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The Fate of the Artist

(Alec #5)

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  431 ratings  ·  67 reviews
In this pseudo-autobiography, the subject of the memoir has vanished without a trace. Through six separate threads, each one typographically and stylistically distinct, a private investigator tries to discover the artists' fate through false trails, family and daily life reenactments, and even an imaginary Sunday comic strip. As the narrative threads intersect and collide ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by First Second (first published April 1st 2006)
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Apr 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Comix Nerds, Arts Nerds, Book Nerdz
Shelves: public-library
Has Eddie Campbell lost his shit? Eddie Campbell has always been a sentimental favorite for me. I straight up ripped off his work for an AP Comp assignment in high school. He, along with Bukowski and Li Po, made me romanticize drinking before I ever drink, drank, drunk.

This book is a formal experiment, an attack on Scott McCloud's definition of comics, the detritus of an attempted History of Humor that he never completed, a prose/photo/comic assemblage, and, clearly, a total mess. But still char
Jul 03, 2007 rated it liked it
Cool and curious, this "autobiography" is more akin to an art installation by the late Joseph Beuys, e.g., or some of Beck's earlier compositions than it is to my ideas about story or even graphic novel. This is a book in pieces -- a bunch of interpolated yet recurring texts, comic strips, photo panels, watercolor scenes, sketches, interviews -- that have something to do with their maker, the artist Eddie Campbell.

It's a really cerebral, weird, and challenging experience. Read it, yeah, but read
A waning artist and his fate. It's a common story, I sense.

The most memorable thing about this is the mix of aesthetic styles (previewed on the cover). There are prose sections, comic sections, comic strip sections, more graphic novely bits, and at least one interview using photographs. And it does all blend seamlessly to tell one tale.

It just wasn't a particularly memorable tale. Insecure white male cartoonist who's getting older.
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphicnovel
I was excited to read this book and the interesting mixed media approachit used (combination of comics, photos, text, illustrations), and saw potentially something mind-blowingly awesome.

But the more I read, the less I got the plotline and deeper meanings that Eddie Campbell was trying to get across, and eventually, I put the book down.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
You can examine your life a bit too closely, and you can make the mistake of thinking other people will care about what you find.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loeg-archives
Nobody should be allowed to do autobiographical comics except Campbell. He's set the bar too high, and frankly, everybody else is just kind of embarrassing themselves when compared to his books.

Fate is the "true" tale of artist Eddie Campbell's last days - he's gone missing and his wife (in mostly prose sections) and daughter (in most photographic sections) must answer questions about his character, associations, interests and what he was doing when he disappeared. It's totally hilarious.

Throw i
Jul 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
I honestly did not understand most of this, and didn't really feel connected to Campbell in any way. Parts towards the end reminded me of It's Such a Beautiful Day , and I kind of enjoyed the slight poignancy, but as a whole I really wasn't into the lack of coherency.

Maybe fans of Campbell would enjoy this more, or maybe even those just familiar with his work, but I won't be picking up anything else of his anytime soon. I feel like whatever Campbell was going for was lost in the attempt, and ev
Woody Hayday
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
An honest eccentric rouse, perhaps an experiment by the author. It works for me, and on the whole, I enjoyed it for what it is. Could have rounded off better in the last 5th, but makes up for it in imagination and a good blend of approaches.

Woody Hayday
Oct 29, 2017 rated it liked it
1 point for being murdered and body filed in poetry section in Library
1 point for uselessness of work
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
Funny stuff. Definitely not the usual graphic novel.
Lisa Rector
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Unique, thought provoking, and funny. What more could you ask for!
Cindy Huskey
This one was just not for me.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Sang seniman, bernama Eddie Campbell, tiba-tiba merasa muak pada karya-karyanya, dirinya sendiri, dan para penggemarnya. Sehingga pada suatu hari ia menghilang begitu saja. Seorang detektif yg bertugas menyelidiki hilangnya sang seniman memulai pencariannya di kediaman Campbell dengan mewawancarai istri dan anak perempuan Campbell yg tertua, Hayley. Demikianlah buku ini dimulai, berbentuk prosa yang dituturkan oleh si detektif; ditampilkan dalam teks yang diselingi ilustrasi kecil di sana-sini. ...more
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wow - what a strange and beautiful book. I have the feeling that I'd enjoy it a lot more if I'd been a voracious reader of graphic novels all along (there seem to be in-jokes) - but the language and writing is phenomenal and thought provoking and the layout is close to brilliant. I will probably be done with this one by the end of the weekend so more (including rating) tk.

Just finished this. I rated it 4 because 5 would put it up there with On the Road, but easily it's one of the best graphic no
Aug 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Eddie Campbell offers an odd take on the concept of biography. Writing as if he has disappeared, Campbell uses collage, typography, photography, doodles, and newspaper strips to catalog the history of himself as seen through others. Each chapter takes a fictional detective deeper into the mindset of a visual and linguistic artist. A photo interview with Hayley Campbell about her father's viewpoints shows how similar and different family can be. Discussions with the wife in cartoon style reveal h ...more
Nov 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Eddie Campbell's pseudo-autobiography. Full of different types of graphic novel - comic -type stuff: real pictures of his daughter with word bubbles, fake newspaper strips, watercolors with drawings paper clipped to them. Regular typed prose.

The premise is that this autobiography contains no appearance of the author himself. It's kind of like Hemingway's TRUE short stories, I suppose. Half way through it I was pretty enamored with the book, but at the end the momentum of the thing kind of got l
The Fate of the Artist by Eddie Campbell explores multiple themes (an artist's work, the life of the mind, family dynamics), all while deconstructing the narrative of a person's life: what would the ingredients of an individual's autobiography be?

He tackles these themes through a non-linear approach, with six interwoven threads, each distinct stylistically, with varying art, typography, tone.

If you do pick this one up (and you should, it's a pretty interesting ride, unless of course you're par
Jan 07, 2011 rated it liked it
In The Fate of the Artist Eddie Campbell tries out a whole host of half-baked ideas: an investigation into his own disappearance told in prose, comic scenes from his life (but with his own part played by an actor), little snippets from imagined newspaper funnies, and odd digressions into art and music history. Sound confusing? It is. That's not to say that The Fate of the Artist doesn't have its enjoyable moments. We still get the whimsical look at his home life that makes the Alec comics so end ...more
Rocky Sunico
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
While initially I found this book rather confusing, by the end I had been more than surprised at the ingenuity and creativity of this work. It's probably the most fascinating biography that I've ever read mainly because of how the story was told and not just the events in the life of the person being discussed.

The somewhat stream of consciousness nature to the storytelling can be a tad confusing at times, but most of it will make sense in the end and the other bits won't - but you won't mind too
Tom LA
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
My first and very last Eddie Campbell. Mediocre drawings by a grossly immature person, all about himself, with a sense of humour so weak that it didn't even make me vaguely smile, not even once. The only thing I liked was the messy range of typographic styles. But the content ... oh, the horror! It can be summarized in the following statement: "I'm an artist! I have therefore the right to be a lazy self-obsessed ass!". Only loser seems to be anybody who, in the real world, actually has to live w ...more
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
The first of Campbell's books published by First Second, this was also the first color work I'd seen from the artist. Anyone who has read Campell's Alec books will be in familiar ground here, and for anyone who hasn't read them, imagine a somewhat magical roman á clef with the author poking fun mostly at himself. The fully-painted artwork is a real treat here, especially after years of reading his work in black and white (and often on newsprint). The relationship with First Second seems to have ...more
Nov 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
Eddie Campell dissapears in this tale while his family ponder wether he is safe or not and discuss his mental health while revealing some pretty eccentric behaviour. Interweaved are snippets of stories from the world of arts over the years. Those bits can fuck off. Dunno if it is meant to be real or is made up?
Contains his usual artwork which to me looks like he is talented but can't actually be arsed putting much effort into most pictures. TFotA also contains a bit of mixed media as well, photo
Apr 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Eddie Campbell deconstructs the "Alec Stories" (see THE YEARS HAVE PANTS), his own life, his work as an artist, and to some extent the idea of comics themselves. Full of wit and melancholy, and sporting lovely color production values, I don't think the whole thing ever really comes together (perhaps it's not meant to), but I like a lot of the parts, and I [particularly like the creator's ambition and risk-taking. This reader hopes THE FATE OF THE ARTIST is not so much a Coda to the ALEC stories ...more
Andrew Horton
May 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who hate "persepolis"
Eddie Campbell continues to detonate and deconstruct the idea of "comics" and "sequential narratives" while spiralling closer and closer to brilliance. "The fate of the artist" is a meta-memoir mixed with an incomplete history of humor and peppered with a bunch of weird Sunday Funnies-esque comic strip pastiches that mirror and augment the main story. There's actually very little "comic art" here - instead, there's a ton of watercolor painting, assembled photographs, and some sketchwork. It's on ...more
Look, I love metapraxis like it's nobody's business, but this was pushing it a bit for me. I feel like his self-descriptions were a bit indulgent. The photography segments didn't work for me either. Too literal. I don't know ... I haven't seen his work before, I'd certainly try another. The style of his work feels a bit naff to me as well (dated? is that a bit mean?). Had a lot of good moments though.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: comic
Campbell seems to enjoy writing about his life. I didn't really care for the narrative, but some of the vignettes were enjoyable. I could have done with less art history, I am now thinking that the overly dull architectural tour of London in "From Hell" is more Campbell than Moore. I really enjoyed the use of multi-media in the illustrations. Also some of the comics I quite liked especially the "Honeybees".

Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
i read this last night, so i may as well put it up here. it's a graphic novel, but has some pages of text interspersed with newspaper-style comic strips, photos and other drawings. the story is that the author has gone missing and a detective is interviewing his family, so most of the book is descriptions of his behaviour and character. i enjoyed it, but i think i missed the undercurrent of "deep despair" that the publisher's weekly reviewer saw.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it
It's a book that's ABOUT art, man. Can you even handle that? All of your assumptions will be challenged! All of them! Get ready, you're about to see words and images manipulated in a way that rejects all of the conventions you didn't even know you were clinging to like a scared tree-weasel.

But it really is a good book. I liked the lawn-mowing scene a lot. The story has a heart and that stuck with me.
Jul 26, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2006
i read this last night, so i may as well put it up here. it's a graphic novel, but has some pages of text interspersed with newspaper-style comic strips, photos and other drawings. the story is that the author has gone missing and a detective is interviewing his family, so most of the book is descriptions of his behaviour and character. i enjoyed it, but i think i missed the undercurrent of "deep despair" that the publisher's weekly reviewer saw.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Quite good, but defies most conventional explanations. The best I can come up with is "a sort of semi-autobiographical Griffin & Sabine-ish story in mostly-comics form." A bit unwieldy, perhaps, but as accurate as I can get. The mixing of styles - prose, traditional comics, newspaper strips, a bit of fumetti - may be jarring for some, but the end result is a very nice package. The story might not light your world on fire, but the experiment itself very well may.
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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

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Alec (6 books)
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  • Alec: How to Be an Artist
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  • The Lovely Horrible Stuff