Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 10, 2014

Rumor: The Strangest John Campbell Story I've Received Yet

So I've been told by a source I trust that the cartoonist John Campbell walked into a Chicago comics store with what may have been one of the non-distributed-after-he-made-them kickstarter books actually on fire and attempted to set a Chester Brown book on fire that was on the comic shop's stands. Campbell was apparently being filmed by someone with Campbell's phone; the story then goes that the person working the store defused the situation. The account continues that Campbell and friend left, against the store employee's desire they stay, with what may be footage we'll perhaps get to see.

I trust the person whose name is on the e-mail. I don't yet have independent confirmation -- an outside witness, or evidence in support. There's a chance this could all be an elaborate prank. I would not usually be open to being pranked in this matter, because I'd sit on the story until I heard more. This time I'm putting it out there because if it were my friend or someone I knew doing this I'd want to know immediately that it had come to this.

It goes without saying how not-acceptable and fucking bonkers -- not in an amusing sense where we're all delighted and entertained by the weirdness or happy to put some overlay of peformance art onto it but in a contemptible, what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you sense -- walking into a bookstore with something on fire would be. So let's hope the story is not true.

I've had two friends at two different times in my life that lost their ability to function in public in a way that led to increasingly indulgent behavior, in ways similar to this. In one case things worked out so that nothing happened except a bunch of us remain mad at this person for being a self-indulgent asshole. In the other case my friend's behavior became more and more peculiar and he finally shot at a mutual friend and some cops and he will be in jail for a long while yet, not being a dad to his kids in the way he'd hoped and not being a part of society in a way that I never thought a possibility. So if this is a thing, I'd like to see this stop now. Let me know if I can help.

For what it's worth, the person that told me the story has as their sole expressed concern worry for Campbell.

And if it's not true, let me know that, too, and I'll delete this the next second and we can all go back to work.
posted 2:19 am PST | Permalink

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