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Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation Paperback – April 28, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595583211
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595583215
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Pekar (American Splendor; Our Cancer Year) adapts Terkel's masterpiece of oral history in this loving tribute. Working features various artists, including Sharon Rudahl (A Dangerous Woman: the Graphic Biography of Emma Goldman), Terry LaBan (Edge City) and frequent Pekar collaborator Gary Dumm (Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History). Though several of Pekar's colleagues have connections with the labor movement or activism, this volume does not push a particular political or social agenda. It simply adds dimension to Terkel's original, illustrating the daily concerns of working men and women. As is typical in collections, some of the pieces are stunning, while others merely adapt the story. Two standouts are Jack Spiegel: Organizer and David Reed Glover: Stockbroker, perfectly illustrated by Peter Gullerud and Pablo G. Callejo, respectively; Gollerud's stark woodcuts recall the art of the labor movement, while Callejo's meticulous detail and use of shading reflect the claustrophobia of a desk job. This collection will capture the interest of Pekar fans and Terkel aficionados alike, particularly in light of Terkel's death last year. (May)
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From Booklist

Studs Terkel’s Working (1974) was one of the first attempts to chronicle the lives and attitudes of America’s workforce. This black-and-white graphic adaptation, faithfully rendered by some of today’s most prominent alternative cartoonists, brings a variety of professions into focus: a farm worker, a hooker, a barber, an organizer, a garbage man, and many others. Everyone interviewed explains the hardships and joys of working (surprisingly, the garbage man seems to derive more pleasure from his job than a successful actor does from his). All these life stories give us new insights and ways to approach the world of work. The artwork supports rather than overpowers the testimonies, and the adapters have tried to remain faithful to Terkel’s oral style. Overseen by scholar Paul Buhle and working-class comics creator Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), this valuable adaptation is both a companion and an introduction to the work of Studs Terkel. --Stephen Weiner

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on November 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
A graphic adaptation of Studs Terkel's Working seems like such an obvious idea once someone else has put it on the market. It is the kind of project that has to make every up-and-coming comics writer wonder, "Why didn't I think of that?" But underground comics veteran Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) and editor Paul Buhle did think of that, and the result is a brilliant reimagining of Terkel's career-defining work.

Terkel's Working, with the apt subtitle People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, was originally published in 1974. In it, the oral historian provided a wealth of interviews with people from all walks of life--from businessmen to athletes to a prostitute--digging into what makes the professions significant for each of them. The in-depth interviews offer insight into everything from the commonplace details of the jobs to existential ponderings.

Pekar translates these interviews to the graphic medium with help from a wealth of talented artists, while he adapts much of the writing himself. The formatting of the book remains the same. The graphic adaptation is divided into nine-subsections, or categories, with a few interviews comprising each. Every artist converts one or two interviews into several pages of comics, using verbatim interview text as dialogue to let the characters tell their stories.

The art helps the reader visualize these people and the work they do. Readers will likely gravitate to certain styles more than others, as they are all strikingly unique in this collection. For this reader, Peter Gullerud's work on "Jack Spiegel, Organizer" is the highlight of the bunch. More so than any other artist in the collection, Gullerud envisions pages rather than panels when putting together his art.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Richard C. Geschke VINE VOICE on December 13, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The eminent beatnik Maynard G. Krebs described "work" as the ultimate four-letter word. As you of the younger generation scramble to go on Wikipedia to learn who Maynard G. Krebs was, I will digress to the review on hand.
Harvey Pekar's graphic adaptation of Studs Terkel's "Working" is an ingenious use of the graphic media. For those of you who don't know Studs Terkel, once you've gone into the inner workings of this book you will see the genius of Terkel's journalism. This book was first published in 1972 and it dealt with the working people of America. Terkel was always known as a writer of the people and this work is truly representative of his oeuvre of work. To me Terkel as a writer of the Midwestern ilk, much like Mike Royko, gives us a dose of reality in telling their wonderful stories.
What Pekar has done is to put these stories of the common life working people into graphic form. Each story is done by a different artist¸ so each story has a different texture and a different feel that best represents the job. The purpose of each story is to describe the life and problems of each person describing their slice of the American workplace.
The book is divided in categories as determined by Terkel such as Footwork, In the Spotlight, and Second Chance etc. We have angry people, determined workers, union people, scared people and people who just tolerate their working fates. As you read through each scenario, you will find some graphic depictions with much too much narrative and confusing graphics which are hard to follow. In other stories the graphics set the mood and there's minimal narrative which accurately depicts their job description. Pekar's aim is to create the mood of each and every worker's story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine A. Dalbec on October 8, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have really enjoyed the graphic adaptation of Studs Terkel's book. I have the original book but, found this to be a fun, unique presentation of the author's great work. Glad that I purchased it.
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