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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guest Strip: Harvey Pekar and Alison Bechdel


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via The Daily Cross Hatch by bheater on 11/17/08

pekartitansThe Avengers. The Justice League. Superman vs. Muhammad Ali—the comics world has never been a stranger to the team-up. In fact, if anything, the medium has long thrived upon it, offering an easy forum for the manner of fantasy crossovers and cameos that would prove otherwise impossible in nearly an other format.

For his part, American Splendor's Harvey Pekar has based the better part of his career upon team-ups with some of the medium's most prominent luminaries, from his early work with Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, and Frank Stack, to more contemporary piecea that have seen him penning scripts for the likes of Chester Brown, Gilbert Hernandez, and Dean Haspiel (a handful of whom can be found in the recently released University of Mississippi paperback, Harvey Pekar: Conversations).

That Pekar should eventually cross paths with Alison Bechdel seems like a no-brainer. Author of the long-running strip Dykes to Watch Out For, Bechdel's 2006 graphic novel Fun Home was quickly recognized as one of the finest examples of the auto-bio comic–a genre which, while not invented by Pekar, was arguably perfected in the pages of American Splendor. Critics were quick to shower Bechdel's brutally honest memoir with all manner of praise, awarding the book a Eisner, placing it amongst the finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and naming it Time Magazine's book of the year.

Earlier this year, Bechdel and Pekar embarked on a reading tour—"Titans of the Graphic Novel." A slightly tongue-in-cheek name, perhaps, but certainly one with strains of the medium's most celebrated costumed team-ups.

As any red blooded comics fan can tell you, no great team-up is complete without an equally compelling origin story. In the lead up to their national tour, Bechdel and Pekar collaborated on a strip that explained genesis of the somewhat absurd moniker that graced the posters advertising their upcoming joint appearances. The one-pager was used to help the artists book appearances for the tour.

Thankfully, Bechdel and Pekar have both kindly agreed to let us reprint the strip on The Daily Cross Hatch. Check out "Twilight of the Titans" in all of its glory after the jump.





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