The most recent volume of Pekar's autobiographical anecdotes about the nonevents of his life is so self-reflexive it threatens to swallow its own tail. Pekar has been writing American Splendor comics for well over 30 years, but as they've become a bigger part of his life, they've also become the subject of more of his stories. Many of the several dozen short pieces here at least touch on the process of working on his comics-a few are even variations on the groan-worthy "what am I going to write a story about? I know-I'll write about having to come up with a story!" formula. The book's artists, as usual, are decent to excellent-Pekar's got a fine eye for collaborators. Darwyn Cooke and Rick Geary contribute stylish short strips, and The Boys artist Darick Robertson is a particularly good match with his fine-lined, detailed facial expressions. A few strips are prime Pekar, observant and witty, especially a David Lapham-drawn piece in which he's pleased to discover "a hard-working, humane, knowledgeable barber"; he's also starting to explore the physical difficulties of aging in some stories. Too often, though, this volume simply rambles, with Pekar casting himself as a grouch talking to himself about talking to himself. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
American Splendor: Another Dollarby Harvey Pekar, Various
In 2006, comics legend Harvey Pekar brought his unflinching tales of ordinary life to Vertigo with an all-new run of AMERICAN SPLENDOR, the comic that, 30 years earlier, rose "from the streets of Cleveland" and changed how we look at comics. Often imitated but never duplicated, Pekar proved that he still has the power to "make mundane reality seem like the highest drama" (Entertainment Weekly) in his critically acclaimed Vertigo series.
Now, Harvey Pekar is back with an all-new volume of AMERICAN SPLENDOR, featuring his funniest, most poignant, somber and uplifting stories from the complex life of an ordinary man.
Once again, AMERICAN SPLENDOR pairs Harvey with some of the most exciting, innovative artists currently in comics, including David Lapham (YOUNG LIARS, Stray Bullets), Darick Robertson (THE BOYS), Chris Weston (THE FILTH, Fantastic Four), Dean Haspiel (THE QUITTER, THE ALCOHOLIC), Warren Pleece (INCOGNEGRO), longtime Pekar collaborators Greg Budgett and Gary Dumm, and other luminaries from both the mainstream and indie worlds.
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While not offering anything unusual this time around, Harvey Pekar still offers a solidly interesting look at his life and times in Cleveland, Ohio. By now American Splendor is like an old friend who may seem just a bit torn and frayed; however is still someone whose insights into the world are still worth discussing. Harvey has taken us through the mundane as well as the dramatic in his life as we have all been given this wonderful look into how he views the world. And while it may seem easy to look upon his life and times as something that doesn't touch me (after all, you won't catch ME obsessing about some old jazz record!) the truth is that the brutal honesty that Harvey offers to all of us reflects the brutal truth each one of us faces every day. Don't fool yourself into thinking this material is about triviality. It is more about the small things that make up each of our lives every day. And only Harvey can make those small things profound. It would be helpful to have read some of Harvey's earlier work (My Cancer Year, earlier issues of American Splendor), but it isn't necessary. The beauty of Harvey is that you can jump in at any issue and come away appreciating the clear eyed truth of Harvey Pekar.