The Second Fake Death of Eddie Campbell & The Fate of the Artist

Top Shelf. Jul. 2023. 192p. ISBN 9781603095242. $29.99. MEMOIR
Acclaimed cartoonist Campbell (From Hell) returns with a playfully metatextual memoir of life in lockdown at the height of the COVID pandemic. Too much time cooped up indoors has Campbell in a creative rut, endlessly tinkering with works of political satire that don’t have much to say about anything at all. Worse, his relationship with his wife, Audrey, has strained to the point where she wonders if he’s been replaced by an imposter. Inspired by this question, Campbell begins a new work in which a stylish detective, Royal Boomer, is hired to investigate whether Campbell is actually who he claims to be. The line between fiction and reality blurs as Boomer’s quest for the truth leads him to enter the “real” world, where interrogating a collection of Campbell’s friends and acquaintances reveals a surprising connection to plot elements from Campbell’s previous metatextual memoir, the classic The Fate of the Artist (the full text of which is collected as a B-side to this new story).
VERDICT Campbell merges memoir and hardboiled mystery to create a fascinating and revealing portrait of how world events impact an individual’s sense of self and creative drive.
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