The Beats

The Beats

A Graphic History

Book - 2009
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In The Beats: A Graphic History , those who were mad to live have come back to life through artwork as vibrant as the Beat movement itself. Told by the comic legend Harvey Pekar, his frequent artistic collaborator Ed Piskor, and a range of artists and writers, including the feminist comic creator Trina Robbins and the Mad magazine artist Peter Kuper, The Beats takes us on a wild tour of a generation that, in the face of mainstream American conformity and conservatism, became known for its determined uprootedness, aggressive addictions, and startling creativity and experimentation. What began among a small circle of friends in New York and San Francisco during the late 1940s and early 1950s laid the groundwork for a literary explosion, and this striking anthology captures the storied era in all its incarnations--from the Benzedrine-fueled antics of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs to the painting sessions of Jay DeFeo's disheveled studio, from the jazz hipsters to the beatnik chicks, from Chicago's College of Complexes to San Francisco's famed City Lights bookstore. Snapshots of lesser-known poets and writers sit alongside frank and compelling looks at the Beats' most recognizable faces. What emerges is a brilliant collage of--and tribute to--a generation, in a form and style that is as original as its subject.
Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780809094967
0809094967
Characteristics: viii, 199 p. : chiefly ill., 24 cm.

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SCL_Justin Jul 23, 2017

I’ve read a bit of Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs in my day, so a history around them in comics form got me interested. Those big three are well represented in a non-hagiographic kind of way. What really made this book for me was the information about all the Beats I hadn’t heard of. There are comics in here about a bunch of people who were also at Ginsberg’s first City Lights reading of Howl, and they are very interesting and provoked my thoughts differently than just reading their work.

For instance, I hadn’t ever really thought about how anti-woman the big-name beats were until seeing some of this stuff laid out on paper. Having stuff about the women who were also creative forces at the time was really good for provoking at least a Wikipedia-binge or two.

CRRL_CraigGraziano Jun 25, 2015

Harvey Pekar is a perfect candidate to explain the details of the lives of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, and William S. Burroughs. A comics writer for decades, Pekar was also a jazz obsessive. Jazz was an essential ingredient in forming Beat philosophy.

Read more at: http://www.librarypoint.org/beats_pekar

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