Cleveland (Pekar)

I figured that in order to learn more about my soon-to-be hometown, I should start with one of its most notable citizens. I liked Pekar’s solid introduction to the history of the place interweaved with his own story. It’s amazing how much of a voice comes through even with so few words on so few pages. Of course, Joseph Remnant’s images help and I did see American Splendor. I love the way Pekar moves back and forth in time and that he’s not nearly as gloomy as his reputation and appearance suggest. The last three images of the book are beautiful.

There is one wince-worthy moment. When Pekar talks about some of the people he met at the VA who became characters in his stories, Toby, a white man (based on the pictures), is identified as a “Genuine Nerd.” His race is not mentioned. Mr. Boats, obviously a black man (again, based on the picture), is identified as a “lively and intelligent black man.” Why?

A minor moment in what is otherwise about to be the travel guide for my new hometown. First step: Find out whether the huge ‘Free’ stamp on 106 is real!

And read the introduction by Alan Moore and the good-bye by Jimi Izrael that frame the book. Fitting tributes.

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