In this week’s issue, the Jackson Free Press publishes a book review I did of ‘The Beats: A Graphic History.’ Read an excerpt below, and check out the full story at the JFP site.
Courtesy Hill and Wang
by Darren Schwindaman
April 22, 2009
“The Beats: A Graphic History” (Hill and Wang, 2009, $22) is a graphic biography of the close-knit group of avant garde macho writers of the 1950s and ‘60s like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs who were referred to as “the Beatniks” or “Beats.” At a time when American society was defining itself through suburban expansion, commercial development and a clean-cut conformist ideal, the Beats led lives as drifters and counter-culturists. “The Beats” is a collection of short stories about these writers, mostly written by alternative comics king (and subject of the indie film “American Splendor") Harvey Pekar and drawn by his longtime artist Ed Piskor.
While the Beat writers romanticized their own lifestyle, Pekar’s script takes a more clinical look at the writers’ lives, never hesitating to show the casualties of their often parasitic existence. Piskor’s art is expressive, with each character displaying a wide range of emotions that convey the tone of each scene.