Man-Size (man_size) wrote,

Baltimore City Paper reviews The Quitter

"Dean Haspiel draws the best Harvey Pekar face. Over the years, many artists have lent their styles to Pekar's unique countenance-most famously Robert Crumb-but Haspiel's perfect mix of cartoon and caricature captures Pekar's likeness without sacrificing any expressiveness. You see the sadness in his eyes, the look of utter defeat, even when Pekar-still riding high from 2003's American Splendor movie-should be at his most victorious.

In Pekar's latest, The Quitter, Haspiel has the added challenge of drawing the author throughout his entire life, from the young scrapper of his early years to the 65-year-old comics guru of today. A past Pekar collaborator, Haspiel rises to the occasion, blending simple black-and-white line work with dynamic layouts.

The story is pure Pekar, autobiographical and ordinary to the point of being prosaic, yet oddly affecting. His shtick has always been to contrast typically bombastic comics with pointedly normal scenes from everyday life: getting yelled at by your boss, standing behind someone slow in the grocery store. Here his best moments come when describing how fear of failure caused him to quit every pursuit he ever undertook, but those moments are few and far between.

No matter how far Pekar goes out on a tangent, Haspiel always brings you back to that face. Plaintive and wrinkled with a balding pate, Pekar is comics' ultimate anti-superhero, but with Haspiel drawing he looks every bit as iconic as Superman."

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