Comics Continued: Melissa Urueta

American Splendor movie poster 2003

The film American Splendor combines two worlds together, it combines the world of comics into a world of film all while telling the story of Harvey Pekar the author to the “American Splendor” comic book series. This film starts by telling the story of Pekar’s life needless to say his story does not start off interesting. Pekar is portrayed as a sad, irritated man who is stuck in the same low level job as a file clerk in a hospital. He has had two wives and meets the third in the film, Joyce. In the film he fill his life with jazz music and Garage sales finds, this is his integration of art in the beginning  of the film and how it unravels into his comic books becoming his own work of art.

This film combines two realities into one, the real life and the fiction/ hollywood side of pekar’s story. This is made clear in the film where both the real Pekar is commenting and narrating the movie and having an actor play him in the movie. The same goes with his wife. Both worlds collide in this film. This is something that Scott McCloud does in his book. He tells a story and then has himself as both the main character and the narrator. he mentions this in his book as comic can be a way to collide with reality. It is a form of expression and Pekar needed to express his reality. This is why after his long days of his same job he created comics from it as a way to make his life into an art form like his garage sales finds and jazz music he admired.

In the film there are scenes that are that have some illustrations and these went back and forth from reality to illustrations. The film was based on a comic book about the author’s life and they integrated both worlds. Scott McCloud says that you can also make a comic out of anything and it is an art form, all it has to be is a “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence” (9). This is how the film is film, the film is basically Pekar’s comics come to life . He created art out of his daily life and it became a popular comic books series. This was his form of storytelling.

Pekar’s comics were a hit because it is exactly what Scott McClouds book talked about. Pekar’s comics were familiar and minimally detailed and this made the readers fit right into the shoes of Pekar. This is almost exactly what McCloud says in his book that makes a character when he discusses masking. This is what makes Pekar’s comics so popular because he does not put up a mask, he tells his story in his comics and which makes it relatable for the readers. This is the idea that Pekar was going for. The same goes for the film, it is relatable and familiar and shows true character development all while telling his story on how he rose to fame.

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