Must reading: Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine has a comic book cover story — not one of the usual stars of comics, like Frank Miller or Art Spiegelman or Chris Ware…but on Andre Campbell, a legally blind artist who is one of those folks in Artists Alley you passed by countless times:
Having toiled for nearly 20 years, Campbell, 44, had produced — with Eades’s assistance — one comic book and one graphic novel, both self-published, starring Campbell’s Alpha Agents (“Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”). Unlike the professional comic book artists, who had been invited to attend and who had made their names by working on some of the most beloved superhero titles of our time, Eades, 33, and Campbell had paid $150 out of their scarce resources to rent a table. But now they were focused on the significance of this day. For the first time, they had traveled to an out-of-state convention to promote their company, Heritage Comics HSQ (Heart, Soul, Quality). When they found their way to the corner of the convention center set up for small-press artists such as themselves, they settled in for eight hours of talking up characters that no one had yet heard of.
Writer David Rowell walks us through everything in a clear-eyed, but sympathetic manner. As a comics professional, I would have dismissed Campbell by the second paragraph of his story — or other people, like Vell Trueheart , a 60-something comics rookie who can’t afford a scooter because she’s sunk so much money into her comics. They are the peripherals, the hangers on, the dreamers. Rowell takes us inside Campbell’s dream, and you can’t help but dream with him, because all humans must dream, must aspire.
The article begs the question of whether the dream is worth having…or worth spending $3 on. And that is the harsh judgment the passers-by must make, and keep making. The process has no end point. Campbell will keep dreaming — and we will keep walking by.
Edit: There was a chat today, with both Rowell and Gregory, on Washington Post dot com that you might also want to check out