Indian SplendorSun, 24th Dec '06, 11:50 pm::
I took a break from my holiday coding session tonight and watched a surprisingly delightful film, American Splendor. It's a biography of an underground comic book writer (not artist) Harvey Pekar, an everyman super hero. Says Harvey, "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff," and it's not difficult to agree with him on that. What was difficult for me was to realize that the movie is fact and not fiction. We're so accustomed to seeing larger than life characters in films that we become immune to their charms. Then when a real life character comes along, it's hard to suspend belief and play along, after all, THIS character can't be real! He's too real to be real.
One aspect of the film that enticed me was Harvey Pekar's 25-year long autobiographical comic book series that lends its name to the film, American Splendor. While I loved comic books as a kid, my interest slowly waned as I discovered that real life is more raw than kryptonite and adamantium claws. When I started writing my comic strip Calm Down! a few months ago, I had a general idea of what it was going to be about - me and my splendorous* life. At that time, I didn't know why I decided to do that but I think I do now.
Towards the end of the movie, Harvey's wife asked him to write a comic book about his struggle with lymphoma/cancer, saying once he makes himself a character in yet another comic book, he'll be detached from his illness and thus from his own life and problems. It was more than slightly unnerving to grasp that I probably did the same. Well, no point in stopping now. More Calm Down's coming up in the months and hopefully years ahead.
* Of course there is fine print.