Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me
Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me
Hill & Wang, Paperback, 9780809074044, 172pp.
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
In "Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me," one of the final graphic memoirs from the man who defined the genre, Harvey Pekar explores what it means to be Jewish and what Israel means to the Jews. Pekar's mother was a Zionist by way of politics, his father by way of faith, and he inevitably grew up a staunch supporter of Israel. But as he became attuned to the wider world, Pekar began to question his parents' most fundamental beliefs.
This book is the full account of that questioning. Over the course of a single day in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Pekar and the illustrator JT Waldman wrestle with the mythologies passed down to them, weaving a personal and historical odyssey of uncommon wit and power. With an epilogue written by Joyce Brabner, "Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me" is an es-
sential book for fans of Harvey Pekar and anyone interested in the past and future of the Jewish state.
JT Waldman was born and raised outside of Philadelphia, PA. A proud third-generation inhabitant of the area, he styles himself as an ambassador of the city of brotherly love. As a graduate of the University of Michigan he earned a Bachelor of Arts that prepared him for nothing, but made him suitable for anything. Currently, he is an Artist/Educator working as an independent tutor in his hometown. This book was conceived in Upstate New York, researched and translated in Jerusalem, illustrated in Barcelona, and brought all together in Philadelphia, PA.
Joyce Brabner is an award-winning author who frequently collaborated with her late husband, Harvey Pekar, on his American Splendor series. Her work includes the Real War Stories series, "Activists!", "Brought to Light" (with Alan Moore), and" Our Cancer Year" (with Pekar). She lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
“[Pekar’s] message here is important—that a good Jew asks tough questions, that a history of oppression requires us to be more conscious of the oppressed.”
—David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times
“This posthumous publication reflects the seminal graphic memoirist at his edgy best.”
—Kirkus (starred review)
“[T]his posthumous work by Pekar functions as a multipronged exploration of religious, political, and personal histories and is all the richer for it . . . A sweet and simple epilogue by Pekar’s widow, Joyce Brabner, provides the perfect capstone.”
“This is not only Pekar’s greatest work, but probably the most powerful use of his talent for plainly speaking truth to power and ignorance. JT Waldman masterfully captures the wry innocence of Harvey’s interrogation while still celebrating the subtle contours of modern American Jewishness.”
—Douglas Rushkoff, author of Life Inc. and Program or Be Programmed
“A fascinating history of the so-called Promised Land—as seen through the eyes of an estranged Jew from Cleveland. Brimming with classic Pekar asides and details, the book sheds light on a subject often obscured by heat. JT Waldman’s evocative artwork combines down-to-earth American Splendor–style illustrations with motifs inspired by everything from mythology and Islamic art to illuminated manuscripts and Chagall. I never got to say goodbye to Harvey, but reading this book was like having a final conversation with him.”
—Josh Neufeld, American Splendor artist, and author and artist of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge
“Pekar peppers accounts of perpetual persecution with poignant autobiographical anecdotes in this concise, compelling, and sure-to-be controversial graphic history of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. JT Waldman’s art, juxtaposing realism with ancient styles, rocking exquisite mosaics and elaborate medieval and Middle Eastern design flourishes, is nothing less than a majestic tour de Schwartz.”
—Jeff Newelt, Heeb Magazine comics editor, and editor of Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland
“Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me is Harvey Pekar’s final exploration of his conflict over the history of Israel, as illuminated by JT Waldman’s protean art. This is their Jewish Book of Hours.”
—Dean Haspiel, artist of The Quitter and Cuba: My Revolution
“One part history lesson, one part autobiography, and all Harvey Pekar, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me is an insightful look at one of the burning topics of our time. With Pekar’s scholarship and humor and JT Waldman’s stylistically varied art, this graphic book is visually entertaining and highly informative.”
—Peter Kuper, artist of The Metamorphosis