Page 45 Review by Stephen
By far the single finest body of work in comics anywhere in the world to date.
"Who said 'Everyone's entitled to their own opinion'?
"Whoever it was, in my opinion we should take him out behind the trees and beat the shit out of him!"
So that's me in the orchard with a bloody nose, then.
640 autobiographical pages of wit and wisdom from every discerning creator's favourite comicbook creator. When Neil Gaiman signed here, the very first thing he did was ask to see the latest Eddie Campbell comic. That was his version of a rider! Far broader in scope than any other autobiographical comic, it's not just about Eddie, it's not just about Eddie's family, it's about the very experience of living.
Collecting all of Eddie's previous ALEC books including HOW TO BE AN ARTIST, the material has been rearranged into a sweeping tapestry of love, lust, and drunken misdemeanours; ambitions, self-doubt and self-deprecation; parental responsibilities, parental irresponsibility and marital exasperation*; wine and travel, professional strife and a potted history of the UK comic scene. There's actually very little that Eddie doesn't find or make fascinating as he transforms his peculiar experiences into art for our entertainment, observing human behaviour in all its funny foibles and cogitating on its wider implications. 'The Years Have Pants' is a brand new concluding chapter whilst other previously unpublished, reworked episodes have been slotted in along with more fresh pieces in which he returns to his pen and ink style complete with the old zip-a-tone.
Glorious draughtsmanship right from the word go, and if I were to take one body of work with me to a desert island in any medium at all, it would be this. I would never outlast the pleasure it would give me.
* Five of the funniest new pages involve a day out with his son Callum, during which they discover a Star Trek communicator and manage to get themselves arrested. Sagely they conspire to keep that part of their trip from Mum - until Eddie slips up, of course, at which point it's "Beam me up, Scottie!"