Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing! recently highlighted The Beats: A Graphic History, which seems like a pretty exciting new book by Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame) and a host of others Here’s a snippet of Cory’s write-up:
The Beats: A Graphic History is everything a radical history should be: critical, admiring, quirky and apologetic. The Beats is largely written by Harvey Pekar and illustrated by Ed Piskor, with a concluding section of more critical, less biographical pieces written and illustrated by a variety of critics and artists, including Nancy J Peters, Tulu Kupferberg, Summer McClinton, Anne Timmons and others.
The opening section consists of Pekar’s biographies of the canonical Beats, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs, and then onto the less-celebrated members of the scene, including Rexroth, Ferlinghetti, LeRoi Jones, and so forth. These pieces are loving but harsh, sparing their subjects little sympathy for their misdeeds (which are many, ranging from murder and betrayal to vicious misogyny and naive, fleeting affairs with reactionary politics and mysticism). Pekar shows us that a mature person can admire the worthy deeds and art of historical heroes without glossing over their bad acts — or throwing away their art with their sins.
Ed Piskor’s Kerouac (seen above) is just a taste of the great illustration included in this volume. You can pick up your copy here.