American Splendor
Our Movie Year

Author: Harvey Pekar
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 12.99
ISBN 1 84576 024 7
Available 22 April 2005

With the release of
American Splendor, the indie hit film based on the comic of the same name, the world discovered Harvey Pekar in earnest. Once
Pekar was content merely to flirt with fame. But when fame wanted a commitment, he found himself a household name... sort of. And, to tell you the truth, it's starting to bug the hell our of him...

American Splendor: Our Movie Year has got to be about the most boring, self-indulgent collection of stories I've ever read.

Firstly, is anyone really interested in the writings of a man who constantly moans and, when faced with a problem, like the largest power cut in America, thinks firstly about himself and very rarely of others? Maybe, but not this reviewer.

Secondly, didn't Titan think to employ an editor to read through this dull collection before they thrust it on to the market? Obviously not as there are numerous stories here that just tell the same tale over and over again - like how Pekar sat on a plane with Al Gore, what American Splendor is all about (we only need to be told once, not half a dozen times); and how the movie got made.

Pekar's rise to fame is, I gathered from reading this collection, more down to luck than any actual talent. His comic books never made any money and his movie script was totally rewritten by others who knew what they were doing.

In the end, as this collection revolves around Pekar, whether you like this release or not will depend on whether or not you find him a likeable character. I didn't, and as a consequence really did not enjoy this at all.

The R. Crumb illustrations (only a few pages) and the computer generated characters from Waiting for a Jump are the only positive points in an otherwise dull collection of tales.

Nick Smithson

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