PRINT Summer 2003


the making of American Splendor

Last January a movie based on my comic book series, American Splendor, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Man, that’s hard for me to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the movie was excellent, but I’m not used to winning anything. My comics sell so lousy. People are always coming up to me and saying how much they like them. I want to reply, “Yeah, but did you ever buy one?” What I did for a living—I’m retired now—was to be a flunky file clerk for the federal government, mostly for the Cleveland VA Hospital, for thirty-seven years. I mean, it was steady work with pretty good fringe benefits, but not the kind of gig that’d make you feel you were one of the chosen ones or anything like that.

So what happened was this: In 1999, a friend in New York told me that he’d done some work for a film company called Good Machine and that one of the producers there, Ted Hope, dug my comics and

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