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Alec: The Years Have Pants (Alec #1-4)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  183 ratings  ·  35 reviews
For the first time ever, the pioneering autobiographical comics of master cartoonist Eddie Campbell (From Hell) are collected in a single volume Brilliantly observed and profoundly expressed, the ALEC stories present a version of Campbell's own life, filtered through the alter ego of "Alec MacGarry." Over many years, we witness Alec's (and Eddie's) progression "from beer t ...more
Paperback, 638 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Top Shelf Productions (first published 2009)
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best memoir graphic novels
68th out of 123 books — 236 voters
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Community Reviews

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Sometimes I will see an image and I will get a sudden, involuntary flash of a time I never actually experienced, but that (I think) I glimpsed in cartoon form as a child and internalized. It's definitely British (or maybe New Zealand-ish) and it's from the late 70s and that's all I can tell you, because this flash is lightning brief and then it disappears to the nether regions of my brain, only to stop by for brief and rare visits. It's frustrating because it's never long enough to hold on to, y ...more
Alec: The Years Have Pants collects all of Eddie Campbell's autobiographical comics, excluding Fate of the Artist. As such, the individual stories within vary in quality, but the overall collection is an essential book for anyone interested in this area of Campbell's career. Here are my reviews of the individual books.

The King Canute Crowd: 3 stars. This is my least favorite of the stories collected in this volume. There's evidence of Eddi Campbell's skill as a storyteller, but the story of this
Eddie Campbell is a master of the delicate sketch which is weighted down by some secret foundation. Were I to do this over again, I'd find copies of his Alec books in their separate volumes and space my reading of them out.

I really liked the first 3 chapters (2 books and a collection of fragments.) I thought How to Become an Artist was interesting mostly to people who care about the comics business (and artists, obvs). The rest of it was good, but the tone was that of a man who does a lot of dit
Salvatore Privitera

Una vita per l'arte

Alec McGarry lavora in una fabbrica di profilati metallici e vorrebbe fare l'artista.
Con queste premesse inizia un'epica durata trent'anni in cui Eddie Campbell ci mette di fronte alla sua vita come uomo e come artista.
Nelle quasi settecento pagine di questo volume vediamo Eddie/Alec dividersi tra pub e fabbrica, finire in prigione per disturbo della quiete pubblica, muovere i primi passi nel mondo del fumetto indipendente, diventare padre, abbandonare l'Europa per l'Austral
Jun 17, 2011 Andy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
I bought this with a book voucher I got on my birthday in 2010. I've slowly been reading through it since. Mostly when the mood struck. I'd never heard of it but then Neil Gaiman mentioned it in his blog and while browsing I found this and thought the weight and size of it made it a worthy purchase.

I haven't always liked it but it's so compelling you can't really leave it for too long (though it clearly took me a while to complete the thing). The more I enjoyed reading the slower I got as I didn
Nov 26, 2011 Damon added it
Shelves: on-hold
Kind of stalled in the middle of this. Actually, not even the middle. That's the problem, really - it's not that this stuff isn't good, it's just that one giant 600+ page dose of it is enough to choke you. I'll come back to it and finish, but it's impossible to keep enough momentum going to plow straight through.
I got bored and gave up on this one. I know it's supposed to be a classic of slice-of-life cartooning, but it was just too slow and meandering for me.
I'm still figuring out how I feel about this. The Graffiti Kitchen section is amazing.
Scott Foshee
A Life, Honestly

I am a big fan of autobiographical graphic novels. I think they appeal to me because of the way they can personalize an experience with the truth of a diary or journal while still allowing the author to stylize the narrative to present multiple layers of meaning and impression. Excellent examples of this genera include works by Chester Brown, James Kochalka (the “American Elf” series), Derf (“Punk Rock and Trailer Parks” and “My Friend Dahmer”), Harvey Pekar (“American Splendor”)
Russell Grant
There's not much new these days about autobiographical comics. Seems the shelves are full of them, with each author seeming to try to out do each other with misery and pathos.

Way back in the early 80's (which seems far to soon to be saying "way back", Eddie Campbell of Scotland started publishing the true life tales of the pub crowd he was a part of using the character of "Alec" as a substitute for himself. I stumbled on these when they were being published as a back up feature in his self publi
Paul Schulzetenberg
A good book, and up my alley, but lacking a certain something to put it over the top. It's got some wry humor sprinkled throughout, and it's true to life. But I wanted a little something more. It was just missing the sparkle that separates really good graphic novels from the also-rans.

I think part of my difficulty with the book is due to a generational divide. I have the luxury of looking back at this collection with the benefit of hindsight. I know what comics are capable of becoming, and I kn
Mar 01, 2010 Rick rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: comics
Probably best known for his collaboration with Alan Moore on the extraordinary From Hell , Eddie Campbell, serving as both writer and artist, first gained acclaim for Alec, the thinly-veiled autobiographical adventures of a Scottish artist. Alec: The Years Have No Pants collects all of the very frank, often humorous previously published tales plus a new story. While all the stories showcase Campbell's distinctive art, the highlight of this impressive book derives from the evolution of the artis ...more
4.5 stars. A true opus, this book compiles much of Campbell's life's work - by which I also mean the works are about his life. The art of storytelling is apparent, including the choice of where to begin, as he says, the exact moment he found his artistic voice. I always find the choices, and sharing the process with the readers, to be a welcome addition to whatever I am reading.
Dan Trudeau
It was difficult assigning stars to this book. I struggled with about the first third of it. While I'm a big fan of Campbell's illustrations, the details of his (or Alec's) early adult years weren't as engrossing to me as I wanted them to be.

The good news is my interest went up considerably as I moved into the rest of the book. I knew I'd enjoy his recollections from his years coming up as a comic book artist, but what I hadn't counted on was how much I enjoyed the little moments from his famil
Dec 31, 2010 Joseph rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Loners, Bill Posters, graphic novelists
[Author: Eddie Campbell] is an amazing storyteller and a pioneer in his field. His autobiographical approach to the stories are as honest as [Author: Alison Bechdel]'s discomforting self-examinations in Fun Home, but without her goofy sense of humor. The eponymous Alec (Campbell's alter ego) is as insular and self-focused as Jersey Shore's The Situation, minus the six-pack abs and dinner-plate pectorals. And Campbell's postmodern interpretations of plot echoes the hyperrealism driving the 2004 c ...more
David Schaafsma
Huge tome of just about everything autobiographical, including all the Alec stuff, from Eddie Campbell, who worked with Alan Moore on From Hell. Has useful things like How to be an Artist and if you know From Hell you get a few things on Moore, but not much, really... His quick sketch style (like ANTI-glossy) is appealing, especially for its subject: Eddie himself, in some ways like a daily journal.. He digs up everything he could find in every closet, so much of it is like curiosities, throwawa ...more
Este Omnibus es inmenso, con casi la totalidad de las obras de Alec.

Seguro si no me hubiera sobresaturado con su storytelling, este trabajo recopilatorio sería de 5 estrellas.

De lo mejor que pueden encontrarse en Scribd bajo novela gráfica.
(My complete review of this book will be published in the June 2010 issue of STRAPAZIN.)

THE YEARS HAVE PANTS is collection of 30+ years of the the most skillful, wise, funny, and moving autobiography/memoir ever created in the comics form. Like Boswell’s LIFE OF JOHNSON, perhaps the greatest life story ever related through anecdotes, THE YEARS HAVE PANTS will become a permanent resident on my bedside table, for easy access whenever I need a reminder that everyday life, with its ironies, happy co
Angus Stirling
The autobiography of a life not really worth relating.
Koen Claeys
Bored me to death for 150 pages, I didn't have the stomach for another 500 pages of this.
An impressive volume of work documenting an interesting and engaging life. It's even better read as a whole than it is read individually. I recall really hating King Caunte Crowd when I read it individually a while back, but in this volume, in this context, I loved it. It fit together with the rest, it flowed, so that it felt like a misspent (yet still well-spent) youth. And it's fitting that the book weighs quite a bit too and is hefty to carry around with you. It should be, just as the years t ...more
I've already read most of these stories in their individual volumes, but I wanted to see the new stuff / have everything wrapped up in a neat little package. Highly recommended: Campbell is the best there is at memoir / autobiographical comics, and he's certainly in the top tier of this kind of writing beyond the comics medium. There are few material things I love more than these comics (particularly The King Canute Crowd, the first section of this volume).
Kyle Burley
This massive collection of Eddie Campbell's autobiographical stories and sketches is as good as this sort of graphic novel gets. Filled with truth, humour and in-your-face humanity.
Maybe a little overwhelming in this format(640 pages!!).
Life-sized omnibus indeed! This hefty tome was another great addition to my obsession with autobiographical comics. An added bonus for this particular collection was the overarching time-lapse view of the comics industry in the western world over the past few decades. Eddie Campbell seems to have an uncanny knack for surrounding himself with other artistic luminaries swirling around his floating head.
Steve Morey
An absolutely brilliant read. A collection of Eddie Campbell's autobiographical comic books.

I've never been a fan of autobiography in comic book form but this collection spanning his younger days, the rise of his role in the UK small press, and his 'wine' days was both funny and touching.
Josephus FromPlacitas
Dec 27, 2011 Josephus FromPlacitas marked it as got-about-halfway-through
Too much for me. Couldn't follow the vernacular and references to pubs after a while. Doesn't have the same amazing power of the Bacchus books for me. The claustrophobia of small-city alcoholic Brit life doesn't have the same awesomeness as an ancient booze god roaming modern Europe.
Oliver Hodson
It grew and grew on me, i think the snooter was the best section. I loved how the one pagers and the shorter stuff where the focus shifted mid story but it still felt whole. Also kind of a buzz to see a weighty tome and serious reflections on life and art coming out of Oz.
One of the finest comic bios I've ever read. Though some of the books suffer a little bit from a slight pretentiousness (I'm looking at you, How to Be An Artist), it's overall absolutely worth reading, especially for anybody interested in how comics work.
As I read through this, I have struggled to gauge how much the graphic artistry adds to the writing. I don't think I would have read it without the graphic component. Others seem much more enthusiastic about Campbell than I.
I could easily write 100,000 words about why this book is so incredible, but I'd rather you stop reading my "review" and just go buy this book already.
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Eddie Campbell has earned an international following. For over 25 years, he has blazed a trail in the world of graphic novels, and his work has earned nearly every honor in the field, including the Eisner, Ignatz, and Harvey awards.

With Alan Moore he created the towering opus From Hell, later adapted by Hollywood. Among the multitude of solo works he has produced, the epic series Bacchus brings th
More about Eddie Campbell...

Other Books in the Series

Alec (6 books)
  • Alec: The King Canute Crowd
  • Alec: Three Piece Suit
  • Alec: How to Be an Artist
  • Alec: After the Snooter
  • The Fate of the Artist
  • The Lovely Horrible Stuff
The Fate of the Artist The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard The Black Diamond Detective Agency Alec: How to Be an Artist Alec: The King Canute Crowd

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