GRAPHIC NOVEL
The Quitter

Author: Harvey Pekar
Artists: Dean Haspiel
Titan Books
RRP: 8.99, US $12.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6214 8
ISBN-10: 1 84576 214 2
Available 22 December 2006


Harvey Pekar tells the story of his childhood as the son of Jewish immigrants. Through his tumultuous adolescence as a neighbourhood tough guy on the streets of Cleveland, his disastrous four-week stint in the Navy and the earliest stages of his life as a writer...

Those of you that have read my reviews of Harvey Pekar's other releases (American Splendor: Our Movie Year and Best of American Splendor) will know that I am no fan of his work. I just can't understand why the anal ramblings of one self-centred individual have found affection in the hearts of so many people.

The Quitter surprised me - I actually enjoyed it. But then this probably has a lot to do with the fact that much of Pekar's trademark whinging is missing from this collection. Okay, it's still there, but in much less quantity than in previous tales.

This collection looks at Pekar's childhood and follows his life until he becomes a young man. There were actually segments of his life that I hadn't read about before. One of my biggest complaints about Pekar is that he keeps on telling the same old story over and over again. He's a little like that mad uncle that you can't stand - the one who always trots out the same old stories after a few beers. And each time he tells you his well worn anecdote, he sits back as though it's the first time he's told it - because he's too self-obsessed to remember, or care, that you've heard it a thousand times.

This collection should have been the only one published. Let's hope that Pekar quits now, while he's ahead. Dean Haspiel's art work is by far the best thing about this collection.

Nick Smithson

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