After the Snooter
The most obvious difference is the dropping of the Alec psuedonym — Campbell’s now Eddie, raising kids and publishing for himself (an endeavor he seems to have since stopped, with his former website gone and Amazon listing his books as coming from Top Shelf instead of Eddie Campbell Comics).
The snooter is a odd mythical bug, like a supersized mosquito with the curled-up proboscis of a butterfly. Its touch creates a bubbling rash symbolic of night terrors and adult fears of physical breakdown and decay.
At a certain point, the mature person begins looking backwards instead of forwards. Instead of “what can I create?”, the questions become “what have I accomplished? what will I leave behind?” As a result, the stories here go further back than before, with Campbell looking at his childhood and adolescence and art school, how he became the person he was.
Topics include taking the children, now personalities in their own right instead of just “the baby”, to visit their grandparents and trying to run his company out of the front room, complete with worries about overdue checks and tax deductions. Campbell’s characters Bacchus and the Snooter meet him in the kitchen post-midnight to express concerns over how much he drinks, and he explores the aftermath of From Hell becoming a film and tries the sideline of being a court sketcher.
Campbell also visits with Alan Moore, in a portrait of the artist as a post-success magician remodeling a house, and Neil Gaiman, in country on a personal appearance. He remembers his first exposure to American comics, a story that shares much in common with those of many other boys fascinated by the work of Stan and Jack.
The short length of most of the pieces and their everyday focus keeps the mood light, even with the framing sequence and underlying grumpiness.