JT Waldman co-authored and illustrated the new graphic novel “Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me” with writer and frequent David Letterman guest Harvey Pekar. Read more about their relationship here. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
It is true enough to say that he was the “poet laureate of Cleveland” or to describe his “American Splendor” as “Homeric,” but those descriptives are still inadequate. He was the perfect man for his times, straddling… everything: the underground comic revolution of the ’60s, the creation and transformation of the graphic novel, independent film, television, music (the classic jazz he championed relentlessly throughout his life. He was famed as a “curmudgeon,” a “crank” and a “misanthrope” yet found beauty and heroism where few others even bothered to look. In a post-ironic and post-Seinfeldian universe he was the last romantic — his work sincere, heartfelt, alternately dead serious and wryly affectionate. The last man standing to wonder out loud, “What happened here?”
- Anthony Bourdain, July 13, 2010
Before Harvey Pekar self-published American Splendor in 1976, there were no publicly distributed memoir comic books. Sure, people doodled in their journals or sketchbooks, and some super-hero artists/writers included themselves in their fantastic stories, but before American Splendor, comix were synonymous with fiction and fantasy.