The Fate of the Artist - Eddie Campbell

it hardly reads as something soul-baring enough to deserve a larger audience

Book Review by Ryan Van Winkle | 13 Sep 2006
Eddie Campbell's 'Fate of the Artist' is full of the blah-blah-blah overheard whenever you're unfortunate enough to sit next to two or more middle-aged women at a crowded café. "Oh," one might say, "You should see the state of Leroy's socks." Which is to say that 'Fate of the Artist' is far less pretentious than it sounds.

In fact, compared to the aching, narcissistic graphic novels of artists like Seth, Harvey Pekar and Chester Brown, Campbell comes off mundane and monochrome. The novel is like that cup of tea you have on Sunday morning when the flat is empty and the world lies silent. It's kind of lovely, but nothing to write about. Campbell examines his twee quirks through the eyes of his wife and daughter with game layouts and a readable nonlinear storyline. But it yields a novel about nothing.

In the end, the reader is left with the impression of the Artist as a kind of cartooning Larry David. A boob so full of mental bugs and twitches it's hard to believe he gets through a day in ordinary society. While this might make for a comic concept to Campbell's family and friends, it hardly reads as something soul-baring enough to deserve a larger audience. [Ryan Van Winkle]
The Fate of the Artist' is published by First Second. Out Now. Cover Price £7.99.