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This graphic autobiography helped me understand much of the recent history of graphic novels. The names, which I had come across before, were slightly familiar to me; but I had no idea really who these writers and artists were, or what they looked like. For example, Alan Moore. I did not, for one thing, know he was British, and I had no idea he was, like "big, hairy Alan Moore," as Campbell, and his alter ego, Alec, tell us.
But I am by no means an aficionado of either comics or graphic novels. For example, I found Moore's "The Watchmen" very boring.
I do think that Campbell's exploration of "how to be an artist," is applicable across many other fields, even as a metaphor for certain kinds of life today. It's the whole process of trying to achieve fame through what you hope are your special talents. It could apply to wannabes in any area, acting, music, art, academic scholarship, athletics, inventors, scientists, and on and on.
But this metaphor, of striving to achieve fame and hopefully fortune, is not all there is to life. It is the life of the small self, the self that requires affirmation from outside. Unfortunately, as Alec discovers, and as Alan Moore discovers, and as Billy the Sink shows through his behavior, having achieved fame and/or fortune does not lead to happiness inside, and can often make things more difficult.
Thus, Alec's story is really, truly a morality tale. His life, finally, boils down to his wife and child, and he sees this, but of course he must go on pursuing his goal of fame and fortune. I mean, he has to make a living to feed himself and his family and he's bored with just routine work, in a government office or sheet metal factory.
Alec's route through all this, through youthful ambition to fatherhood and family responsibilities, are emblematic of the lives of many, as noted, not only artists, but of anyone who believes they he has an undiscovered talent, which will one day make him a fortune or at least bring fame. Sometimes, people will even settle for notoriety, that's how much they want to be noticed by others.
Pitiful, yes, but Alec faces the pity, the ups and downs, and Campbell really makes a unique book here. He ties his story with the interactions, the growth and decline, of the particular field he is in, comics or graphic novels. It's really a fascinating read. But much of the typeface is just too small, that's the one problem.
Review: Alec: How to Be an Artist (Alec #3)User Review - Scott - Goodreads
First third, the beginning of his career, and the last third, where he discusses more reknown artists like Alan Moore, David Sims, and others, were the interesting parts of this book. Read full review
Campbell's storytelling for Alec: How to be an Artist is interesting in that he not only traces his own history, but that of the graphic novel at the same ...
All Yours in No Easy Steps - TIME
"Alec: How to be an Artist" can be found in better comicbook stores and through Eddie Campbell's American agent Top Shelf Productions. ...
www.time.com/ time/ columnist/ arnold/ article/ 0,9565,128668,00.html
COMICON.com: THE FATE OF EDDIE CAMPBELL, ARTIST
Those familiar with Campbell's work might know his other volumes in this series include Alec: The King Canute Crowd, Alec: How To Be An Artist, Alec: Three ...
www.comicon.com/ cgi-bin/ ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=005054
Alec: How to Be an Artist » Comics Worth Reading
Eddie Campbell has been cartooning for a long time, and in Alec: How to Be an Artist, he shares his wisdom about the field in an autobiographical ramble ...
comicsworthreading.com/ 2006/ 11/ 15/ alec-how-to-be-an-artist/
Eddie Campbell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alec: How To Be An Artist (2000), a study of the art form and of Campbell's own artistic journey, and After The Snooter (2002), in which Campbell appears to ...
en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Eddie_Campbell
read yourself RAW - Profile: Eddie Campbell
Cover - Alec: How To Be An Artist Alec: How To Be An Artist Eddie Campbell Comics, 2001 Eddie Campbell has created a graphic novel about the rise and fall ...
www.readyourselfraw.com/ profiles/ campbell/ profile_campbell.htm
Comic Book Galaxy - Pushing Comix Forward Since 2000.
ROB VOLLMAR: Eddie, your new collection on the horizon is Alec: How to Be an Artist. How would you describe the function of this volume in relation to The ...
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
... as a swift comparison of the sketch on the front and the photo on the back of the latest volume Alec: How to be an Artist makes clear, he is a portrait, ...
Paul Gravett: Biography
This role earned him the tag Man At The Crossroads from Eddie Campbell in his graphic novel Alec: How To Be An Artist, "He will be the purest, ...
www.paulgravett.com/ biography/ biography.htm
Mars Import - News, Reviews and Interviews
MI: Final question, Eddie ... on the inside back cover of the new book, you list as coming soon, Alec: How to be an Artist and The Snooter. ...