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American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar - Stories Paperback – 23 Jan 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (23 Jan. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840237872
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840237870
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 27.7 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

Praise for the American Splendor movie:
Academy Award Nominee: Best Adapted Screenplay
Writers Guild of America Nominee, Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner Best Picture and Best Screenplay, National Society of Film Critics
Winner Best Picture, Sundance Film Festival 2003
Winner New Director's Award, Edinburgh Film Festival
5 Independent Spirit Award Nominations
5 Satellite Award Nominations

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
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This needs a bit of explanation. It's a true story but it sounds strange. Once there was an earnest young jazz fan called Harvey Pekar living in Cleveland, a grim industrial place by the sound of it. He collected records and through that obsession he met Robert Crumb, who you all know to be the most famous "underground comics" artist ever. Crumb was just beginning his journey to the heart of the hippy nightmare. Harvey was and is a guy with strong opinions. He hated his own joyless life - by that time he even hated his own record collecting obsession! - and he wanted to express his own disgust with modern America in some way - but how? In previous decades he might have written an unreadable social realist novel, but in 1970s Cleveland he thought of comics. But not comics as we know them. Miserable comics about live-as-it's-really-lived (by Harvey that is). The bad news was, he couldn't draw. The very good news was, however, he knew Crumb, and Crumb liked his ideas, and so agreed to illustrate them. So began a series of comic books called American Splendor (ironic title, you see). Harvey paid for the printing &c himself, and as they've never been especially popular, he's never made any money out of his strange project, which is in essence a kind of ongoing comic book diary/autobiography/social commentary. So he always had to have a day job (filing clerk at a hospital) which he hates with a passion, but also loves (because it's so easy!). Somewhere along the line somebody made a stage play about the whole thing, and now they've made a movie, called American Splendor, of course. Which is pretty good, but quite peculiar. In the movie the actor playing Harvey goes to see the play about Harvey (in which Harvey is played by another actor) and also meets the real Harvey.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar is the largest published collection of the comic series, containing the complete text of American Splendor and More American Splendor. With an introduction by R. Crumb and art by Kevin Brown, Gregory Budgett, Sean Carroll, Sue Cavey, R. Crumb, Gary Drumm, Val Materick, and Gerry Shamray this is 320 pages of a classic American comic.
Pekar's work is a cerebral approach to the comic medium. Many of the panels have no dialog and only illustrate the external while the text reveals the thought stream of Pekar's mind. His ability to portray the inner workings of his thoughts, in a humorous and sympathetic manner, is the key to the success of his writings. The comic is a working class version of Seinfeld with a populist self-made intellectual as the leading character. Yet there is a Existentialist angst to this work that puts it in a class by itself.
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Format: Paperback
After watching the movie American Splendor, I was intrigued by what this comic book had to offer. It's nothing like traditional comic books, and knew it had something to say about american society and life in general.
First of all, this book offers a range of short storys by Harvey Pekar. The stories are about his daily observation, social commentary and about his daily mundane life. The subjects explored in this book isn't too hard hitting, just about the pleasures, displeasures of life. Things to do with the american justice system, violence and crime. He writes in a down to earth manner, thus the reader is able to easily identify with him.
He is a quirky and sometimes humouristic writer. Often containing clever references in a clever prose, very similar to Woody Allen. A times he shows the catharsism and delicacy to handle engaging stories about his own feelings which often works very well. The book is illustrated beautifully with a range of artists who show unique expression and understanding of how to depict a story.
However where the book failed was its inability to capture any continuity in its narrative. I felt some stories would have worked much better if they were somehow melded into a continuence rather fragmented. Or perhaps extend some of the stories. This would have made it even more easier to read.
Overall a very good book which shows some sophistication in its execution of subject matter and narrative. The book is not suited for everyone, but anyone who is willing to read a different kind of comic book. Here it is!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x934c0588) out of 5 stars 29 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91b2d3cc) out of 5 stars Splendid 27 Sept. 2003
By Johnny Heering - Published on Amazon.com
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.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91b2d420) out of 5 stars Life as it's never portrayed 11 Feb. 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
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!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91b2d678) out of 5 stars Real life made entertaining........ 30 April 2004
By James Fasnacht - Published on Amazon.com
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91b2dca8) out of 5 stars This book literally changed my life! 10 Jun. 2004
By Andre M. - Published on Amazon.com
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.
23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x91b2dccc) out of 5 stars Harvey's First Collection, Possibly His Best 26 Mar. 2000
By Chris Bryant - Published on Amazon.com
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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