Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life Goes On
It's tough for me to award any effort by Harvey Pekar any less than five stars but today I'm biting the bullet and giving this effort but four. Don't get me wrong; Pekar is still the best there has been. I am in complete agreement with Anthony Bourdain's appreciation "the times he lived in cannot adequately be remembered without him (Pekar)." Somewhere along the line,...
Published on May 2, 2011 by J. Brennan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody does it better
Not his best book but 'ok' Pekar is better than no Pekar - especially with this posthumous release that offers slice of life vignettes on people both mundane and quirky that Pekar does so well at immortalizing on his pages.
Published 17 months ago by Sibelius


Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Life Goes On, May 2, 2011
By 
J. Brennan (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" (Paperback)
It's tough for me to award any effort by Harvey Pekar any less than five stars but today I'm biting the bullet and giving this effort but four. Don't get me wrong; Pekar is still the best there has been. I am in complete agreement with Anthony Bourdain's appreciation "the times he lived in cannot adequately be remembered without him (Pekar)." Somewhere along the line, however, Pekar seems to have lost some of the verve (except in the masterful "Neighborhood Spark Plug") for selecting and presenting the profundities of life's minutia. In this book he often appears to favor of a broad chronological overview of events. The book's first two stories exemplify this quality.

"Hollywood Bob" is certainly an interesting character but rather than offer a 26 page timeline of Bob's life wouldn't the old Harvey have been able portray one particular incident that would have been indicative of Bob's character and told his story with a more metaphorical grace? Same goes for "Tunc and Eileen: Their Ups and Downs." These are interesting and worthy people but Pekar seems to be lacking any meaningful interconnection with their lives. He is looking at them from afar. The writing becomes an aloof and journalistic "just the facts" "Dragnet" style. In comparison to such past masterpieces as American Splendor issues 3, 4, and 5, readers experience "Old Jewish Ladies in the Supermarket Lines," Mr. Boats, Rollins, and Freddy from his weekend visit (check out his supper with the Pekars in AS 5) far better from far fewer pages than they ever experience Hollywood Bob or Tunc and Eileen. These older vignettes are masterfully evocative of a character's identity, perhaps because of Pekar's close proximity and daily interaction with the individuals he's portraying.

Could it be that this perceived distance from his subjects is a result of Pekar's more or less recent celebrity status or is he simply picking the wrong subjects or towards the end of life getting a bit lazy with his craft? It is true that the term "our man" (thinking celebrity), Bourdain refers to, if used more recently by Pekar wouldn't ring as true as it did in "Awaking to the Terror of the Same Old Day" or "Short Weekend" (AS 3). Still a writer of Pekar's caliber should be able to compensate and imbue these recent efforts with the quality that make some compare him to Proust. Happily the third, and strongest, offering of the book, "Neighborhood Spark Plug," shows that Harvey retained the ability to portray a character through the quintessential moment.

Certainly some of "Neighborhood Spark Plug's" quality is derived from Pekar's connection to such 20th century touchstones as diners and vintage pop-art curios. American Splendor 3 opens with an appreciation of the Hamburger King diner near Wrigley field. Anyone who seriously follows Pekar is aware of his interest in flea markets and thrift stores. "Rag picking" with Pekar is illustrated in several stories ("Scenes from Star Books" AS 5, etc.) and even the American Splendor film depicts him searching through garage sale boxes for used jazz sides. It's only natural that he is concerned with and pays tribute to the folk who provide the community with such time-honored pastimes and gathering places. Steve Presser, who brings a pair of diners and a vintage toy store to Cleveland, is thus rendered with sensitivity and depth.

"Neighborhood Spark Plug" basically depicts Presser's struggles in bringing a diner to Cleveland. It opens with Harvey and Joyce going to breakfast at the now established diner and quickly evolves into Harvey collecting the story of its creation from Presser. It is clear Pekar recognizes a kindred spirit in Presser. Through the travails of finding, transporting, restoring, and trying to maintain this diner Pekar elegantly displays his subjects character and motivations with a depth and sensitivity not achieved in the previous tales.

Even the art, competently done by Summer McClinton throughout, appears elevated by Pekar's storytelling in this tale. There are some excellent interior and exterior diner panels (p.66, the family scene 68, p.72, p.74, p.84, p.86) and great juxtapositions of Presser next to the rigger that is trying to rip him off (p.78, 80). I particularly enjoyed the drawings of Presser with the Heinz catsup bottle, p.82 and the outstanding series on p.85 depicting the hardships of owning a restaurant. These panels tell stories. This art ranks with the best of classic Pekar, by Crumb, Dumm, and Budgett, and shows how the vision and empathy of the writer impacts the artist.

The flagship story "Huntington West Virginia "On The Fly" doesn't really break any new ground. There, again, a lot of stuff is happening with little focus on specific events. It is very similar to other late Pekar road trip stories about going to comic conventions or movie premieres, as in Our Movie Year, etc. and certainly doesn't come near the quality, reality, and angst portrayed in such epics as Harvey's trip to San Francisco in "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" from American Splendor 1. Still it was a fun read and overall a great joy to get one of the final Pekar offerings. There is enough greatness here to really make us lament the loss of Pekar. Life goes on, as they say, but who is left to speak for the average guy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody does it better, March 6, 2013
By 
Sibelius (Palo Alto, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" (Paperback)
Not his best book but 'ok' Pekar is better than no Pekar - especially with this posthumous release that offers slice of life vignettes on people both mundane and quirky that Pekar does so well at immortalizing on his pages.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Flying High, December 10, 2012
This review is from: Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" (Paperback)
Harvey's last book before his death, "On the Fly" is one of his best. The best part of the book to read is when he becomes involved in shooting an independent film in Huntington at a comic book store. Wish Harvey would have wrote more on that. Enjoyed the book, good read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Our man, on the fly, October 16, 2012
This review is from: Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" (Paperback)
Harvey Pekar's work are the polar opposite of what most people imagine when thinking of comics. There are no superheroes or dramatic storylines, and no colour - Pekar wrote about ordinary people, usually living in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and their lives as well as his own life as a file clerk. This method can sometimes backfire as the peoples' stories can be at times a bit dull. "Eileen and Tunc" is a charming story of two people who found each other after somewhat difficult lives and are now planning on curating a comic book exhibition of Tunc's extensive comics collection. It's charming but a bit too ordinary to be interesting to read. Same goes for the story of the man who started a 50s style diner, went bust, sold it and started a comics/toy shop. Of the 3 ordinary people's stories, the first one, "Hollywood Bob" is the best about a wayward young man who lived a life of crime before turning it around by starting his own tyre business and moving into a successful limo service.

The best part of the book is the fourth and final story, also thankfully the longest, featuring "our man" Harvey as he embarks on a journey to a book festival in Huntington, West Virginia to give a talk about his work. Readers of "American Splendor" will know that such a trip inevitably entails delays and numerous gripes that Pekar will pick up and somehow make interesting for the reader despite their mundaneness, and that is the case here. Pekar searches for his daily stipend for food while filming a cameo in an independent film and buys a new pair of shoes: strange to say but this is genuinely riveting reading. It's a tribute to Pekar's writing and strong sense of storytelling that he's able to take these everyday events and make them interesting to the reader.

I am already a Harvey Pekar fan so I know I like his brand of comics storytelling but anyone thinking if comics are all sex and violence and capes should definitely be pointed toward a Pekar book for an alternative perspective. I felt the personal stories that make up the first 100 pages to be enjoyable but a bit dull in places, not Pekar's best work, but the final 60 pages featuring Harvey make this worth reading for all fans of his work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, February 7, 2013
By 
Mary (Brooksville, FL USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" (Paperback)
This book really has nothing to do with Huntington. Not at all what I was expecting. I gave it away.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Failure to Fly, July 10, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" (Paperback)
This is a sad little after thought of a book.

Unless you feel compelled to read every book Pekar wrote, don't bother with this one. It adds nothing to his legacy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly"
Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" by Harvey Pekar (Paperback - April 26, 2011)
$19.95 $15.80
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.