Been spending the last few months reading as much of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor as I can, and have come away with a couple of conclusions.
a) I really wish I'd paid attention at the time and bought this stuff when it came out and b) it's one of the greatest comics ever done by anybody ever.
An 'autobiography as it's happening', Pekar began charting his own life in comic form in 1976, and at first read, it's a slightly difficult book to tune into. Where's the punchlines? Where's the endings? Where's the neatly wrapped up conclusions?
Well, Harvey's life wasn't like that, and neither is anybody else's.
And the more you read American Splendor, smiling with recognition at some stories, wincing at his brutal self-honesty in others, the more you do tune into the rhythm of his writing, and suddenly see yourself in his everyman kvetching.
That fact that he, along with the various artists who illustrated his scripts, was doing this for decades, mostly unappreciated and basically inventing a new genre by himself, is amazing to me and like I say, I really wish I'd paid more attention at the time.
Here's one of my favourites, beautifully illustrated by Gerry Shamray from tons of photos he took of Harvey. All human life is indeed here. As am I. As you are if you look hard enough.