Saturday, 29 September 2007

What Eddie Campbell said.

Icame across this recently: Posted by Evil Richard on September 12, 2007. 1. THE ARRIVAL by Shaun Tan -Published by Scholastic - and in a format maybe more reminiscent of a children's book than a graphic novel or comic, it might be easy to overlook this book and leave it off a list like this, but if Eddie Campbell says it's a graphic novel then that's good enough for me.

No, what Eddie Campbell said

is that he didn't think the rest of you would disagree among yourselves. In the vain hope of raising the argument above and beyond semantic nitpicking, Campbell wrote:
Comics fans being what they are, vocational filing clerks, it ends up being about where things get put in the store, which is not what we really should be concerned with. What we should be asking is whether we keep it in the esteem we reserve for the other monuments of Parnassus, our Mozart and our John Donne and our Cervantes, or do we keep it upended in the water closet of our cultural memory, as an accompaniment to our bowel movements?

My pal mr j alerted me to this today: The Rosemary Sorensen thing surfaced at last in the weekend Australian. I guess the original idea of the story quickly passed its use-by date and she salvaged what she could from her notes for her book-gossip column.
Those graphic novelists are an argumentative lot. They can't agree what their books should be called. According to Eddie Campbell, Brisbane-based co-author of From Hell, which was made into a movie with Johnny Depp, what he writes are extended comic strips. Bryan Talbot, credited with producing the first graphic novel in britain in 1978**, says he's happy with the term big comic, even if it doesn't explain this burgeoning genre. The need for defining labels, Campbell says with hauteur, is a sign of the conservative mind.

No, what Eddie Campbell said,

in the vain hope of diverting the issue away from an argument about the meanings of words, was: Just think about it as a very long cartoon strip and then tell the world whether you think it's a good cartoon strip or a lousy one, whether it is profound or vacant. And then he called YOU conservative*. And in the vain hope of tying it all into a bigger bookish picture of the literature of our times, particularly with regard to the increasing use of pictorial elements in the novel, since you seem to think books with pictures are for halfwits, he discussed Umberto Eco and Jonathan Safran Foer. And he went on at some length, while the 'hauteur' held out. But hey, to favour 'cartoon strip' over 'graphic novel' and still come off as haughty is no mean feat. I bet you folks at home couldn't pull that one off.

And if anybody remembers Campbell's 'manifesto' from 2004, well he came up with that also in a vain attempt to curtail the arguing about the meanings of words. Our conclusion at this pont in the proceedings is that the whole thing is screwed, and we refer you to our recent posts under the heading of 'cranky old bastard'.

*with ref to this: "conservatives demand rigid structures while "A higher tolerance of ambiguity and complexity is typical of people who are liberal...)"
** as credited by himself.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALFRED: 'ere, Eric, bloke round the front say he's got a hunnerdweight of grafik novels.

ERIC: Well fer fucks sake get them in, they're needed in Doncaster by Tuesday for a convention of rabid Batman fans. We'll never hear the end of it if those fuckers don' get 'em.

Mick, the man who coined the term "domestic apocalypse".*

*Although for some reason today, that term just evokes a vision of Darkseid in an apron.

29 September 2007 at 06:27:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And if anybody remembers Campbell's 'manifesto' from 2004

I think it's the 'manifesto' that made you an apostle for that term in the first place. We had a heated, long-threaded discussion over the manifesto in 2005 in our comics-community mailing list (in Indonesian), which ended up in a conversation about the relevance of the term to selling/marketing point and each artist's principles about it.

Quite intriguing, that 'manifesto' :-)

29 September 2007 at 09:40:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me, since I cant find from hell at work - damn libraries these days - I might have to watch the movie (or buy it). Stupid thing is my boyfriend asked if the comic = the movie and I was like... I dont think so (teach me to do some research first wont it). In this case I am very glad to have been proven wrong, I also now understand why you were so supprised when I said hi to Leigh before you at the BWF party Eddie. :p

By the way, I hope Rosemary Sorensen reads your blog :)

29 September 2007 at 17:36:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, groovy to read that note on Bryan Talbot ... I've been calling them "big comic books" for years ...

1 October 2007 at 12:04:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

good to hear from you again. I try to be humble. i do. honest.

4 October 2007 at 05:58:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever eddie said, edc says get this thing.
the arrival is amazing.

4 October 2007 at 08:12:00 GMT-5  

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