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June 19, 2006


Eddie Campbell

I can't find your email address, and I'm not sure if posting here puts the thing immediately online, but what the hell, I'll presume it does and be careful. I kind of make it a rule to not reply to reviews good or bad, because that usually leads to looking foolish, but i greatly enjoyed your write up and have an observation to add. You've no idea how I aggravated myself over whether to take out that scribble of god and redo it. You see, when i drew it i just cast around my desk top for the roughest looking scrap of paper to draw God upon. I'm being honest here when i say I actually didn't notice there was already writing on it. to me it was just dirt and noise. much later, when i was proofing the whole book I thought, waitaminnit, that damn thing is legible (What does it say?). Somebody somewhere will analyze it, surely? Perhaps even try to read the xerox on the reverse. The problem with that is that those words constitute the only object in the entire book that has not been put through the fictionalizing filter. (eg. the Cd cases you mention. I have no actual cd covers that use those images.). Then I have Hayley saying there were no words. Am i making her look dumb? I rationalized that perhaps they were as invisible to her as they were to me and started to find myself in another of those metafictional whirlpools that make up the book. Another thing, when I read the title of your post, I thought, that rings a bell... where the hell did i say that? it sounds like something I might have written and then rejected... (and in the book, I have rejected it after all...) oh well, you caught me out. Strange though it may seem, that is the only place in the entire book where I feel that I have been photographed naked.
You also pick up on another piece of complexity that i forgot to resolve. I originally intended to use the democracy of the french revolution as a metaphor for postmodernism (that's were i was going with the 'There are no people in it" line) by having that guillotine turn up later in a different context. It's still there in the text I suppose, but glowing so faintly it can only be seen with a telescope. Once the book was sold i seemed to be in an awful rush to have it in the first wave of releases. There's another place at the end of the Marlene sequence where I'm 'playing loud music'. I really should have made much more of that. How the art of music is put to use by us to reflect, implement, reinforce our moods. (Simply naming the musical piece and cross referencing it to another place in the book would have done the job)
Another thought. There has been some great analasis here in the comics blogosphere. Once we start going further afield the readings become less intelligent. A st. Louis paper wrote "A curious exercise in self-flagellation." (the only self flagellation going on is me kicking myself for those unresolved moments in the book mentioned above.) In our circle we are accustomed to paying attention to the tiniest detail, to selecting the words in our comics with the precious economy of the poet, knowing that they will be read in the same way ( there is enough of a cognoscienti to keep one happy). I'm blogging at Powell's this week http://www.powells.com/blog/ with the caereful tread of knowing i'm venturing out of the fold, and the first commentator on my first post has obviously not read the thing attentively enough. sigh, whatcha gonna do?



This is the problem working with living writers: you concoct a grand unified field theory explaining the text, painstakingly support it with evidence, and then the artist turns up to tell you it's all an accident. At least it's in the spirit of the book, the chance element that ruins the organizing system even as it completes the design, like the crack in Duchamp's The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors.

Somebody trying to read the print on the reverse--that would be me, not so much because I thought the print was important as because I could. I figured it for an email with a timestamp, something mentioning the Moore interview in Egomania. Jesus, look at me--I made fun of Chris Ware for decrinkling those Schulz doodles in McSweeney's but here I'm doing the same thing with material that's hot off the presses. Martin Rowson will be along to have my head any minute now.

Thanks for the kind words; always good to hear from you. I'm enjoying the guest blog.


Paul Worthington

Very nice explication of the book. As I read your post, I thought 'this is the kind of thing I imaging the artist himself would enjoy' -- and lo and behold, he did! Very cool.

Charles Hatfield

Marc, a terrific review & analysis of Eddie's book, engaging, eye-opening, and whip-smart. Worthy of the book, in other words!

Nice to see Eddie come along to throw a spanner in the works. :)

Good show!


Thanks Paul, Charles.

Flipping through the book again, I thought of another touch I loved but couldn't fit into the review: the way the final Siegrist strip completely violates the horizontal design of the modern gag-a-day comic strip format it emulates. You'd never be able to fit that configuration of panels on a comics page, which is part of the gag's surprise, but it's perfectly in keeping with the rest of the book--yet another spanner in the works.

Eddie Campbell

I find myself back here by way of Charles Hatfield's blog
Firstly, I certainly didn't mean to 'throw a spanner'. I just felt that i had been caught napping by a reader looking far more deeply into the mecahnics of the work than i had dared to hope for. And for that, you have no idea how grateful I feel. I worked so long on the book that in the end I was going back over and over tightening the screws.
Secondly, I remember thinking rigorously about whether that final page extension to the gag's allowable measure was a correct thing to do (there's an earlier version where it doesn't work that way). Again, thanks for thinking about half as much as i did myself.
See you in San Diego
best to all

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