Whatever Happened To ... Andre Campbell?

Andre Campbell is legally blind, but has a vision of making it as a comic book artist.
By David Rowell
Sunday, October 11, 2009

Last December, the Magazine published an article about legally blind artist Andre Campbell and his determination to make it as a comic book author and illustrator. Afterward, Campbell heard from readers who were moved to help his cause. Some wanted to buy his comics, and a few donated money to help him purchase equipment that would make drawing easier.

In a scene in the story, Campbell gets to try out a closed-circuit television system that magnifies and projects printed material onto a monitor. Campbell, who had mostly stopped reading more than 25 years ago, was mesmerized, but the CCTV was out of his price range. After reading the story, a couple from Virginia offered to buy him the system, which cost about $2,500. They delivered it the day after Christmas.

Campbell, a lifelong superhero devotee, chose a Batman graphic novel as the first thing he would read. "I mean, it really was great," he said. He explained that a Batman book is typically awash in grays and dark blues, and even when he tried to study the artwork with a magnifying glass the colors would become muddy. But not with the CCTV.

"After going so long with not reading," he said, "it's almost nostalgic to me because I used to read 60 [comic] books within a few weeks' period." Campbell, who does his family's cooking, will sometimes slide a recipe into the CCTV, as well.

When Campbell and his creative partner, Tyran Eades, exhibited at the Pittsburgh comic book convention in 2008, they didn't generate much in interest or sales. This year, they returned with three new comics done by Eades and a poster book of their characters. They were also armed with this Magazine's cover illustration of them, which imagined them as superheroes. Campbell was excited to show it to one person in particular: the convention's special guest, Stan Lee, the man who created Marvel Comics and so many of the characters Campbell still loves today.

For weeks, Campbell planned what he was going to say. When the day arrived, 1,000 people got Lee's autograph; Campbell and Eades were No. 3 and No. 4 in line. Campbell took Lee's hand in his and told him, "Thank you for inspiring me to do what I'm doing now."

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