Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Is the Average Life Art? (American Splendor, 2003)

#88-- American Splendor (2003)

Harvey Pekar is nobody special.  He works as a filer.  He has trouble with girls.  And with expressing himself.  He gets cancer.  Oh, and he writes comic books.  Not the dashing fantasy comic books we read as kids, or the edgy comic books we read as adults.  Rather, he writes about… himself.  His daily life.  His rants, his pet peeves, his failures, his (few) successes. 

Why would someone write about their own dull, everyday existence?  Well, it’s what Harvey knows.  And shouldn’t he have an outlet?  Shouldn’t he be able to express himself?  Isn’t that what millions of blogs on the internet provide?

And Harvey was moderately successful.  He’d never compete with Batman, but he didn’t do too badly.  And some consider his comics, especially the ones that he wrote with his wife about his struggle with cancer, to be art. 

And why shouldn’t they be?  In a sense, shouldn’t every life be made into a movie, or turned into a novel or made into a concept album?  Every life has its mysteries and it’s connection with the common person.  Every life is unique and the same. Every life has its moments of hilarity and of tragedy.   Every life has the potential of being powerful, communicate deep messages and being a moral tale.  If Harvey could take his life and turn it into art, then more power to him.  And why shouldn’t the rest of us?

Live art and turn that life into art you share with others.

Fun Fact: After the film was released, Harvey wrote another comic book called American Splendor: Our Movie Year.  Interesting follow up to the movie about how an average guy can get lost in the whirlwind that is movie marketing. 

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