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Book Review < Back

American Splendor: Unsung Hero

Credits: Written by Harvey Pekar and Illustrated by David Collier
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Commentary

Harvey Pekar has always worked from the conviction that comics can be about anything. He's the one who produced the quote I'm always throwing at people when I talk about the power inherent in the form:

"Comics are just words and pictures. You can do anything with words and pictures."

AMERICAN SPLENDOR is the expression of his conviction. Since the 1970's, Harvey Pekar has been using comics to talk about life, work, politics, cancer, and, mostly, himself. That's the secret to Pekar, what brings me back to his work. That weird searing honesty he applies to himself. It's not often been turned on anyone else, aside from perhaps the wife who appears to at least half-hate him.

UNSUNG HERO is notable for being a work in which Pekar focuses not on himself, but on Robert McNeill, a black Vietnam veteran whom has lived a life worth talking about - and for being a rare longform work from a creator who has concentrated on short stories for much of his career.

-- Warren Ellis

 
Warren Ellis has written around thirty graphic novels, comics, prose fiction, journalism, videogames and screenplays. Sometimes he take photographs. He also creates and co-creates websites, including this one. He has awards and stuff, he's been in big magazines and newspapers, and he's been published in Nature, which he always mentions because it makes him laugh. He's on the web at warrenellis.com and diepunyhumans.com.

 


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