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The Lovely Horrible Stuff [Hardcover]

Eddie Campbell
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £9.25 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

10 July 2012
Money makes the world go round, as they say... but HOW, exactly? Award-winning graphic novelist Eddie Campbell (From Hell, Alec) presents a fascinating journey into the wilderness of personal finance. With his trademark blend of research, anecdote, autobiography, and fantasy, Campbell explores how money underwrites human relationships, flowing all around us like the air we breathe - or the water we drown in. The result is a whimsical graphic essay, deeply grounded in Eddie's personal experiences with "the lovely horrible stuff," ranging from the imaginary wealth of Ponzi schemes and television pilots to the all-too-tangible stone currency of the Micronesian island of Yap. In a world where drawing corporate superheroes requires literally transforming oneself into a corporation (which is kept in a shoebox under the bed), we are in strange territory, indeed. Fortunately, Campbell's wry eye and vivid full-color artwork imbue the proceedings with real humanity, making The Lovely Horrible Stuff an investment that's worth every penny.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions (10 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603091521
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603091527
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,298,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Wealth of (Island) Nations 31 July 2012
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Eddie Campbell's new book is divided into two parts. The first is mostly autobiographical and deals with Campbell's relationship with money - "The Lovely Horrible Stuff" - and how it dictates a lot of his life from relationships with his kids, wife, and father-in-law (whose own wheelings and dealings are discussed at length), to his professional life in comics and TV work. Campbell makes the distinction that though he is careful with money, he is not interested in it nor its highly complex structures in finance and accounting, choosing instead art and dreaming over the filthy lucre every time.

This first section was interesting in part, I found out that in order to be hired to work for DC and Batman that you needed to be your own company or else you wouldn't be paid, and found out that Campbell is apparently something of a media figure in Australia. However, it felt a bit sour to read about Campbell talking about his father-in-law's financial problems and how they trickled over to his own, but Campbell is perceptive enough to see how the situation turns him from happy-go-lucky artist to bitter old man muttering about money just like his in-law.

The second section deals with the island of Yap in Micronesia and the Yapese system of money which involves enormous stone disks with a hole in the centre. This was their currency and Campbell goes to great length in documenting their economic system, their culture and history. To be brutally honest, I didn't give a fig about the Yapese. They're a tiny island nation who bartered with large pieces of stone and that's it. I didn't care about which chief made which stone disk or which Western explorers showed up, it was just so tedious to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable romp 7 Sep 2012
Format:Hardcover
As a fan of Campbell's work I was delighted to receive this book. Campbell has moved his art style on a notch, and is experimenting with new techniques in this work, some of which work really well. There's some wonderful panels composed of photographs retouched with Campbell art, and the use of collage makes the reader question the veracity of the tale being told and the nature of story-telling itself. Campbell seems to be suggesting through his artistic choices that stories are in part a truth and in part a fiction, a hybrid of fact filtered through the human viewpoint.

The book is divided into two parts, each of which have strengths and weaknesses. In the first Campbell depicts autobiographical scenes musing on the role money plays in our lives and debates the merits of commerce and art. There are some delightful scenes with Shakespeare, and tales of Campbell's father-in-law are balanced with tales of Campbell's relationship with his own daughter. By the end of the first part Campbell has spun a yarn reminiscent of the childhood game hot potato.

In the second half Campbell revisits his themes using the Islanders of Yap and their usage of stone discs as a form of currency. It's a lively narrative that causes pause for thought and moments of genuine wonder. The book ends with a touch of pathos, as Campbell draws his threads together and leaves us to reflect on the nature of money, art and a hankering for an idyllic holiday which lasts just that little bit longer at somebody else's expense.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars The Wealth of (Island) Nations 31 July 2012
By Sam Quixote - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Eddie Campbell's new book is divided into two parts. The first is mostly autobiographical and deals with Campbell's relationship with money - "The Lovely Horrible Stuff" - and how it dictates a lot of his life from relationships with his kids, wife, and father-in-law (whose own wheelings and dealings are discussed at length), to his professional life in comics and TV work. Campbell makes the distinction that though he is careful with money, he is not interested in it nor its highly complex structures in finance and accounting, choosing instead art and dreaming over the filthy lucre every time.

This first section was interesting in part, I found out that in order to be hired to work for DC and Batman that you needed to be your own company or else you wouldn't be paid, and found out that Campbell is apparently something of a media figure in Australia. However, it felt a bit sour to read about Campbell talking about his father-in-law's financial problems and how they trickled over to his own, but Campbell is perceptive enough to see how the situation turns him from happy-go-lucky artist to bitter old man muttering about money just like his in-law.

The second section deals with the island of Yap in Micronesia and the Yapese system of money which involves enormous stone disks with a hole in the centre. This was their currency and Campbell goes to great length in documenting their economic system, their culture and history. To be brutally honest, I didn't give a fig about the Yapese. They're a tiny island nation who bartered with large pieces of stone and that's it. I didn't care about which chief made which stone disk or which Western explorers showed up, it was just so tedious to read.

Their inclusion is of course to make the point that their stone disks are as silly a currency as shiny gold in the West or the belief that a piece of paper is worth whatever the number printed on it. I get it, the concept of money is stupid but we need something otherwise society wouldn't function. But money can be art as seen by the stone disks which Campbell says could be viewed as sculptures as the merging of art and money in one. But it's still really dull to read.

It's an uneven book with the first part being more interesting than the faux-anthropological second part, though I can't say the book as a whole was particularly fun or engrossing. Fans of Campbell's work will no doubt enjoy this but I don't see it appealing to a broader audience - it certainly didn't grab me.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and unique 11 Oct 2012
By Floradora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I grabbed this book off a library shelf, and I'm sure I don't fit the expected demographic for graphic autobiographies. Publishers would look at me and say, "give her the widowed pie baking sleuth from the Isle of Wight who vacations in Tuscany" kind of book. But this intensely personal meditation on the meaning of money strikes many universal chords, and Campbell's art and humor make it wonderfully accessible. It is probably best read/viewed as a kind of poetry, about a subject that is very central to the human condition. Plus, I really enjoyed little moments like his image of money literally flying out the window.
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