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The 25 Comic Books You Need To Read Before You Die

9. American Splendor (self-published, Dark Horse Comics, DC Entertainment)

Writer: Harvey Pekar
Artist: Robert Crumb, Gary Dumm, Kevin Brown, various

The world of underground comics is so vast that we can do another whole list on that subject alone. Anyone who's willing to dive into that small corner of the industry should definitely start with Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor. This slice-of-life comic recalls Pekar’s life as a file clerk and details his personal and professional relationships, as well as his various phobias and neurosis.

The series dealt with the real world from a cynic’s point-of-view. There's no romanticism shoved down our throats; rather, we see Pekar struggle with the mundane aspects of everyday life. Small events like going to the grocery store or riding on the bus become completely engaging tales of the modern world and how this one singular man fits into its grand scheme. It’s hard not to feel a sort of kinship to Pekar and his anxieties.

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