ALEC: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Size Omnibus)

ALEC: The Years Have Pants (A Life-Size Omnibus)

by Eddie Campbell

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"This impressive collection-a high-water mark in the graphic novel's short history-confirms that no one else in the medium combines emotional truth, literary intelligence, and formal daring with such adroitness and elegance." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Witty and thoughtful ... a great and epic comic documentary novel like no other." -- Publishers Weekly


"This impressive collection-a high-water mark in the graphic novel's short history-confirms that no one else in the medium combines emotional truth, literary intelligence, and formal daring with such adroitness and elegance." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Witty and thoughtful ... a great and epic comic documentary novel like no other." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The fact that we are finally able to watch young Alec slowly evolve, page by page, from a cheeky wastrel into a mature artist deeply committed to his work and his family is nothing less than a revelation ... the three decades of mature, complex and emotionally compelling work compiled here represent a major accomplishment in comics storytelling, and in storytelling, period. It's nothing less than a modern epic of the everyday." -- Glen Weldon, NPR

"A profound piece ... Campbell makes it feel like the greatest adventure imaginable." -- Alex Pappademas, GQ

"Campbell's art develops into a heroism of the freed line: like the blade of a skater, his pen achieves a precarious and delicate grace that should be recognized as a landmark in the history of comics." -- Rain Taxi Review of Books

"Eddie Campbell's Alec stories were among the first of the modern era of autobiographical comics, and they still rate among the best-witty, brilliantly illustrated, self-mocking without ever being mopey or pathetic, and most importantly, forever changing style to suit the needs of the story... Watching Campbell's storytelling and approach to art progress and evolve as these stories unfold is as close as you can get to watching a real human life change on the page. One of the must-own releases of the year." -- The AV Club

"If autobiography is the lingua franca of the graphic novel form, Campbell is its undisputed Shakespeare." -- Richard Pachter, Miami Herald

"ALEC is magic, and even if I knew how all of it was done I'd be doing you a disservice if I pointed out the wires and mirrors. ... It is written by someone who obviously finds being alive an endless source of novelty and conundrum." -- Alan Moore

"Do you need me to tell you how good Eddie Campbell is? Or that ALEC is probably the best book-length comic about art and wine and midlife crises and families and friends and wine and love and art and saying goodbye and terror there is?" -- Neil Gaiman


For the first time ever, the groundbreaking 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 Eddie's own life, filtered through the alter ego of "Alec MacGarry." Over many years, we witness Alec's (and Eddie's) progression "from beer to wine" -- wild nights at the pub, existential despair, the hunt for love, the quest for art, becoming a responsible breadwinner, feeling lost at his own movie premiere, and much more! Eddie's outlandish fantasies and metafictional tricks convert life into art, while staying fully grounded in his own absurdity. At every point, the author's uncanny eye for irony and wry self-awareness make even the smallest occasion into an opportunity for wit and wisdom. Quite simply, ALEC is a masterpiece of visual autobiography.

ALEC: THE YEARS HAVE PANTS (A LIFE-SIZE OMNIBUS) collects the previous Alec books THE KING CANUTE CROWD, GRAFFITI KITCHEN, HOW TO BE AN ARTIST, LITTLE ITALY, THE DEAD MUSE, THE DANCE OF LIFEY DEATH, AFTER THE SNOOTER, as well as a generous helping of rare and never-before-seen material, including an all-new 35-page book, THE YEARS HAVE PANTS.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Just about the last thing that the comics world needs (apart from more action/horror mashups) is another dry and inspiration-free autobiography—thankfully, Alec shows with thrilling certitude that quotidian observations make just as great comic art as the most action-packed fiction. This monster of a book (billed as “the definitive edition”) contains a life's worth of Campbell's previously published Alec MacGarry stories. Running from 1981 to the present, these witty and thoughtful pieces (etched with the prolific Campbell's typically scratchy impatience) show Campbell's alter ego progressing from irresponsible Scottish pub crawler to striving graphic novelist to responsible and reasonably successful Aussie father. Along the way we can trace Campbell's rise from penny-pinching obscurity to relative fame, sketching an engaging portrait of the comics community. Though best known for his Alan Moore collaboration From Hell, Campbell shows in his MacGarry stories a breezy comic touch that can still flirt with darker topics of artistic responsibility and mortality without weighing down the narrative. The book can drag in its earlier, more minutely observed pages, but taken as a whole, delivers a life-size work, a great and epic comic documentary novel like no other. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This Edinburghian transplanted to Australia is best known for bringing to life From Hell, Alan Moore's Jack the Ripper masterwork. Also responsible for the well-regarded The Fate of the Artist and The Amazing Remarkable Monsieur Leotard, Campbell published numerous autobiographical improvisations in small press publications, starring his Alec persona. Pants collects most of these, plus new material, in one wry and monumental 30-year opus. The detailed depiction of daily life in Campbell's work invites comparison to the American Harvey Pekar, but their characters are very different and Campbell stands out for his exquisite skill at depicting the Gordian knots of human relationships. Alec shares endless and congenial glasses with friends and acquaintances, philosophizes in quirky and perceptive nuggets, and manages his life in an endearingly ad hoc fashion from factory hand to full-time comikker while confronting his own inner killjoy (After the Snooter). VERDICT Campbell's sketchy, fluent black-and-white chronicle is highly recommended for all sizable and serious adult graphic novel collections and everywhere autobiographical stories are popular. [See Martha's Q&A with Campbell in BookSmack! 11/5/09.]—M.C.

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