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Harvey Pekar's Cleveland

[Top Shelf Productions]

Comic by Harvey Pekar & Joseph Remnant

Reviewed by Chris Auman

Harvey Pekars Cleveland

Harvey Pekar was as much a part of the city of Cleveland as the city of Cleveland was a part of Harvey. Hardworking, loveable, irritable, almost at peace with failure—the man and the town seem interchangeable. Don’t take my word for it, I’ve never been to Cleveland. Not once. Take Harvey’s words.

Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland is a posthumously published work of Pekar's writing, illustrated by Joseph Rembrandt. In the first part of his last graphic novel, Harvey tells the history of his city from its humble beginnings as a part of the Western Reserve up through its rise and fall as an important industrial and economic player. Cleveland’s is a history not dissimilar to many American urban centers: industrialization, segregation, immigration and white flight all leading to loss of industry, population, tax revenue and resulting in decay and decline—it’s all there in Cleveland, "the mistake by the lake."

The second part of the book is Harvey’s own history with Cleveland. From his childhood through his divorces, American Splendor readers will be familiar with many of the characters and situations. It is good to catch up with Harvey at the end of his life. He's still the same loveable curmudgeon—maybe a little less bitter, although he was always the first one to remind himself of how things weren’t all that bad after all. He was still sharp and full of observational humor and wit even at 70 which, let’s face it, isn’t that old these days. Harvey Pekar's Cleveland is a fitting recap of his American story. The story of Cleveland continues.

Reglar Wiglar

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