cover image American Splendor: Another Dollar

American Splendor: Another Dollar

Harvey Pekar, and various. . DC/Vertigo, $14.99 (132pp) ISBN 978-1-4012-2173-7

The most recent volume of Pekar’s autobiographical anecdotes about the nonevents of his life is so self-reflexive it threatens to swallow its own tail. Pekar has been writing American Splendor comics for well over 30 years, but as they’ve become a bigger part of his life, they’ve also become the subject of more of his stories. Many of the several dozen short pieces here at least touch on the process of working on his comics—a few are even variations on the groan-worthy “what am I going to write a story about? I know—I’ll write about having to come up with a story!” formula. The book’s artists, as usual, are decent to excellent—Pekar’s got a fine eye for collaborators. Darwyn Cooke and Rick Geary contribute stylish short strips, and The Boys artist Darick Robertson is a particularly good match with his fine-lined, detailed facial expressions. A few strips are prime Pekar, observant and witty, especially a David Lapham–drawn piece in which he’s pleased to discover “a hard-working, humane, knowledgeable barber”; he’s also starting to explore the physical difficulties of aging in some stories. Too often, though, this volume simply rambles, with Pekar casting himself as a grouch talking to himself about talking to himself. (Jan.)