Harvey Pekar (4 stars)

Ego and Hubris (Ballantine Books)


Meet Michael Malice - childhood immigrant, dreamer, short-ass and egotist. In some ways he’s just another mildly schizophrenic man, raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, but to Pekar (the graphic novel’s greatest navel gazer) he is some kind of hero.

Pekar’s modern day comic book equivalent of Nikolai Gogol’s Diary of a Madman is an odd reflective work full of mundanity, profundity and depressing truth. In Malice, a real person by all accounts, Pekar has found the perfect foil for his own well-documented obsessions. As in Gogol’s short story, Ego and Hubris is rife with subtle allegory of time in a life of war, depression and, yes, hubris. Revisiting themes from his previous, exemplary work The Quitter, this is a serious investigation into the very essence of the everyman, the anti-hero hooked on failure and dispossession.

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