A comic-book author with movie connections is Harvey Pekar, whose American Splendor became a hit film in 2003. Pekar's latest, The Quitter, combines an exhumation of his personal history with a searing portrait of life among Jewish immigrants on the hardscrabble streets of Cleveland. Illustrated in perfect Goofus-and-Gallant style by Dean Haspiel, the book starts with Harvey's pugilistic adolescence and ends with the now-famous author wondering why, after all this time, his sudden success hasn't made him feel any less insecure. Becky Ohlsen keeps her comics collection in Portland, Oregon.

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