American Splendor , is an ongoing chronicle of his life in all its quotidian glory. Until now, he's only written n"/>

The Quitter

Harvey Pekar, Author, Dean Haspiel, Illustrator . DC/ Vertigo $19.99 (104p) ISBN 978-1-4012-0399-3

Pekar's work, memorialized in the movie American Splendor , is an ongoing chronicle of his life in all its quotidian glory. Until now, he's only written nonfiction vignettes of his life as a jazz-loving slacker. The strength of Pekar's work is in his depiction of moments, but you have to read a great deal of it to understand the overall arc. This autobiographical full-length comic amends that problem, providing the missing overview: a searingly honest memoir of a smart but troubled boy who depends on quitting any time he might fail—a strategy that eventually leads to a near-nervous breakdown after he joins the navy. But Pekar doesn't dwell on his anxiety with the look-at-me tantrums of Philip Roth or Woody Allen—he's not that indulgent. Pekar's frequent artistic collaborator Haspiel provides the square-jawed, nebbishy characters, drawn with a fat, '60s line, giving a sharp-edged sense of the frustration and tension of an immigrant midcentury boyhood. This book is full of the deeply flawed but sympathetic characters that populate Pekar's work: his hard-working but oblivious parents, an overrated tough guy Pekar beats up, the jazz writer who gives him an outlet away from being a street tough. Pekar's work dignifies the struggle of the average man, and this book shows how that dignity is earned. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 08/29/2005
Release date: 10/01/2005
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