Sunday, 3 July 2011

A link and an open letter to The Spaniard in the works.

Argentina's national daily LA NACION, 1st July, has a huge 3,680 word (counting them has become a disturbing trend here at Campbell blogspot.) article on The graphic novel. La edad adulta del cómic (link thanks to Loris Z)

There's nothing here that we haven't heard before, but let's bookmark the event as an indication of the growing international recognition of this movement. And Campbell's manifesto is quoted in two places.

To Jose Torralba,

You keep going back to the so-called manifesto. You know, when I wrote that I did it for a specific purpose. When one or two places asked if they could use it, i said certainly, but please explain in a short paragraph when and why it originated. That is, I wrote it as part of a thread on the old Comics Journal site. There was a big article in The NY Times weekend magazine. Spiegelman, Clowes, Brown, Seth, Tomine were all interviewed and photographed. Everybody was complaining that the article had got it all wrong. I said, they got it wrong because as a community we constantly give out confused information. We send the signal that arguing about the meanings of the words is important, that we can't all agree on what it is we're supposed to be about. We're stuck with 'graphic novel'. Instead of sneering, put it on the flag and get behind it. So why don't we all agree to a set of principles. They won't be absolutes, they're simply a guide to stop arguments so that we can all move forward in the same direction and promote the thing we're all involved in. Thus, we say 'novel' but we don't necessarily mean that in the sense that it's understood in the book world. You fastened upon my criticism of Manuel Barrero, but he was in a situation where he was addressing people in or more familiar with the book world than the comics world: He quoted my manifesto but he was doing the very thing the manifesto was written to head off. He was arguing about the words. 'Perversion of a publishing label'- he insists I left out the word 'genre' in that title, but that's just another one of those words that makes comics into a hillbilly town on the map of culture. My metaphor misfired there, because he took it personally. In a better world I might have had the foresight to think that he could actually be from the provinces, but in these internet driven times, everybody is just online in a great equality. It certainly wasn't meant personally except in the sense that it was he who wrote the words I was criticizing.

But, you know, hey! If you and Manuel want to say it's a publishing label, you never heard any complaint from me. I was just saying that's not what Eisner had in mind. Go for it. Enjoy yourselves. Who said you couldn't? I didn't. Eisner didn't. Nobody owns individual words exclusively. (unless they're trademarks of course) Just for god's sake stop arguing about it.

The manifesto wound up being reproduced and posted all over the place and in several languages. I quite liked the way Santiago used it because he understood the spirit of it. He has a paragraph about Toeppfer not wanting to be seen to take his concept too seriously, and he shows Campbell likewise. The introductory paragraph is generally no longer attached, and it's a document I no longer have any control of (I once deleted it from Wikipedia, but that couldn't suppress it) so I expect when you first saw it you took it at its word as being a manifesto. When you took the so-called manifesto and pissed all over it, with your ten-part satire, it probably never occurred to you, as it may not have done to Manuel, that I might one day see it. But that's all right. You had a sense of humour then. Today you have left it in your other suit.

Now I wait to see whether you will also piss all over my olive branch.

Eddie Campbell



Anonymous José Torralba said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3 July 2011 at 05:32:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous José Torralba said...

Oh my god, what a mess! Please, delete the previous comment or move it. Doesn't make any sense here. It must be on this and I wrote it in a very angry mode. Accept my apologies. The ones which belongs here are the final two on the linked one. That which starts saying "Santiago wrote a book" and and that other which starts saying "BUT, Spaniard 4 comes".

I didn't want to piss all over your olive branch at all, but declare that this isn't a matter of good people and bad people. And that we simply argue about facts (or about we consider facts). But almost never about persons. Even when we speak about you, we don't speak against you but against some of your ideas. Even when someone do a bad critic about one of your works (I loved Alec, by the way, but didn't liked very much Black Diamond...), we have nothing against you. Because that's what critics do: criticize. And it's a very difficult "job" (this isn't my "job") if you are indisposing with every author whose work you criticize.

Having said that, speaking theoretically about the graphic novel and La novela gráfica (didn't knew Santiago, didn't know him now, have nothing against him) me and Pepo declared war each other. A personal one. And we had then two debates: one interesting about the graphic novel, and another one totally boring an personal between Pepo and me. Here in Spain we called that "a measure of penis".

Now, you saw all of it. Ok. I'm not proud of the "Pepo and me" discussion. But I'm very proud about the theoretical and parallel one. And I would swear that you, personally, would enjoy that one too. The problem is that, in GoogleSpain, you have all mixed up. You thought all the long comments were about you and a "Pepo vs. me" all the time.

And you missed the point. And by the way, you take the part for the whole: me is me and nobody else. I write in Zona Negativa but I am not Zona Negativa. The Toni Boix's interview to Santiago was a good one and Santiago was happy with it. So, when you wrote the Spaniard 4, I accepted the mock about me. It was just (from justice). I tried to answer with the same mock.

But yesterday, when I saw there "Raul López", "pals" and "Zona Negativa", I feel very upset. They didn't do anything. We have more than 9,000 articles on Zona Negativa and maybe nine or ten talk about the graphic novel. And we have a very good relationship with Entrecomics, Alberto and his pals. Damn! Alberto wrote on Zona Negativa. Still writes in collaboration. And you are great author. How do you think that article affects our image? How do you think your colleagues will look at us after this war briefing? We can't ruin you or your career. You are beyond all of us. But you can partially ruin the relation Zona Negativa has as website with the authors.

So, you wanna take a properly and parody revenge on what me and Pepo said about you? That's ok. I can see justice on it. But please, Zona Negativa has nothing to do on it. Thats's why I modestly ask you to consider the deletion of only the Briefing-telegram. Because of it's the only one that exist exclusively on GoogleSpain and that has nothing to do with Spain.

And hope you and me will meet one day, without anyone measuring who is the most intelligent (you are, of course), and argue about graphic novels. With a beer. Or two. Or three.

Best regard and TRULY yours.

3 July 2011 at 10:47:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

José ,
you're right.
I'm an idiot.
It's gone.

one day, a beer

3 July 2011 at 15:01:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

likewise to everybody else I have upset in my arrogant existence.
but don't hold me to the beer part.

3 July 2011 at 15:17:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous José Torralba said...

Mr. Campbell, we are also idiots. Or more than that. We often forget that behind a book, there is always a person. And nobody likes being fucked off.

Thanks for your considerations and for the kind gesture. My pals are very grateful. If I could do anything in return, please, just ask.

And yeah, one day, one beer. For sure. Maybe then we'll try a "Spaniards working on" serial for good and joy.

Best regards. Truly yours. And very thanks for all.

3 July 2011 at 15:46:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I woke up this morning like Dr. Jeykyll, thinking "what's all this mess? Who broke everything?'

I have one more post in my series, in which it was my intention from the start to show that Spain has made a valuable contribution to la novela grafica. So I hope everything comes out right in the end.

best to you.

3 July 2011 at 16:30:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Colman G said...


I know you thought you were just having some innocent fun with these posts, but—as you see—real people were involved, and real people were getting hurt.

Reading a newspaper recently, I came across a story about a republican terrorist attack in a village in Co. Donegal, Ireland. It instantly reminded me of you, and your blog; it reminded me that "harmless" mockery of those with whom we disagree can create needless conflict between communities; and it reminded me that perceived slights can often have tragic consequences.

I've uploaded a scan of the front page headline that announced the story. Link below. Please do have a look; sometimes, Eddie, life is serious. Sometimes life is very serious indeed.

The Inish Times, 24/5/2011

3 July 2011 at 17:17:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I'm closing this one. Don't need further comments measuring the size of our idiocy
Coleman G, thanks for the link. I'm checking now.

3 July 2011 at 17:34:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

actually, It's Coleman G. I should have checked the link first. That one gets in, then I'm closing

3 July 2011 at 17:43:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3 July 2011 at 17:52:00 GMT-5  

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