Monday, April 23, 2012

Cleveland; Harvey Pekar & Joseph Remnant

This past week Harvey Pekar's last graphic novel, Cleveland, illustrated by Joseph Remnant, arrived at finer comic stores everywhere. I'd heard Harvey Pekar talk about Cleveland at the Clark County Library here in Las Vegas (just down the street from my store, Alternate Reality Comics, for those of you who are new readers of Ich Liebe Comics!) a couple of years ago a few months before he died, so I thought this wasn't going to see the light of day. Of course I'm happy to have been wrong as this was a book I'd really been looking forward to (which is the case with anything new by Harvey Pekar). Hopefully there's other posthumous works that Harvey Pekar was working on before he died that will be released (such as a print version of his webcomic, The Pekar Project, also illustrated largely by Joseph Remnant), but if Cleveland is truly the last graphic novel we'll see from Harvey Pekar, it is definitely a great swan song. Harvey Pekar and Cleveland are interchangeable as Pekar lived there all of his life and the very essence of Cleveland informs all of Pekar's writing. Harvey Pekar, with his American Splendor (a comic magazine he started in the early 1970s) was amongst the founding fathers of the autobiographical comic / graphic novel. In addition to writing about his daily life and the trials and tribulations of the everyman, Harvey Pekar also wrote many jazz and literary critical pieces for various publications. Cleveland is one third a history of Cleveland the city, and three fourths a condensed history of Pekar's place within that city and along with Joseph Remnant's excellent Robert Crumbesque art, is 100% fantastic! Cleveland is published by Top Shelf and is an 120 page beautiful hardcover presentation (without an annoying dust-jacket) for a mere $21.99.

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