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American Splendor and More American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar Paperback


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American Splendor and More American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar + The New American Splendor Anthology: From Off the Streets of Cleveland
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345468309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345468307
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The inspiration for the award-winning movie
from HBO Films and Fine Line Features

AMERICAN SPLENDOR
The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar

Two classic comic anthologies in one volume

Stories by Harvey Pekar

Introduction by R. Crumb

Art by Kevin Brown, Gregory Budgett, Sean Carroll, Sue Cavey, R. Crumb, Gary Dumm, Val Mayerik, and Gerry Shamray

The classic collection of the comics that inspired the movie American Splendor, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival

American Splendor is the world?s first literary comic book. Cleveland native Harvey Pekar is a true American original. A V.A. hospital file clerk and comic book writer, Harvey chronicles the ordinary and mundane in stories both funny and touching. His dead-on eye for the frustrations and minutiae of the workaday world mix in a delicate balance with his insight into personal relationships. Pekar has been compared to Dreiser, Dostoevsky, and Lenny Bruce. But he is truly more than all of them?he is himself.

?Mr. Pekar has . . . proven that comics can address the ambiguities of daily living, that like the finest fiction, they can hold a mirror up to life.?
?The New York Times

?[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.?
?Chicago Sun-Times

?Simply stated, American Splendor is the most superb literary endeavor to come off the streets of Cleveland in decades.?
?The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

?Mr. 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

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I've been a fan of Harvey Pekar's work for over fifteen years.
Poet Warrior
Although I haven't been able to see the film just yet, I did get a chance to purchase the book in my college bookstore!
Phillip Smith
I think if you saw the movie and liked it, you will also dig this book.
Johnny Heering

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Johnny Heering on September 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book contains two classic comic anthologies in one volume. It features the contents of the out of print books American Splendor and More American Splendor. Obviously, this was released to capitalize on the publicity that the American Splendor film is getting. Well, if the movie inspires people to search out the comics of Harvey Pekar, that is a good thing. This is great stuff. Harvey has a way of making ordinary life seems interesting. I think if you saw the movie and liked it, you will also dig this book.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's one of the marks of a genius that he can see what's extraordinary in the ordinary. That's Harvey Pekar's gift. While he may seem mordbid or depressing to some, the way he renders the little moments in life is truly inspiring. I would recommend this book to anyone who says "drama is not the stuff of ordinary life." Wrong! It just takes the right eye to see it. Pekar also reminds me of Charles Bukowski (Post Office) and Richard Perez (The Losers' Club). I recommend American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar -- highly!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Fasnacht on April 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I had all of Harvey's comic books up until 1980. When I came back from Navy boot camp I looked all over the house for them. I couldn't find them, however, and came to find out my mom threw them away! It was a huge disappointment because anyone that has read his accounts can identify with the material. I forgot about American Splendor until a few years ago...when I came across a copy of the anthology at a book store here in Cleveland. I bought it and found the other anthology and Our Cancer Year at Amazon. Bought both issues without a thought. You can take solace in the fact that "you aren't the only one" going through these things. It is very cathartic. Sometimes I'm glad I don't have Harvey's problems and other times I would trade mine for his. A friend of mine, knowing my conservative views, was surprised to find my interest in American Splendor. "Sure", I told him, "Harvey is on the left and I'm on the right politically, but life's problems aren't political. Hey, when you get to thinking about it a broken down car or lost glasses afflict us all." I would recommend this book to everyone because
we are all in the same boat...some just sink faster.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Chris Bryant on March 26, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first paperback collection of Harvey's work, and no collection is complete without it. There are more one- and two-page stories than his later work, and this edition does concentrate on Harvey's work life more than anything else. The longer story on how he got to meet Bob Crumb is priceless. It never fails to amaze me how truthful Harvey is about his character flaws, and that's one reason his work is so compelling. Definitely worth the money and time to have Amazon hunt this one down for you.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andre M. on June 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
When I was a student at the University of South carolina in 1987, I was browsing through the library and I came across "American Splendor" with the cartoon cover of Harvey on a Johnny Carsonish talk show. It looked interesting, and when I read it- WHOA!
These are stories straight from real life like you've never read them before! The tale of the old man who tells Harvey great stories,but clams up when he meets an attractive lady. Emil,the lonely Slav whose racism covers his insecurities, Mr. Boats, the cranky old man whose race (African-American) is never called attention to in the stories. I was moved more than anything I've read since Charles Schulz and said, "DAMN! If this guy can write like this,I should give it a try."
Since then,I've been a newspaper commetator as well as a writer of historical articles.
Thank you Harvey, for showing me that I can.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Phillip Smith on November 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff". After seeing the trailer of the movie adaptation of American Splendor I knew that I had to see it. Although I haven't been able to see the film just yet, I did get a chance to purchase the book in my college bookstore! Harvey has a way of writing his comics to give you the REAL way of looking at the world in which we live in. Having had a friendship with Robert Crumb makes Harvey Pekar's work right up to par with Crumb. I think that Harvey Pekar is one of the best comic book writers out there, although under-rated, but I think that he's been able to come through for the fans and I can't wait to see the movie!
This is our world, this is life, this is American Splendor :) .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Walters VINE VOICE on May 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of Pekar writings from the 1970s and 80s was issued on the heels of the film "American Splendor," and it collects some of the best of Pekar's earlier work. Although not exclusively chronological, the presentation of the material gives a good idea of Pekar's life from his post-high school days through his meeting and marrying Joyce Brabner. (For a strictly chronological memoir, see Pekar's recent The Quitter.)

In the later Pekar work, the centerpiece of much of it is Pekar's obsessive-compulsive anxiety. But a lot of this work focuses on what might be described as Pekar's existential anxiety: his terrible loneliness, his anger and alienation, his dark reflections on the meaning of life, his desire for recognition, his regret over wasted opportunities and adolescent hubris, and his worries about future contingencies (financial security, illness and death, old age). The Pekar who comes through in these pages isn't the lovable crank of the film. Rather, the person who comes through is the outsider, a self-educated man, extremely knowledgeable in literature and music, who disdains a "normal" lifestyle and seeks freedom through nonconformity. Perhaps the finest single piece Pekar has ever written, "I'll be Forty-three on Friday (How I'm Living Now)" speaks to all this. The collection's lead story, "The Harvey Pekar Name Story," in which Pekar winds up asking "Who IS Harvey Pekar?" is a perfect set-up.

Of course, there are also lighter moments in this collection. Mr. Boats (wonderfully illustrated by R. Crumb) appears here a couple of times, and he's always good for a bit of gently funny homespun wisdom. "Mrs. Roosevelt and the Young Queen of Greece" and "On the Corner: A Sequel, June 1976" are touching pieces about the bittersweetness of memory. And the penultimate story in the collection, "Common Sense," would make even a dyed-in-the-wool misanthrope love humanity.

Highly recommended.
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