AS 11: Standing Behind Old Jewish Ladies in Supermarket Lines

American Splendor scene #11:  (17:51 to 20:20) — Harvey is doing some grocery shopping when he is confronted with a conundrum about which line to wait on — the long but speedy one, or the short one with the old Jewish lady in front? Out of nowhere, Harvey’s animated subconscious — drawn in an R. Crumb manner — pops up to help guide his decision. “Are you going to stand there in silence, or are you going to make a mark?” Another new wrinkle in this unusual film!

How Harvey’s artists did the “acting” in his comics. Did Harvey ever object to something Josh or Dean illustrated, and did Harvey keep some artists on a shorter leash? How the artists in the Vertigo series near the end of Harvey’s career/life were more stylized than the typical A.S. artists of yore. Were Harvey’s earlier stories better than his later work (which leads to a discussion of “later work” in general)? An extended compare-and-contrast session about the original comic that inspired the scene. The differences between cartoons and comics, and what they require of the watcher/reader.

Shout-outs to animators Gary Leib, Doug Allen, and John Kuramoto of Twinkle. Also to Vito Delsante, Prince, Stanley Kubrick, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Love & Rockets, and Idiotland.

Episode Notes

“Standing Behind Old Jewish Ladies in Supermarket Lines” p. 1 (American Splendor #3, ©1978 Harvey Pekar, art by R. Crumb)

2 Replies to “AS 11: Standing Behind Old Jewish Ladies in Supermarket Lines”

  1. Brett

    G’Day again fellas,
    Huh, you can tell what episode I just listened to, huh ?
    Just wanted to add to the discussion of Harvey’s laryngitis/throat problems.
    I always saw it as being a psychosomatic thing – it is really bad in situations where Harvey feels like he has no voice (figuratively, for example when his wife leaves him, or when the doctor is giving the diagnosis.
    Also, when Crumb agrees to draw his comics, he is giving Harvey a voice (again, figuratively) and so the laryngitis disappears.
    So, I do not think it is an act so much as it is the physical symptom of the malaise Harvey feels when he is without a voice.
    (or is that way too pompous an explanation??)

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