August 10, 1955) is a Scottish comics artist and cartoonist who now lives in Australia. Probably best known as the illustrator and publisher of From Hell (written by Alan Moore), Campbell is also the creator of the semi-autobiographical Alec stories, and Bacchus (aka Deadface), a wry adventure series about the few Greek gods who have survived to the present day. His graphic novel The Fate of the Artist, which playfully investigates Campbell's own sudden disappearance, was published in May 2006 by First Second Books. His latest graphic novel, The Black Diamond Detective Agency, also published by First Second Books, is due out in Spring 2007.
His scratchy pen-and-ink style is influenced by the impressionists, illustrators of the age of "liberated penmanship" such as Phil May, Charles Dana Gibson, John Leech and George du Maurier, and cartoonists Milton Caniff and Frank Frazetta (particularly his Johnny Comet strip). His writing has been compared to Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller.
Campbell made his earliest attempts at autobiographical comics in the late 1970s with In the Days of the Ace Rock and Roll Club. This evolved into Alec, with the character of Alec MacGarry standing in for the author. Campbell self-published these early comics in the amateur press association BAPA and then as short-run photocopied pamphets in London in the early 1980s, selling them at conventions and comic marts and via Paul Gravett's "Fast Fiction" market stall. When Gravett founded Escape Magazine, Campbell was one of the artists featured. In 1984 Escape published Alec, a slim collection of his semi-autobiographical stories. This was followed by two further collections, Love and Beerglasses (1985) and Doggie in the Window (1986). In 1990 all three were collected, together with some unpublished material, as The Complete Alec (republished as The King Canute Crowd in 2000).
Two further slim volumes, The Dead Muse (1990) and Little Italy (1991) appeared through Fantagraphics Books. Graffiti Kitchen, which Campbell considers the highpoint of the series, was published by Tundra in 1993, and The Dance of Lifey Death followed in 1994 from Dark Horse Comics.
Campbell then followed up these works by self publishing two larger works. Alec: How To Be An Artist (2000), a study of the art form and of Campbell's own artistic journey, and After The Snooter (2002), in which Campbell appears to have laid Alec McGarry to rest. Both works were originally serialised within his Bacchus magazine, but were reworked upon collection.
Campbell did start to serialise another work, The History Of Humour, within the pages of his magazine Eddie Campbell's Egomania, but given the demise of the magazine in December 2002 it is questionable if this work will ever be finished.
The character of Alec received a nomination for the Squiddy Award for Best Character in 2000. The graphic album Alec: How to Be an Artist was nominated for the Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Previously Published Work in 2002.
The success of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles led to a short-lived explosion of black and white independent comics in the mid-1980s. Campbell joined in, creating the series Deadface for small British publisher Harrier Comics, telling the story of Bacchus, god of wine and revelry, and the few other Greek mythological figures who have survived to the present day. When the Harrier series ended after eight issues, Campbell began publishing short Bacchus stories in a variety of anthologies, before Dark Horse Comics reprinted the Harrier series as Immortality isn't Forever in 1990 and the short stories as Doing the Islands With Bacchus in 1991. Campbell continued the story with Dark Horse until 1995 as a series of miniseries.
Beginning in 1989 Campbell illustrated Alan Moore's ambitious Jack the Ripper graphic novel From Hell, serialised initially in Steve Bissette's horror anthology Taboo. Moore and Bissette chose Campbell as illustrator for his down-to-earth approach which gave the story a convincing realism and did not sensationalise the violence of the murders. After Taboo folded From Hell was published in installments by Tundra and then Kitchen Sink Press, until the epilogue Dance of the Gull-catchers saw print in 1998.
Under the influence of Dave Sim, Campbell founded Eddie Campbell Comics and began self-publishing in 1995, after the film rights to From Hell were optioned. The monthly series Bacchus reprinted and completed the story begun in Deadface, as well as carrying new and reprinted Alec stories. He went on to collect both Alec and Bacchus as a series of graphic novels. He also published the collected edition of From Hell, and comics adaptations of two of Alan Moore's performance art pieces, The Birth Caul and Snakes and Ladders.
Facing an increasingly indifferent market for his work, and the collapse of his U.S. distributor, Campbell ended his publishing imprint in 2003 after releasing the second issue of Egomania.