small text medium text large text

Rick's Picks

Book Cover for New American Splendor Anthology Pekar, Harvey
The New American Splendor Anthology

Nonfiction Graphic Novel
The New American Splendor Anthology by Harvey Pekar and various artists. This anthology is definitely not new. First published in 1991, it mainly contains comics from the mid- to late-80s. The stories are generally short, autobiographical vignettes about Pekar's working-class life in Cleveland, Ohio. Topics range from dealing with co-workers or traffic, to struggling to maintain relationships with friends and lovers the usual everyday fascinating stuff. Also included are stories about a few of his appearances as a guest on Late Night with David Letterman. He never seems to glorify or glamorize the events in his stories, and they are written in a very average slang-filled prose which conveys a relatable honesty. The work is definitely dated, but Pekar was a persistent pioneer on the cutting edge of biographical comics, which makes these worth a look. There is a lot to be said about the daily struggles of a man trying to live a fulfilling life in the gritty '80s.
Recommended August 2014