Mark Squirek

Book Reviews by Mark Squirek

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“These are classic adventure tales from a time when both a nine year old and a retired general could feel proud of the way their country conducted itself around the world.”

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“If you know an 18 year old or an 80 year old who is in love with the creation of art, there is no better book for them to read . . .”

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Like Batman, Spider-Man, Sherlock Holmes, and Wonder Woman, Flash Gordon has lived through several reincarnations. But his essence is always the same.

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The appeal of The Flash TV show on the CW network transcends age groups in a way that few television shows ever really do any more.

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Released in 1968, Music from Big Pink by The Band changed the musical landscape.

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In the opening pages of March: Book Three, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama has just ended its Sunday school lessons when a bomb explodes.

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“These are stories to be enjoyed by all ages for both their absurdity and beauty.”

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For Green Arrow: A Celebration of 75 Years, publisher DC Comics has dug through their massive vaults to find the perfect summation of the life of Oliver Queen.

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The first appearance of Superman in Action #1 (June 1938) was an atom bomb that blew up the world of publishing, pulps and magazines.

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The hat is sharp, built of perfect angles and straight lines. It sits atop his head in flawless balance to the mathematical precision of the angles on his face.

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Over his 50-year career, Charles Schulz, the creator, writer, and artist for Peanuts, would write and draw close to 18,000 strips.

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Even a partial list of newspaper strips represented by King Features Syndicate over the years is mind blowing. Almost every title on this list is a household name!

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This is the pure magic of Peanuts.”

 

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It wasn’t just the wild laughs, hilarious parodies, and complete lack of respect for almost anything it wrote about that pushed MAD into the spotlight.

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For 75 years, members of the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lanterns have been taking readers and science fiction fans from one end of the galaxy to the other.

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For its original voyage, The USS Enterprise was deployed on a five-year mission that fell slightly short of its initial goal.

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Filled with full color explosions of malevolent mayhem straight from the Cold War, Spy vs. Spy has never looked better!

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“The art perfectly matches the character, and the writing perfectly matches the art.”

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The Bronze Age is when Superman broke the chains of Kryptonite! Batman could finally become a vampire!

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The ideas that fell out of Stan Lee’s head seem to have come to RULE THE WORLD!

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Like the magazine she celebrates, Patty Farmer’s Playboy Swings! How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music is a cocktail party that you never want to see end.

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Today it is acceptable for a comic book hero to unravel, disappear, die, be reborn and on occasion, even be reincarnated in a different form, costume, or body.

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Think of any team in the comic universe and they undoubtedly owe a debt of gratitude and inspiration to The Justice Society of America.

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With a mixture of the violence that Dashiell Hammett brought to Red Harvest, the wild characters that filled the stories of Damon Runyon and the humanity at the center of O.

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“moving and deeply beautiful art illustrating stories of risk, choices, loss and life.”

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a wealth of comic art and undeniable fun.”

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For decades Milt Gross’ New York was considered to be one of the great lost graphic novels of comic literature.

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No one at a Dead concert is dancing to “Eyes of the World” and hearing the same thing.

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“Another perfect volume in DC’s Celebration series.”

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Anyone who can figure love out is a genius.

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“an essential entry into DC’s ongoing Celebration series of anthologies.”

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“perfect for anyone who loves film, Turner Classic Movies, PBS, or show business.”

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The Golden Age pulp magazine Weird Tales wasn’t a pulp that featured cowboys or detectives or men with rocket-packs on its covers. It had odd, scary things on its covers.

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“the work of a professional at the top of his game.”

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Create a list of the ten greatest comic book heroes ever and it is bound to include Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman.

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“pure American art.”

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“. . . a wonderfully horrific and funny collection . . . a rich river of bloody fun.”

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“the best of European storytelling . . .”

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“the work of a confident, skilled artist who made comics not only more fun, but also better in the process.”

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“There is tremendous beauty found in the obscure, forgotten, and lost corners of an artist’s attic. This collection is a peek into Ditko’s attic.”

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“Neither Shakespeare nor Faulkner could have ever said it better.”

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“This wonderfully designed work is a tribute to the creative mind of artist Salvador Dalí.”

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"The best combination of modern and classic Disney in one collection."

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Superman: The Golden Age Sundays 1946–1949 is the sound of America exhaling after facing nothing but stress for a long,

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“Despite the political nature of some of the material, there is hardly a panel that wouldn’t make a child smile.”

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“This is over 200 Sunday pages of glorious art and words by Charles Schulz, covering an early, key period in what made Peanuts the best ever.”

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Discover the kid in the hat and reap a rich, rich reward in art, humor and life.”

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“. . . richly entertaining volume.”

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“Carl Barks has created work that will entertain children, adults, and grandparents for hours on end.”

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A volume of prayer, meditation, worship and dance, Lit Up Inside: Selected Lyrics by Van Morrison features the best of a man driven by memory, th

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“Historically important as well as wildly entertaining, Wonder Woman the Complete Newspaper Strip (1944–1945) is the find of the year for everyone who loves adventure, history, wom

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Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Daily Cartoons (1929–1930) is part Barnum, part Cosmos. . . .

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“Working with historian and curator Russ Cochran, Dark Horse has created a beautiful book to introduce the world of Alley Oop to everyone.”

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“This is a Batman free of cynicism and irony. It is pulp adventure at its best. It is art that influenced the entire art world, advertising, and TV.

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“Nonstop thrills anchored by great writing and art, 24 Omnibus Vol. 1 does the show justice. This is a perfect rainy weekend Netflix binge.”

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“What is in fact cool runs the gamut from the near ancient to what seems to be almost ten minutes ago. . . .

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“Sure, it’s art, but is also great reading. Which is what makes the best of comics so much fun.”

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“This new collection form Dark Horse Publishing is the perfect book for a nine-year-old boy or girl who has just fallen in love with dinosaurs.

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“At the end this wide-ranging, deep, and reflective collection reminds us that Shakespeare is, was and always will be, of the people and for the people.”

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“This is a great collection in the same way that Frank King and Dick Moore’s work on Gasoline Alley in the early sixties was beautiful.

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Gasoline Alley isn’t just a comic strip, it is a neverending painting that panel by panel shows us our families, our neighbors, and our country.”

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“A crawl through the wreckage of modern society and life, Serial Artist fascinates, repels, and moves the reader with each panel.”

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“This is a delightful mixture of comedy, time travel, history and adventure, one fit for fans of all ages. Alley Oop works so well . . .

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Doc Savage: Phantom Lagoon is the perfect mixture of adventure and escapist fantasy matched against unbelievable action while surprising twists keep us turning ev

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“This is a collection that sees a writer hitting his stride, working from a base of confidence and inspiration.”

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“Deeply discomforting, The Tale of Brin and Bent and Minno Marylebone mixes evil with redemption and forgiveness on a landscape of terror, which makes the combination of poetry, my

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“. . . solid, strong storylines . . . keep the adventure flying . . .”

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“Cooke’s feel for the character and action matches the best seen in the world of graphic novels.”

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“With exacting research and a respect for minutiae and detail, Lewisohn has rebuilt the world of the Beatles.”

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“Fantagraphics’ series is a real find for even the most casual fan.”

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"This is a wildly entertaining collection of stories."

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“This is an archeological dig into the American mindset.”

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“Charles Schulz is a rarity: a genius who actually was one.”

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No matter what country you were in, the moment that Donald Duck appeared on screen audiences either burst into laughter or applause.

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“. . . a perfect summation of the last few centuries using stamps as the guideposts.”

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The cover shows the narrators jumping feet first (and wearing big, broad smiles as they do) into a big machine that seems to be tracking a neverending ribbon with the general titles of branches of

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For decades Brenda Starr has been celebrated as one of the few newspaper comic strips to feature a strong, independent female in the lead.

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“. . . a great way for a novice reader to discover the work of H. P. Lovecraft.”

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“This collection captures the peak of Mr. Crosby’s skill. The best. Simply the best.”

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What an exciting way to rediscover one of the most imaginative and funny comics characters.

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“This wide-ranging collection . . . is a perfect tribute from his biggest fan—his son.”

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“. . . your eyes [will] dance across the page.”

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Over the past few decades, superheroes, villains, and other characters taken from the pages of comic books have become as much a part of American mythology as Rip Van Winkle, Paul Bunyan, and Johnn

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There is a hypnotic beauty to be found in this new adaptation of some of Edgar Allan Poe’s most imaginative works.

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“. . . a killer collection of some great stories.”

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Like a perfect mash-up of pop, classical and trance music that keeps dancers going for hours, X-O Manowar combines various comic, adventure, and sci-fi concepts, in the process creating so

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“. . . exemplify[ies] the universal appeal that marks the heart of science fiction.”

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Originally written in 1985 as a screenplay, Fashion Beast by writer Alan Moore updates the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast as an eighties drama centered in the world of fa

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“The details of debauchery and depravation told within these pages would make a casual sinner blush . . .”

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Bill Everett was an artistic chameleon and an imaginative writer who could handle any assignment thrown his way.

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It is impossible to find fault with a book featuring:

* Squishy, leathery aliens extending their wild tentacles toward cowering, voluptuous women,

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In the months prior to America being dragged into the Second World War, the country was filled with undercover agents from Germany and other foreign lands.

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“. . . wonderfully scary stories . . . told with such beauty and wit you regret when they end.”

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In their heyday, newsstands across America might hold over 40 western-themed pulp titles.

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The myths and stories a society embraces speak volumes about what that society really is.

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An amusement park is a wonderful, magical place where childhood memories can be built.

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“. . . a mythic tale that transcends traditional boundaries.”

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“. . . the best of an American art form . . .”

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“No fan of comics and American history can afford to pass up Mr. Lockwood’s story, observations, and experience.”

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“. . . a delight for all, capturing the best of comics, film, and modern media in one four-color classic.”

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“For a parent looking to broaden a child’s understanding of the world, this new graphic novel is a find.”

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“. . . opens up the world of heroes to everyone . . .”

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“. . . the artist fills every panel with joy.”

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“A timeless classic from the pages of period long gone, . . . pure, classic art with a touch of vaudeville and slapstick.”

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“Nearly forgotten today, Mr. Wellman was nominated for a Pulitzer. . . . a worthy chapter in the timeline of fiction devoted to the supernatural.”

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“Mr. Barks distills pure comedy down to its simplest form.”

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“. . . a volume of touching sincerity . . .”

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“Dr. Flitcroft and Mr. Spencer have created a showcase for why comics and graphic novels can be the perfect teaching tools.”

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“No one is sure Who Put the Bomp, but Kim Fowley may have walked it to the door on its way into history.”

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While female comic artists had been working regularly in newspaper comic sections for quite some time, the 1940 debut of Brenda Starr, Reporter was something brand new.

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“Li’l Abner [was] a joyful bumpkin who lived in a world that both reflected and refracted what America was like . . .”

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“Relish is as warm as Lucy Knisley’s beloved homemade chocolate ship cookies.”

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Inside Pogo artist and writer Walt Kelly brings us an imaginative world that equals anything ever created by Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, or J. M. Barrie.

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For a team known mostly for incredible violence, reckless abandon, and general stupidity, the stories reprinted in this hardcover collection are can only be described in one word: charming

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“. . . over 260 pages of pure artistic and comic bliss.”

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“Mr. Weiner connects all the dots in this amazing evolution of a true art form—an evolution driven as much by artists and writers as by their readers.”

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“Nearly 100 years after it first saw print, Krazy Kat is still incredibly funny.”

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There are questions inherent to the world of comics easily explained and often, thanks to the inventiveness of writers such as John Byrne, Jack Kirby, John Broome, and Steve Ditko, quite logical in

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“If you love the frustrated, quacking, crazed Donald from the cartoons of the forties, you have to read A Christmas for Shacktown.”

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“. . . thrilling . . . the intimate look into the sheer joy in Tanino Liberatore’s art.”

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“Orion is Pirates of the Caribbean for the adult fantasy world.”

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“It isn’t easy to write a character with 80 years of continuity while simultaneously pleasing old fans and drawing in new ones, but Will Murray does it.”

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“Papercutz has added a significant new dimension to the legend of Nancy Drew. She and her new Clue Crew should be around for a long time.”

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“In our hearts and minds, childhood is eternal. And so is Skippy.”

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“Billionaires & Ballot Bandits is impartial—the corruption walks both sides of the aisle, and Greg Palast makes no effort to hide this.”

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“. . . inspiring both young and the old to find their way to the classics.”

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“Rick Geary is one of our best and most consistent graphic novelists. Lovers’ Lane is further proof.”

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“. . . the one book needed to guide us all through the upcoming election year.”

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“. . . moving storytelling of the highest order.”

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“. . . encapsulates the major ideas of Western thought into a simple and honest narrative.”

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“Harvey Pekar understood he was part of an imperfect world, and his writing reflects this knowledge.”

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“. . . ranks among the best in an already exceptional series.”

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“. . . required reading for fans not only of science fiction, but of the short story form as well.”