Saturday, 27 September 2008

i had that situation last night when you've woken up and can't get back to sleep for worrying about a problem. You get up and fret and fuss and pace and after a few minutes you realize that it was no more than a problem you invented in your dream. I went back to bed and I woke up in the morning to a painful nostalgia for a second dream that will be lost to me forever. It was a night of infinite possibilities.

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Watching the Bookslut interview the other day, I felt that, for the sake of humour, I had made my self-publishing period look like a series of calamities. It was quite the opposite. We published 87 separate items in seven and a half years (including multiple editions of From Hell and a couple of other books), which is close to something every month, and not a single one lost money, even allowing for printers and distributors going bankrupt around me. In between those we were busy packaging stuff that was published elsewhere, such as the seven (of 11) serial issues of From Hell published by Kitchen Sink Press that came out in those years, but lots of other stuff too that I've never attempted to count, including short things for anthologies, covers and other embellishments for foreign editions, etc. etc.. Furthermore, From Hell, which I rescued from a complicated legal trap (with much help from a knowledgeable friend for which I will be eternally grateful) went on to sell 65,000 copies in the collected form that I put together with my associates at Campbell Industries (as we affectionately called the business) before I lost interest in the publishing side of things and handed the reins to Chris and Brett at Top Shelf. They made a much better looking edition than mine, on better paper, with cover flaps. The original Diamond Distributors ordering was so cautious (6,000 copies) that I opted to take no chances spending money on fancy trimming. That book has by now probably sold around 250,000. That includes licensing to about nine foreign domains including Knockabout in the UK, Delcourt in France, Planeta in Spain, etc. I even lost interest in counting after a while, so those figures are conservative Campbellian estimates. It's indicative of the divide between the comic book and regular book trades that From Hell has never showed up on a best seller list anywhere, which it certainly would have done at its height, around the time of the movie's release, if the figures had registered in the book trade's counting machinery. Chris Staros tells me that the book is back at the printer yet again, this being I think their fourth (fifth?) printing. Add that to my five, which averages around one a year since its launch in Dec 1999. You may remember it was out of sight for about a year and a half after our first printer went bankrupt and before we had successfully made a good digital copy of the whole work. Print-outs in my files show that toward the end of that gap you could have gotten a 'very good' copy second hand via Amazon for $125, and with 'slight shelf wear' for only $100. I must say I was quite touched to see my buddy Pete Mullins, for whose contribution to From Hell I will always be grateful, reflect fondly upon the days of Campbell Industries on his blog last week.

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coming soon:
HELLBLAZER #250
Written by Brian Azzarello, Jamie Delano, Dave Gibbons, China Miéville and Peter Milligan
Art by Eddie Campbell, Rafael Grampá, David Lloyd, Giuseppe Camuncoli and others
Cover by Lee Bermejo
Happy Christmas and happy 250th issue! An all-star creative cast leaves five new holiday tales under the tree in this oversized holiday special. See what the season has in store for the always-naughty, never-nice John Constantine. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right?
On sale December 17 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Marc Ellerby said...

Does this make you the first person to have both written and drawn Hellblazer? I can't think of anyone else who has done that.

27 September 2008 2:05:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

well, what do you know!
I guess it does.

27 September 2008 4:29:00 pm GMT-5  
Anonymous Chas said...

Gibbons wrote and drew an illustrated text story, as I recall, for a Vertigo christmas special.

29 September 2008 12:12:00 am GMT-5  

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