Best of American Splendor
By Harvey Pekar
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345479389, 336pp.)
Publication Date: January 25, 2005
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Experience the heartwarming all-American story of a crank and his comic book.
What’s a file clerk from Cleveland doing with an Oscar nomination? How did a movie about Harvey Pekar win the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival? The story begins in 1976, when Harvey began publishing his autobiographical, slice-of-downtrodden-life comic book series American Splendor, illustrated by a who’s who of underground comic artists, including R. Crumb, Kevin Brown, Greg Budgett, Sean Carroll, Sue Cavey, Gary Dumm, Val Mayerik, and Gerry Shamray. After self-publishing American Splendor for nearly two decades under less than splendid conditions (and racking impressive accolades in the process), Harvey finally got a break when Dark Horse Comics took over the publication in the early 1990s. It was an opportunity for Harvey to reach a wider audience–which, as it turned out, included a few Hollywood types, too. (Who knew?) But that’s another story. . . .
Now we are happy to bring you the Best of American Splendor, a collection of some of Harvey’s greatest work. Harvey Pekar has been compared to Theodore Dreiser, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lenny Bruce, but this collection is a true American original. Just like Harvey.
Fresh Air remembers the comic book writer with highlights from 2003 and 2005 interviews. Pekar, who died Monday, was the author of the series American Splendor, which captured the angst of a man struggling with the daily ups and downs of life. More at NPR.org
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“Pekar lets all of life flood into his panels: the humdrum and the heroic, the gritty and the grand.”
–The New York Times Book Review
“[Pekar] has a vision that makes daily city life–a ride on the bus, a run-in with a boss, or simply buying bread–dramatic.”