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The New American Splendor Anthology: From Off the Streets of Cleveland Paperback – January 22, 1993

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; 1st edition (January 22, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941423646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941423649
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This comprehensive collection of American Splendor autobiographical comics by Harvey Pekar features the artwork of many prominent underground comic artists, including Jim Woodring, Joe Zabel, Gerry Shamray, Chester Brown, Spain, Drew Friedman, and R Crumb. But Pekar is truly the dominant force here. Whether he is trading records, arguing with people at work, getting sick, or losing the library's copy of "Confessions of Zeno," you'll get right inside his head as he muses, worries, broods and gets [angry] at the people in front of him in line. Strong stuff with a hard edge of realism.
Compiled from the American Splendor comic books published in the 70's and 80's (which are now largely unavailable), this is highly recommended for those who dig underground comics, new forms of biography or jazz (Pekar is also a renowned jazz reviewer and writer who sometimes talks about music in his comics).
This is not a psychedlic "head" comic, and it does not try to be hip. Harvey is no hippy, he's his own person. There is some social commentary in there too.
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Format: Paperback
This is the second American Splendor Anthology. It features material that was written after the first Anthology came out, plus some older stuff that was left out of the first book. If you like Harvey Pekar's stuff, you will love this book. For people who became interested in Harvey because of the movie based on his life, you will be interested to find the comics based on his David Letterman appearances here. Also, Toby and the "Revenge of the Nerds" story is featured here. For Harvey's hardcore fans, there are some rarities here, such as pre-American Splendor comics from the early '70s, and Harvey's Forwards to other people's books. Buy this book, Harvey can use the money.
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Format: Paperback
I came across this book in a second hand book shop. Battered and dog-eared it set me back two pounds. Well worth six times that. Harvey narrates as if he is talking right to you, all the while probably wondering if your going to buy the records he's offering or if you'll leave in time for him to watch the game. His stories are rich with human insight, a special fave of mine being a single page story when a nerdy looking filing clerk hurts his finger and gets a plaster for it only to be unexpectedly hugged by a weeping black vietnam vet who had his life saved by him. Other gems are Harvey getting shortchanged for some grapes and his seemingly endless old book and record bulk buys. If it sounds boring, trust me, it's not. American Splendor is also drawn by a massive variety of top artists, Robert Crumb, Chester Brown and Jim Woodring to name a few.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have never read any of Harvey Pekar's work you should NOT start with this anthology. I loved the movie and wanted to experience some of his comics, so I picked this (probably based on the cover by Drew Friedman). I guess I should have known by now that if the title says "new anthology" then the better stuff would be in the "original anthology". My main problem with the book is the range in the quality in the artwork. Harvey Pekar's writing shines when the artwork contributes to the narrative, adding a level of nuance. There are a few topnotch illustrators included, R Crumb, Drew Friedman and Chester Brown. Pekar's work is at its very best when Crumb is illustrating it, and I think there are only 3 included here. Much of the other artwork is bland at best, amateurish at worst.

If you are a fan of Pekar's writing then it won't matter to you. His observation of life's mundane moments, and his own neurotic foibles is always somehow interesting. But, I have become familiar with his earlier writing and enjoy reading that more. In these pieces he is married, settled down and known as a comic book writer. He still works as a file clerk, but also travels to comic book conventions, appears on David Letterman and such. His life seems more stable. In the earlier stories he is still more of loner; sometimes he is an open wound, other times he is a keen observer of other quirky characters.
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Format: Paperback
I first became aware of Harvey Pekar from watching NBC's Late Night with David Letterman. Pekar, a Cleveland-based author and VA file clerk, refused to jump through the normal talk show hoops. (He even went so far as to wear an anti-NBC t-shirt during one of his appearances while the network was being struck.) Pekar has helped take comics beyond simply an entertainment for kids (the usual supermen in leotards). He tells stories of his everyday activities: record collecting, work, discovering wounded squirrels on the road, and appearing on David Letterman. Writing his own stories and having them illustrated by some of the best comic artists working, including R. Crumb, he's helped create a new form (or revive an old one?), the literary comic. Funny, interesting, and sometimes profound, Harvey Pekar is well worth checking out.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Since I was born and raised in Cleveland, this anthology done by Harvey Pekar intrigued me. Right from the start it caught my attention with the story "Pa-ayper-Reggs!!" This first vignette told the story of Russian/Polish Jewish peddlers which were so prevalent on the streets of East Cleveland from the 1920's through the 1950's. My earliest memories were of these horse drawn wagons being driven by these old Eastern European men shouting "Pa-ayper-Reggs!!" For those of you who don't know what this says it's actually a plea to collect old paper rags. What I really remember was that my Mother said that despite their looks these were men of wealth. Obviously this taught me that wealth can't be assessed on looks alone.
The stories spun from Pekar's hand are eclectic and are told in no particular chronological order. The subjects range from Harvey's childhood to his school years through to his rather ordinary job as a VA office clerk. His background shows his Eastern Jewish roots and in many of his stories he tells of his parent's lives and beliefs and how they raised him in the suburbs of Cleveland Heights. As story after story unravels, we see a man of above average intellect confronting everyday problems most of us confront every day. He surprisingly tells of his foibles and mistakes along with his temper that he inherited from his Father. Many of the depictions show areas of Cleveland well known to inhabitants of the Western Reserve. Among the depictions we see "The West Side Market", "Cedar and Lee" and "Hopkins International Airport".
Also I found the stories concerning his TV appearances on the David Letterman Show to be very confrontational and a contra-snub to all things "New York City".
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