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American Splendor #1

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by one of eight different artists.

The longer pieces are the most interesting and insightful. In "I'm No Help!," illustrated by David Lapham, Pekar visits with a high-school-aged fan who claims a miserable life. Hilary Barta draws "Chicago Visit," in which Pekar and his wife crash with friends in Illinois while on a book fair appearance. In "The Casablanca," featuring stark art by Zachary Baldus, Pekar remembers his days as an usher in a Fifties theater "? in particular, a rather sad conversation with the assistant manager.

Other stories, as short as a single page, feel like throwaways "? Pekar falls down his front porch, Pekar moves a furniture cushion "? but at least provide opportunities to show more varied art.

"Splendor" is all good fun, however, if maddeningly presented as a first issue, since Vertigo already published a four-issue miniseries of the same name as recently as 2006.

"?Rod Lott

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