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July 15, 2010 - Nikki Younk
R.I.P. to legendary underground comics author Harvey Pekar. He died Monday at age 70.
I’ll admit, I was never a fan of Pekar’s work, nor that of his contemporary, Robert Crumb. However, I do appreciate that both men advanced the popularity of “alternative” comics.
(By the way, alternative comics can be generally described as anything not published by comics-powerhouses like Marvel or DC. Their subject matters are also more varied-they go above and beyond the superhero genre.)
Without Pekar, some of my favorite comic authors and artists might not be who they are today. Let’s name-drop a few of them, shall we?
Of course we start with Pekar himself. For more info, check out his long-running comic “American Splendor,” or the movie of the same name.
Then we have the Hernandez Brothers, Jaime and Gilberto, who are responsible for the “Love and Rockets” series. I like to think of “Love and Rockets” as the print version of a Mexican telenovela (soap opera)-there’s drama, comedy, and loads of strong female characters.
We also have Dan Clowes, who’s probably best known as the creator of “Ghost World,” a comic that was made into movie starring Scarlett Johansson and Thora Birch. Clowes has several other dark, cynical comics to enjoy, including “David Boring,” “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” and his continuing series “Eightball.”
A younger author/artist on the scene is Adrian Tomine. His stories are “Catcher in the Rye”-ish, if that makes sense. If that’s your cup of tea, look up his comic “Optic Nerve.”
Check them all out, if you’re interested.
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