Saturday 24 February 2007

Something to Say.

I'm quite serious about the idea of rules. They have their uses. Here's one: never jump out of a plane without a parachute. The thing about rules is that they can become shortcuts to getting things done efficiently. If the parachute was invented once, we can use it over and over until we think of a better idea, like when we invent anti-gravity powders. I always liked to invent rules. Even at the beginning, because there's nobody likes teaching other people more than those who have just learned themselves. So I was something of a sloganeer right at the start. In June '83 in one of my multifarious hand lettered essays that appeared in various small press newsletters (blogging hadn't been thought of yet) I declared that 'It's not enough to just want to draw comics, you must have something to say'. the following month the Man at the Crossroads wrote in an Escape editorial, 'Cartoonists don't start by being able to draw, they start by having something to say.' Rephrased like that it suited Paul's post-punk philosophy of putting the art in the hands of the energetic novice. A month later again, the phrase turned up in a cartoon Hunt Emerson drew for the Radio Times (the BBC's official 'what's on' guide and one of the country's top selling weeklies. Well it was back then; I considered it high irony that the best selling magazines in Britain were the two television guides). Called upon to draw a cartoon announcing the show That's Life which this week boasted a talking dog among its assorted novelties, Hunt had a poodle being interviewed and saying: 'Most of us can talk, we just don't have anything to say.' (Scanned and shown above right, copyright Hunt Emerson) Hunt said he never read my piece or took much notice of Paul's either, so it's just a coincidence. But I've never been one to let the facts spoil an anecdote.

Here we go again: Dirk at Journalista wrote: "Your lazy funnybook plagiarist for the week: Mike Choi, the artist behind this Witchblade: First Born cover, who shamelessly ripped off Annie Leibovitz’ cover to the August, 1991 issue of Vanity Fair magazine." I beg to differ. That's a good piece. If your purpose is to quote a the original but introduce an adjustment (like the assorted variations on American Gothic)), then you should quote it exactly, and this original was famous enough that it "spawned parodies and imitators.". Choi's quotation gets the Campbell thumbs up, and I refer Dirk to my own long quotation from RG Collingwood.

We should all be following the Gordon Lee case. (via Neil Gaiman). Of tangential interest is another piece by the artist Nick Bertozzi, the extract from whose upcoming book The Salon started the row. he mentions it briefly in this interview, but not by name: "James Sturm and I were working on a proposal for a Hollywood producer; we did a 10-pager together, and it just wasn't going to work out schedule-wise for us to do the book, but we really had a good time working together..." He is in fact referring to an early attempt at making a graphic novel of the Black Diamond Detective Agency for 'Hollywood producer' Bill Horberg. Sturm and Bertozzi took an entirely different approach from the one I went with. I guess they produced the ten pages as a sample to use to sell he project with the intention of finishing it when a deal was made. By that time both had taken on other obligations, Sturm with his newly set up Center for Cartoon Studies, and Bertozzi with The Salon. It would interesting to talk to them about their version of Diamond and show a panel or two (since I guess it will only be seen in the context of interviews and such, as one of the interesting unfinished projects of our times). But I'm saving that for later after the book has found its place in the world and we have time for alternate world contemplations.

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Blogger thewalker said...

my take on the vanityfair/witchblade cover is that it was obviously homage, rather than a swipe. possibly due to the fact that it is such an obvious, nearly iconic pose and is therefore not "sneaky" in any way.

24 February 2007 at 03:27:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

Everyone has something to say, but with all the noise of the world in our heads, it's sometime hard to pick up the treads of it all. I think it would be a big help to see all of your rules listed like commandments. It's really to bad you didn't talk to Alan Moore about all of this in your Egomania interview with him. You could give him a real run for his money. Regarding the plagiarist thing. To better understand what you are saying I wrote out my experience with the matter on my blog. After reading it back to myself two or three times, I realized that it wasn't being plagiarized that bothered me. It was that the people who did it acted like they were my friends, and then took from me what I had worked so hard on, with out ever looking back. If they had just said, "Hey, we like what you did, and we're going to do our version of that." I wouldn't have minded. I would have been flattered and we could have still been friends.

24 February 2007 at 03:41:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Johnny Walker said...

Dear God! How could anyone call that "plagiarism" anyway? If he wants to talk "lazy", he should start with journalists like himself!

24 February 2007 at 08:24:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plagiarism usually requires that the source be unknown or at least obscure. It's difficult to see how you can plagiarise one of Annie Leibovitz's most well-known photographs. So well-known, in fact, the American Society of Magazine Editors voted it no. 2 in a poll of best covers of the past 40 years:

And if you scroll down that page you'll see that no. 17 is a cover by......Roy Lichtenstein.

24 February 2007 at 09:19:00 GMT-5  
Blogger thewalker said...

i would NEVER make sense to call dirk,ex editor of tcj lazy....

25 February 2007 at 14:34:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

Lazy? yes i was taken aback. first time I looked at it I though. geez all that work. rather him than me.

oh well, we'll see if Dirk notices this when he gets back on monday.


26 February 2007 at 01:00:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Campbell -

Thank you. Your defending me and my colorist's work and giving it your approval means more to me personally than you could imagine.

Very sincerely,
Mike Choi

25 March 2007 at 05:31:00 GMT-5  

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