Best Selling Books by Harvey Pekar

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release date: Jan 22, 1993
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The New American Splendor Anthology: From Off the Streets of Cleveland
American Splendor is the series that sparked a revolution in comics and brought graphic novels to the attention of post-adolescent readers everywhere. Here is the best of American Splendor and other comics by Harvey Pekar, including never-before-seen material.
release date: Apr 28, 2009
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Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation
"Working has been a book, a radio drama, a Broadway musical, and now a gripping graphic novel. I can't speak for Studs, but I suspect he would have been tickled to see it adapted by a former government file clerk and wage slave, who knows all about working." --Roger Ebert

In the thirty-five years since Pulitzer Prize-winner Studs Terkel's Working was first published, it has captivated millions of readers with lyrical and heartbreaking accounts of how their fellow citizens earn a living. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of words, it is now adapted into comic book form by comics legend Harvey Pekar, the blue-collar antihero of his American Book Award-winning comics series American Splendor.

In Studs Terkel's Working, Pekar offers a brilliant visual adaptation of Terkel's verbatim interviews, collaborating with both established comics veterans and some of the comic underground's brightest new talent. Here are riveting accounts of the lives of ordinary Americans--farmers, miners, barbers, hookers, box boys, stockbrokers--depicted with unsurpassed dignity and frankness. A visual treat with a visceral impact, Studs Terkel's Working will delight Terkel fans everywhere, and introduce his most powerful work to a new generation.

release date: Oct 13, 1994
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Our Cancer Year
It was they year of Desert Storm that Harvey Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner, discovered Harvey had cancer. Pekar, a man who has made a profession of chronicling the Kafkaesque absurdities of an ordinary life (if any life is ordinary) suddenly found himself incapacitated. But he had a better-than-average chance to beat cancer and he took it — kicking, screaming, and complaining all the way. Pekar and Brabner draw on this and other trials to paint a portrait of a man beset with fears real and imagined — who survives.
release date: Apr 13, 2010
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The Beats: A Graphic History

In The Beats: A Graphic History, those who were mad to live have come back to life through artwork as vibrant as the Beat movement itself. Told by the comic legend Harvey Pekar, his frequent artistic collaborator Ed Piskor, and a range of artists and writers, including the feminist comic creator Trina Robbins and the Mad magazine artist Peter Kuper, The Beats takes us on a wild tour of a generation that, in the face of mainstream American conformity and conservatism, became known for its determined uprootedness, aggressive addictions, and startling creativity and experimentation.

What began among a small circle of friends in New York and San Francisco during the late 1940s and early 1950s laid the groundwork for a literary explosion, and this striking anthology captures the storied era in all its incarnations―from the Benzedrine-fueled antics of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs to the painting sessions of Jay DeFeo's disheveled studio, from the jazz hipsters to the beatnik chicks, from Chicago's College of Complexes to San Francisco's famed City Lights bookstore. Snapshots of lesser-known poets and writers sit alongside frank and compelling looks at the Beats' most recognizable faces. What emerges is a brilliant collage of―and tribute to―a generation, in a form and style that is as original as its subject.

release date: Jul 29, 2003
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American Splendor and More American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar
The inspiration for the award-winning movie
from HBO Films and Fine Line Features

AMERICAN SPLENDOR
The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar

Two classic comic anthologies in one volume

Stories by Harvey Pekar

Introduction by R. Crumb

Art by Kevin Brown, Gregory Budgett, Sean Carroll, Sue Cavey, R. Crumb, Gary Dumm, Val Mayerik, and Gerry Shamray

The classic collection of the comics that inspired the movie American Splendor, winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival

American Splendor is the world’s first literary comic book. Cleveland native Harvey Pekar is a true American original. A V.A. hospital file clerk and comic book writer, Harvey chronicles the ordinary and mundane in stories both funny and touching. His dead-on eye for the frustrations and minutiae of the workaday world mix in a delicate balance with his insight into personal relationships. Pekar has been compared to Dreiser, Dostoevsky, and Lenny Bruce. But he is truly more than all of them—he is himself.

“Mr. Pekar has . . . proven that comics can address the ambiguities of daily living, that like the finest fiction, they can hold a mirror up to life.”
The New York Times

“[Pekar] has a vision that makes daily city life—a ride on the bus, a run-in with a boss, or simply buying bread—dramatic.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Simply stated, American Splendor is the most superb literary endeavor to come off the streets of Cleveland in decades.”
The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

“Mr. Pekar lets all of life flood into his panels: the humdrum and the heroic, the gritty and the grand.”
The New York Times Book Review
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release date: Sep 06, 2006
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The Quitter
The acclaimed creator and subject of the American Book Award-winning biopic American Splendor tells the story of his troubled teen years when he would beat up other kids just to win the approval of his peers.
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release date: Jul 01, 2014
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Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me

In Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, one of the final graphic memoirs from the man who defined the genre, Harvey Pekar explores what it means to be Jewish and what Israel means to the Jews. Pekar's mother was a Zionist by way of politics, his father by way of faith, and he inevitably grew up a staunch supporter of Israel. But as he became attuned to the wider world, Pekar began to question his parents' most fundamental beliefs.

This book is the full account of that questioning. Over the course of a single day in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, Pekar and the illustrator JT Waldman wrestle with the mythologies passed down to them, weaving a personal and historical odyssey of uncommon wit and power. With an epilogue written by Joyce Brabner, Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me is an es-
sential book for fans of Harvey Pekar and anyone interested in the past and future of the Jewish state.

release date: Apr 11, 2006
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Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story
“Michael Malice is one of the most puzzling twenty-first century Americans I have ever met.”
–Harvey Pekar

Who’s Michael Malice, and how did he become the subject of a graphic novel by Harvey Pekar, the curmudgeon from Cleveland?

First of all, Michael Malice is a real person. He’s 5’6” and weighs 130 pounds. Although on the cusp of thirty, he could easily pass for a scrawny teenager.

One day Michael, a guy with a patchwork employment record and dreams as big as his ego, meets Harvey and begins to relay all these wild stories about his life. Simple as that. Harvey thinks the guy is bright but a bit of a riddle–though not the kind wrapped in an enigma. It’s strange. He seems like the type of person you meet every day, rather ordinary, until you really get to know him. Then you realize he’s exceptional, unusual, and contradictory. Pleasant one minute, really nasty the next. But isn’t cruelty part of human nature? We digress. . . .

Harvey writes up and illustrates one of Michael Malice’s tales, “Fish Story,” which is part of American Splendor: Our Movie Year. It makes a splash and spawns this book, Harvey’s first hardcover, a graphic novel event about one guy’s life.

Ego & Hubris relates how, a year and a half after his birth in the Ukraine, Michael Malice moved with his parents to Brooklyn. He’s an intransigent kid, a hard-ass–both a demon to and demonized by the people who cross his path. His life is a constant struggle for validation in a world where the machine keeps trying to break him down. But Michael has a way with people . . . or rather, has a way of getting even with people. Hey, if you can’t live up to your parents’ expectations, at least you can live up to your name.

Michael had never come close to fulfilling his huge dreams–until now. And just as Harvey’s been the everyman for a certain generation of graphic-novel readers, Michael Malice will be the everyman for a new generation.
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release date: Sep 01, 2011
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Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land

Yiddish is everywhere. We hear words like nosh, schlep, and schmutz all the time, but how did these words come to pepper American English? In Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land, Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle trace the influence of Yiddish from medieval Europe to the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side. This comics anthology contains original stories by notable writers and artists such as Barry Deutsch, Peter Kuper, Spain Rodriguez, and Sharon Rudahl. Through illustrations, comics art, and a full-length play, four major themes are explored: culture, performance, assimilation, and the revival of the language. The last fully realized work by Harvey Pekar, this book is a thoughtful compilation that reveals the far-reaching influences of Yiddish.

Praise for Yiddishkeit:

“The book is about what Neal Gabler in his introduction labels ‘Jewish sensibility.’ It pervades this volume, which he acknowledges is messy; he writes: ‘You really can't define Yiddishkeit neatly in words or pictures. You sort of have to feel it by wading into it.’ The book does this with gusto.” —New York Times

Yiddishkeit is as colorful, bawdy, and charming as the culture it seeks to represent.”

Print magazine

“every bit of it brimming with the charm and flavor of its subject and seamlessly meshing with the text to create a genuinely compelling, scholarly comics experience”

Publishers Weekly

Yiddishkeit is a book that truly informs about Jewish culture and, in the process, challenges readers to pick apart their own vocabulary.” —Chicago Tribune

“a postvernacular tour de force”

The Forward

“A fascinating and enlightening effort that takes full use of the graphic storytelling medium in an insightful and revelatory way.” The Miami Herald

“With a loving eye Pekar and Buhle extract moments and personalities from Yiddish history.” —Hadassah


“gorgeous comix-style portraits of Yiddish writers”
 ––Tablet 

“Yiddishkeit has managed to survive, if just barely, not because there are individuals dedicated to its survival, though there are, but because Yiddishkeit is an essential part of both the Jewish and the human experience.” 
—Neal Gabler, author of An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, from his introduction

"The hearty hardcover is a scrumptious smorgasbord of comics, essays, and illustrations, edited by Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle, providing concentrated tastes, with historical context, of Yiddish theater, literature, characters and culture." —Heeb magazine

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release date: Dec 18, 2019
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Weirdo No. 26
A fat dose of Weirdo, jam-packed with classic strips. Features the classic comics Quaker School Q-Ties in "Plan Against the Boys" A Philadelphia Story by Phoebe Gloeckner, A Bird in the Beard by Penny Moran, People... Ya Gotta Love 'Em! by Robert Crumb, Big Bitch by Spain, Growing Up as Arnie's Girl by Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Where am I by Roy Thompkins, Momster by Ted Jouflas and Heavy Flow by Julie Doucet. Shorter strips are contributed by Krystine Kryttre, Mary Fleener, Leslie Sternbergh, Lloyd Dangle, and Stanley Goldstein. Harvey Pekar contributes his Harvey Sez column.

Color Covers, black and white interior. Cover art by Robert Crumb (Front) and Diane Noomin (Back).

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