thing looked exactly like the thing they were embarrassed about in the first place. Except that it was on better paper of course and they no longer had to lose sleep on that account.
wait, it's the phone
"hi, honeybee. eh? the blog?"
"yes i've written today's. the public apology to Brian? well, yeah, kind of. And then the one where I start writing about trees from now on and forget all that 'graphic novel' shit.
thanks for roning."