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ALEC: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Size Omnibus) - Hardcover Edition Hardcover – Jan 18 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In “Alec,” Eddie Campbell compiles decades of his autobiographical works in one volume, from his young bachelor days as a Scottish member of the wild King Canute bar crowd in Great Britain, where he scrapes out a meager existence in a manual labor metalworking job. He dates, hones his artistic craft, and begins a journey of self-discovery. We follow him through marriage, children, and the world of self-publishing to see him emerge a mature family man and reasonably-famous artist based in Australia. We even get behind the scenes stories of Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and other famous writers and artists he comes in contact with. Through it all Eddie Campbell, through his alter ego Alec MacGarry, shares with us the ups and downs, through good drawings and hurried, the real and the surreal. Most of all, however, we share with him the honesty of life that he unfailingly paints on each page. There is very little self-importance here. We get the randomness and seeming irrelevance of the day-to-day through the colorful yet very real characters that flow through Alec’s life.
I have the hard bound edition from Top Shelf and it is wonderful. The spare, no-nonsense artwork on the cover and spine goes perfectly in tone with the gorgeous black and white drawings inside. The paper is heavy and displays the ink well. We even get bonus material in the back of the book. The whole project is well-realized, done in the right way, and I am glad to display it in my home. Highly recommended.
Campbell first began drawing his autobiographical comics back in the `70s. To protect the identity of his friends and family, he gave everyone a different name--including himself ("Alec MacGarry"). Alec has stood in for Eddie even since, as Campbell has continued through multiple publishers and multiple venues of his life. All of them (except for The Fate of the Artist, which is still in print from First Second) are found in Alec: "The Years Have Pants".
Today, it's a matter of course to see a comic biography. Comics memoirs are almost a dime a dozen, it seems. But that shouldn't negate the pure joy of experiencing a true master of the form explore the full range of its possibilities, from the mundane to the extraordinary. It's interesting to watch an intelligent, well-thought-out man delve into the ups and downs of his own life with care.
Campbell is a comics veteran, so he peppers his tales with stories of the growth of the industry itself (the mid-`80s burst that sees Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman, and others exploding with greatness coincides with the birth of Alec's first child, a nice parallel that Campbell doesn't miss out on).
The bottom line is this: If you want to see what a master of comics memoir does at the top of his form, Alec: "The Years Have Pants" is the book to read. Its 600 pages are a revelation of humanity.
-- John Hogan
I can say it's great to have so much of his material in one place, and even at the hardcover price it is cheaper than buying all of his books separately.
I can also say that I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the book itself. For example, it is not cloth bound or fancy, but instead has a very simple, no frills binding. It is simple, but solid, and stands out well among the other books on my shelf.
I was also expecting a book this thick to have thin pages, slightly better than newsprint. Instead, the pages are luxuriantly thick, allowing Campbell's simple artwork to really stand out.
If the folks at Top Shelf happen to read this review, please, please put something like this together for Glenn Dakin's comics as well.