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: 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: 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: 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: Nov 05, 1996
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Bob and Harv's Comics
Gathered here are the collected works of the titans of adults comics — legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb and the "high priest of comic-book naturalism" (Newsweek) Harvey Pekar. The comic collision of these underground luminaries is funny, obsessive, ever-so-slightly neurotic, but always biting and honest.
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: 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: Apr 28, 2009
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Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History

By the late 1960s, America felt like it was teetering on the edge of a vast transformation. Helping push it over that edge was a brigade of young radicals, the Students for a Democratic Society, who were fighting the establishment for peace abroad and equality at home. In Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History, the famed graphic novelist Harvey Pekar, the gifted artist Gary Dumm, the renowned historian Paul Buhle, and a marvelous cast of they-were-there contributors illustrate their struggle, bringing to life the tumultuous decade that first defined and then was defined by the men and women who gathered under the SDS banner.

Students for a Democratic Society captures the idealism and activism that drove a generation of young Americans to believe that even one person's actions can help transform the world.

release date: Nov 17, 2001
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The Complete Crumb Comics, Vol. 15: Mode O'Day

"Mode O'Day and Her Pals" includes all of Crumb's contributions to Weirdo #9-15, his first experiments with brush, the first Mode O'Day stories, the first collaboration with Bukowski, "Psychopathia Sexualis" and more!

The definitive, comprehensive series reprinting Crumb's published career enters the mid-1980s with this 15th volume, a period that many critics consider to be the richest of Crumb's career. Anchored by Crumb's contributions to the seminal anthology Weirdo, created and edited by Crumb, this volume includes the first several appearances of classic Crumb character Mode O' Day, the networking fashion plate that serves as a foil for some of Crumb's most biting satire about America's cultural "elite." Other Weirdo highlights include Crumb's fascinating adaptation of Dr. R. Von Krafft-Ebing's "Psychopathia Sexualis," and "Where Has it Gone, all the Beautiful Music of Our Grandparents?", two stories often-cited as being amongst Crumb's very best work. The Weirdo section wraps up with yet another classic, "The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick," which chronicles the last years of the highly-regarded science-fiction writer who experienced an intense vision of the apocalypse and believed that he was possessed by the spirit of Elijah.

Also included are Crumb's first collaborations with the late writer Charles Bukowski, including the chapbook "Bring Me Your Love," as well as several collaborations with Harvey Pekar from his autobiographical series American Splendor. The book is rounded out with a color section that includes rare album art for various jazz and blues greats, as well reproductions of his various comic book covers from this period. Crumb is the most revealing of all artists, and The Complete Crumb Comics leaves no stone unturned. Featuring a lengthy introduction by Peter Bagge. 16 pages of color; black-and-white comics throughout
release date: Jan 25, 2005
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Best of American Splendor
Experience the heartwarming all-American story of a crank and his comic book.

What’s a file clerk from Cleveland doing with an Oscar nomination? How did a movie about Harvey Pekar win the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival? The story begins in 1976, when Harvey began publishing his autobiographical, slice-of-downtrodden-life comic book series American Splendor, illustrated by a who’s who of underground comic artists, including R. Crumb, Kevin Brown, Greg Budgett, Sean Carroll, Sue Cavey, Gary Dumm, Val Mayerik, and Gerry Shamray. After self-publishing American Splendor for nearly two decades under less than splendid conditions (and racking impressive accolades in the process), Harvey finally got a break when Dark Horse Comics took over the publication in the early 1990s. It was an opportunity for Harvey to reach a wider audience–which, as it turned out, included a few Hollywood types, too. (Who knew?) But that’s another story. . . .

Now we are happy to bring you the Best of American Splendor, a collection of some of Harvey’s greatest work. Harvey Pekar has been compared to Theodore Dreiser, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lenny Bruce, but this collection is a true American original. Just like Harvey.
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