September 3rd, 2005


Variety + The Quitter = A

September 02, 2005
The Value of Persistence

The Quitter
Creators: Harvey Pekar, writer; Dean Haspiel, writer

DC/Vertigo, 104 pages, black and white, hardcover, $19.99

Harvey Pekar has been writing comicbook stories about his life for at least 30 years now, but has never ventured into his own childhood for stories until now. In his first big book since the film adaptation of “American Splendor” became an indie smash, Pekar tells the story of how he grew up and became Harvey Pekar. What has always made Pekar’s work fascinating is the honesty he has with his audience; he’s never afraid to tell it like it is or admit to his own mistakes. Pekar’s tale is one of internal conflicts, how he struggled to find worth in himself whether it was through street fighting, sports, collecting records, writing jazz reviews, trying to hold down any kind of job and eventually creating comicbooks. This is a story that reads true, the story of a real life. Pekar shows a real maturity in his craft as well, maintaining a consistent and compelling narrative for more than 100 pages, making “The Quitter” his longest single story since the harrowing details of “Our Cancer Year.” Haspiel’s clean, more traditional comicbook-style of art is a departure for the look of most of Pekar’s stories, most of which have been drawn by alternative comics artists such as R. Crumb and Joe Drumm. Haspiel’s clean, black-and-white art evokes the best qualities of great comics art, from Jack Kirby to Bruce Timm, and is highly polished, easy to read and appropriate for the material. Emotions and action come through in just the right proportions. Grade: A