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content by: editor
american splendor exclusive
Collective presents an unpublished episode of Pekar & Crumb’s American Splendor.Picture the scene. You’re editing America’s premier celeb rag, the Time Warner-owned Entertainment Weekly, and you’re selling 2m copies per issue. It’s a sensitive time for the US and you’ve just run an ever-so-slightly “anti-American” cover story about Sean Penn’s desire to write news dispatches from Iraq.
Only a few months earlier you found yourself in very hot water when you put The Dixie Chicks on the cover, naked and graphically displaying their “disapproval” of George Bush. So the last thing you want is regular contributors, Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb, criticizing “media conglomerates” and bigging up “dangerous radical” Billy Bragg in their American Splendor comic strip. Yes, I did say Billy Bragg. And, yes, I did say dangerous radical.
Pekar, once banned from David Letterman’s Late Show for publicly criticising NBC, says the editors of Entertainment Weekly objected to the portrayal of Bragg as “a liberal”. And so, after repeated requests to “tone down the references” and make it more “editorially friendly”, the strip was rejected. We at Collective, though, are happy to publish it for your perusal, for the first time anywhere in the world. Don’t say we don’t care.
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