After the Snooter

 AFTS   (Top Shelf, 2003)

™ and © Top Shelf

This collection of Campbell’s autobiographical anecdotes originally appeared in varied sources, so it’s likely that few have seen all of these collected short tales. This volume not only collects and brings together these loosely connected chronicles, but Campbell also takes the opportunity to create new chapters that serve as a pseudo-conclusion.

It’s an eclectic compilation, but the individual stories begged for assimilation into this book, because otherwise their loose associations to each other might easily go unnoticed. Campbell’s recollections range from childhood memories to personal observations; real-life and well-known comics creators and associates are featured, and there are several nods to the creators and stories that shaped Campbell’s career.

So what is The Snooter? Well, Campbell describes it as “the dark, encroaching terrors of night,” which certainly fits. But it seems to be more a symbol of demarcation than anything else, as the events that he conveys as taking place after The Snooter are those of his career in comics and self-publishing. The terrors of night that Campbell mentions are, perhaps, allegories of fear of the unknown, as he portrays his employment in a factory during his younger days as a peaceful if mundane experience, while his life as a comics pro is often shown as hectic and uncertain.

There’s also a line of demarcation between fans of Campbell’s work, who will most likely greatly enjoy this, and those unfamiliar with Campbell, who may find this to be little more than a set of introspective ramblings. But those looking to buy it will probably get it.

— Jim Johnson

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