Got myself a copy of Alec: The Years Have Pants from the recent online sale from Top Shelf Comix, and read through it last night — it reminded me how weirdly important Eddie Campbell was to my development both as an artist back when I was in art school, and as a writer. There’s something remarkably amiable and offhand about his work, as if he’s effortlessly just sharing something with you, that I strive for even now with non-work writing (and, usually, fail). Thinking about my shortlived late ’90s diary comics — honestly, created as somewhere between decompressor and way to have another sketchbook full of something for my final year of the BA (Hons) program I was in — I can see Eddie Campbell’s fingerprints all over them, alongside (slightly less obviously) those of Kyle Baker, Evan Dorkin and Nick Abadzis.
I don’t have those comics now, for the most part — I got rid of almost all of my student work when I moved to the U.S., because it meant less to move and I was trying to travel light to save money — but I think about them sometimes. For some reason (Perhaps a Facebook posting that reminded me that it was 20 years since I matriculated for art school, holy crap), I’ve been thinking about that whole era of cartooning and writing and everything recently. Somewhere out there, there’s a me who kept doing all of that stuff. I wonder what happened to him?
(Image above from Graffiti Kitchen, one of the stories in the Alec book; probably my favorite, and possibly my favorite comic of all time.)