Thursday, April 1, 2010

Am I Harvey Pekar?

So I read some of this book I got for my birthday, and first I'm thinking, "What's so great about this? It's mundane, it's kind of so-what boring. And he's kind of a whiner and complainer, he says a lot of the same things over again." Actually, I think he's kind of a strange guy.

But, I think, this is an interesting idea of what might go into a comic. He just writes about his life. And doesn't even draw it! And there is at least a group of people that think well of him for it.

Now, I'm not altogether convinced that this is a terribly valid life's work. But I'm always glad to see the different directions that people try. I give credit for trying something new, and even for TRYING something.

This kind of thing does have its drawbacks. I was reading "American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar," which I got from the library, and as R. Crumb says in the introduction, "illustrating his stories is not easy. There's so little comic-book-style action for an artist to sink his teeth into. Mostly it's just people standing around talking, or just Harvey himself addressing the reader for page after page."

(Choose "Search Inside This Book.")

This is a place I found myself stymied many years ago as I tried to do something different from The Big Fight super hero comic.

And I'm starting to see some more familiar patterns in the current book. Harvey is in his 50s, thinking about retirement some day from a job he hates but he cannot afford it, and he has done some stuff, published a bunch of stuff but that doesn't mean much other than some kind of creative satisfaction, which he isn't able to allow himself much of. He needs to get a hip replacement. For all his list of publications, he doesn't have any money.

And then I think, hey, this is in some ways kind of familiar. Parallels? In fact...

My God, am I Harvey Pekar? Auuuughh!

OK, it's good that I got another book from the library. because now I am seeing that, no, I'm not Harvey Pekar (thankfully). Though there are some lessons to be learned.

1 comment:

F. Katerina said...

Finally got a chance to read this.
Laughed out loud at the title. You are definitely NOT Harvey Pekar. And you can draw your own comics.