September 6th, 2005


Book List gives THE QUITTER a star

As reviews for THE QUITTER roll in, I'm unashamedely postin' 'em here. I cherish the Eisner nod that Book List gave me [read below] but how I got listed as an "other" in the credits befuddles me.

At the risk of sounding too egotistical are there other instances that you know of in recent graphic novel review history where the collaborator-artist is glossed over in the book review listing?

Are we second rate?


STAR* Review
Pekar, Harvey and others. The Quitter. Oct. 2005. 104p. illus. DC Comics/Vertigo, paper, $19.99 (1-4012-0399-X). 741.5.

Pekar's autobiographical American Splendor contained glimpses of its author's earliest years during its long run, but the whole story had to wait for this graphic novel written from the vantage of retirement age. As usual in his work, the present-day Pekar appears to comment on the narrative à la George Burns on his and Gracie Allen's TV sitcom, though Pekar emphasizes apology, not wisecracks. Born to Polish Jews in Cleveland months before war broke out in Europe, Pekar had to become a fighter as a small boy and later used fighting for status in high school. He also became a quitter of things he didn't immediately excel at and an avoider of others he thought he couldn't hack. Fortunately, he discovered jazz, and when college and the navy proved impossible for him, encouragement from jazz critic Ira Gitler launched him into jazz commentary, the first of his two major avocations. Friendship with young Robert Crumb revived a boyhood interest in comics, and that jump-started the second. Meanwhile, he settled down to being a lifelong U.S. government file clerk. He still obsesses about being inadequate and unprepared. Ably abetted by gray-toner Lee Loughridge, Dean Haspiel renders Pekar's conception like a more angular, frame-boundary-obeying Will Eisner. Since this is the story of a Jewish immigrants' son, Haspiel's echoes of the greatest graphic novelist of American Jewry are brilliantly appropriate.