Cover image for Our cancer year
Our cancer year
Brabner, Joyce.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Four Walls Eight Windows, [1994]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
RC265.6.P45 B73 1994 Graphic Novel Central Library

On Order



It was they year of Desert Storm that Harvey Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner, discovered Harvey had cancer. Pekar, a man who has made a profession of chronicling the Kafkaesque absurdities of an ordinary life (if any life is ordinary) suddenly found himself incapacitated. But he had a better-than-average chance to beat cancer and he took it -- kicking, screaming, and complaining all the way. Pekar and Brabner draw on this and other trials to paint a portrait of a man beset with fears real and imagined -- who survives.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This is the most impressive nonfiction graphic novel since Art Spiegelman's Maus. Pekar is the hospital worker-author of the autobiographical comic, American Splendor, and Brabner, his wife, is a peace activist-journalist working in the comics form. Not artists themselves, they have collaborated with many illustrators over the years and here with one of Pekar's favorites, Frank Stack. Stack's fluid line and strong composi~tional skills in both single panels and whole pages do much to grab and hold us as Pekar and Brabner re-create the awful year when, having already decided to move from the apartment they had lived in for 10 years (and he for 9 more before) to a house, she became involved in a complicated project, and he undertook grueling chemotherapy for cancer. It's doubtful that any medium other than the comics could make the commonly unusual ingredients of their story--suffering drug side effects, getting on each other's nerves just when you feel you shouldn't, hassling with home repairs, etc.--so compelling. Few prose-only cancer survivors' accounts are as good. ~--Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Joined by his wife and collaborator Brabner and illustrator Stack, Pekar's (The New American Splendor Anthology) first book-length comics narrative is by turns amusing, frightening, moving and quietly entertaining. As always, Pekar's work records his apparently ordinary life as a hospital clerk in Cleveland while simultaneously capturing the epiphanic combination of mundanity and awkward, sporadic nobility of everyday life. In 1990, Pekar was diagnosed with lymphoma and needed chemotherapy. By the time the disease was discovered, the couple was in the midst of buying a house (a tremendous worry to Pekar, who fretted about both the money and corruptions of bourgeois creature comforts). Brabner, a self-described ``comic book journalist,'' had to oversee both the new house and a sick and very difficult husband. Pekar's cancer treatment and suffering will take your breath away, but there's a happy ending; and the book (and their marriage) is distinguished by Brabner's great tenderness and determination in the middle of Pekar's medical nightmare. Stack's brisk and elegantly gestural black-and-white drawings wonderfully delineate this captivating story of love, community, recuperation and international friendship. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved