Friday 10 August 2007

happy birthday to ME

For I'm a felly good jollo (52). Seeing my call for a photo or two of me and wee Cal in San Diego last week, as we came home without any, Andy Runton of Owly fame emailed a couple. After my rictus grin on the front of PW Comics Week, which you may have missed as I didn't draw attention to it, I have resolved to smile no more for the birdy, any birdy.

In preparation for meeting him at the Brisbane Writers festival next month, I'm reading Guy Delisle's excellent Shenzhen; a travelogue from China , in which I have come across this interesting use of the forbidden technique of crossed balloon tails.

I say interesting because I myself have just been caught red-handed by the calligrapher supreme Todd Klein, in his review of The Black Diamond Detective Agency. While otherwise praising me, he writes: Occasionally the white brush-stroke tails cross, as in the panel (below), which is further confused by criss-crossing white bullet-trails. This violates so many things about good lettering that I hardly know where to start!

I really did think hard about whether the world would let me get away with that one. As I caught my two comedic characters in a chaotic crossfire, running around in my noodle was the famous snatch of dialogue from the Ghostbusters movie:

Dr. Egon Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

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Blogger spacedlaw said...

I think this cross-balloon does emphasize the general mayhem, where even speech gets wacked out of place.

Wishing you a nice day, cakes, drinks and all sort of jollities aplenty.

10 August 2007 at 02:14:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Loris Z. said...

spacedlaw beat me to it... I could read the sequence perfectly, and the chaotic nature of the moment is pretty well defined...

Anyways. Happy birthday, sir! Drinks and cakes, can't go wrong with them.

10 August 2007 at 03:44:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had noticed that you'd stopped smiling in photos. I just assumed you were miserable ;-)

10 August 2007 at 04:54:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meh, Klein is a god-like letterer and his opinions are alays worthy of note, but here he's just wrong. That panel (and the whole sequence) is a fully integrated piece of comics - it feels chaotic and multi-directional, and using the same white for bullet trails and balloon tails emphasises the overhwelming noise of a gun battle in a train carraige against which the characters are working. Job done, I thought.

10 August 2007 at 05:10:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had nothing to do after exams, so I drew you a somewhat unimpressive gift in my Narnia notebook.¤t=eddiebdaycopy.jpg

Happy Birthday boyo!

(By the way, the person in the drawing is me in my school uniform)

10 August 2007 at 05:47:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh sorry, THIS is the page:

10 August 2007 at 06:16:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday! And I agree that your panel works, which is all that matters really, rules or no.

10 August 2007 at 06:19:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speech balloons in the ever-thievin' design world:

10 August 2007 at 06:45:00 GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

Happy the Birthday! I hope everything goes wunnerful. Cheers!

10 August 2007 at 08:01:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Aaron White said...

I didn't know it was your birthday today, Mr. Campbell, yet over breakfast, on a whim, I reread a bit of your latest Comics Journal interview. This isn't really all that coincidental; my life has been enriched and even improved by the fruits of your labours. So merry birthday indeed! May you enjoy many more.

I didn't notice the lettering oddity when I read BDDA; perhaps it's because I'm accustomed to manga, in which balloon placement often seems designed to maximize confusion about who's saying what. Rather like old newspaper comics in which the balloons were frequently so positioned that I for one would read the reply before the opening statement.

10 August 2007 at 10:08:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Stephen said...

Happy birthday!

And I agree with the general tenor of comments here: surely these two panels, rather than being violations of the 'don't cross balloon trails' rule, are in fact counterexamples to the idea that they don't work.


10 August 2007 at 12:12:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy birthday!

(Wish I had something more clever to add, but that will have to do.)

10 August 2007 at 17:02:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Andrew Hawthorn said...

Happy Birthday! Well done not dying and such. Hope you've made the best of it!

11 August 2007 at 00:15:00 GMT-5  
Blogger antonio said...

HHHHaaaPPPPyyyy Birthday mr. Campbell!!!



11 August 2007 at 17:38:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must be another tall silver haired chap smiling in my wedding photos then.

11 August 2007 at 20:12:00 GMT-5  

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