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sledding

Harvey Pekar's American Splendor

When I was living in Chapel Hill, in the early 90s, I discovered a comic book called American Splendor (subtitle, "from off the streets of Cleveland"). It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I may be a nerd now, but when I was a kid I wasn't, so I never cared for comic books. Superheroes just never appealed to me. I preferred baseball (and football and basketball). American Splendor is what got me into comics. Harvey Pekar would do autobiographical vignettes about everyday life in Cleveland: about working in the VA hospital, about which is more satisfying, having sex or taking a dump, about (this is key) collecting records, about losing a paperback novel (Confessions of Zeno, by Italo Svevo). It struck a chord with me (Eb7) and I was hooked.

With time I realized that Harvey was also a knowledgeable jazz critic. The Village Voice published some of his jazz comics. One of his non-autobiographical works is Unsung Hero, about the Vietnam War experiences of one of Harvey's VA hospital coworkers, Robert McNeil. Harvey had a couple of pretty tense interviews on David Letterman's show. I'll bet you could find them on YouTube. A couple of years ago, a film came out (American Splendor), with Paul Giamatti as Harvey. When I discovered Harvey's blog in 2003, I read it assiduously until it abruptly stopped.

It didn't hurt that the artwork in American Splendor was by some of the country's best artists, including Robert Crumb (insert plug for the film "Crumb" here).

So, Check out American Splendor if you ever get the chance.

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Comments

VA=Visual Aids?

For the sake of irrelevance, I think it's neato how you put little pictures in your posts. I mean it's so convenient for your readers. Some people, and I won't mention any of my names here, make people go to a completely different web site to see the accompanying photo. Perhaps I could go to a VA hospital and get fixed up. (As long as it's not in Ohio)

Re: VA=Visual Aids?

Brother Jim!

The difference is that Mondo Dandy is your original work, whereas I have yet to post a picture that I took myself. I don't yet even own a camera. I post images that I find on the web. I like going to planet dandy for words, words, words, and to Mondo Dandy for the pics.

Thanks for readin, man.

Green Jeans and Nicely Yours,

m.
sledding

May 2018

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