Round, Julia. "The Transformations of Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor: “ordinary life is pretty complex stuff”." Real Lives, Celebrity Stories. Narratives of Ordinary and Extraordinary People Across Media. Eds. Thomas Bronwen and Julia Round. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014. 95–110.
Added by: joachim (2/7/21, 5:40 PM) Last edited by: joachim (9/6/22, 9:10 PM)
|Resource type: Book Article
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Round2014b
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Keywords: "American Splendor", Adaptation, Autobiography, Film adaptation, Pekar. Harvey, USA
Creators: Bronwen, Round
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (New York)
Collection: Real Lives, Celebrity Stories. Narratives of Ordinary and Extraordinary People Across Media
|Attachments||URLs http://eprints.bou ... ndor%20draft-2.pdf|
This article uses adaptation theory to examine the transformations of Harvey Pekar’s everyday life in the comic and movie versions of American Splendor. It begins by explaining the comic’s fascinating history: it sprang out of a friendship with Robert Crumb and Pekar’s dissatisfaction with his own life and has been drawn by various artists since the 1970s. The article then demonstrates the relevance of formal storytelling categories (Labov, Bell) through analysis of American Splendor: Another Day, with specific reference to scenesetting; start and end; selectivity; reflection/moral; distance in narrative; direct address and commentary.
The article then considers the 2003 movie (dir. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini), which won first honours at the Sundance Film Festival in addition to the Writers Guild of America Award for best adapted screenplay. It discusses the way in which the movie uses conventions of the documentary genre and uses adaptation theory (McFarland, Hutcheon) to argue that the changes made are integral to this reclassification. It contrasts these genre techniques with the ways in which the movie acknowledges the presence of the comic through stylistic and other strategies.
It concludes by considering the resulting comic American Splendor: Our Movie Year and the ways in which this again adapts the content of the movie. It argues that as a consequence the movie becomes incorporated into the American Splendor story (as also seen at its end with close-up shot of the comic’s cover) rather than being ‘about it’ and outside it.
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