Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Adaptation
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In the thirty-five years since Pulitzer Prize-winner Studs Terkel's Working was first published, it has captivated millions of readers with lyrical and heartbreaking accounts of how their fellow citizens earn a living. Widely regarded as a masterpiece of words, it is now adapted into comic book form by comics legend Harvey Pekar, the blue-collar antihero of his American Book Award-winning comics series American Splendor.
In Studs Terkel's Working, Pekar offers a brilliant visual adaptation of Terkel's verbatim interviews, collaborating with both established comics veterans and some of the comic underground's brightest new talent. Here are riveting accounts of the lives of ordinary Americans--farmers, miners, barbers, hookers, box boys, stockbrokers--depicted with unsurpassed dignity and frankness. A visual treat with a visceral impact, Studs Terkel's Working will delight Terkel fans everywhere, and introduce his most powerful work to a new generation.
Paul, 1944- II. Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008. Working. III. Title. HD8072.T4 2009 331.20973—dc22 2008047894 The New Press was established in 1990 as a not-for-profit alternative to the large, commercial publishing houses currently dominating the book publishing industry. The New Press operates in the public interest rather than for private gain, and is committed to publishing, in innovative ways, works of educational, cultural, and community value that are often deemed insufficiently profitable.
social observer. Lucky Miller, a young cabdriver, has his say in this matter. “A lot of drivers, they’ll agree to almost anything the passenger will say, no matter how absurd. They’re angling for that tip.” Barbers and bartenders are probably not far behind as being eminently quotable. They are also tippable. This in no way reflects on the nature of their work so much as on the slothfulness of journalists, and the phenomenon of tipping. “Usually I do not disagree with a customer,” says a barber.
“That’s gonna hurt business.” It’s predetermined, his business—or work—being what it is. Simultaneously, as our “Alf,” called “Archie” or “Joe,” is romanticized, he is caricatured. He is the clod, put down by others. The others, who call *Richard Hoggart, The Uses of Literacy. xx themselves middle-class, are in turn put down by still others, impersonal in nature—The Organization, The Institution, The Bureaucracy. “Who you gonna sock? You can’t sock General Motors . . .” Thus the “dumbness” (or
there. When the boss is around, if he sees you reading a paper or something, it grates on him. That’s the part of the job I dislike most--having to look busy.” “One of the older guys was telling me how amazing he found it that I would sit there totally oblivious to the boss and read a paper. That ran against his ethic. I think there’s too much of an attitude that work has to be shitty.” “I noticed someone talking on the phone the other day, one of the older guys. He said he was at the office.
do this?’--and trying to be stern. Part of it comes out of his own fear. He doesn’t realize younger people resent this. I object to seeing this guy as my father. I’d rather see him as some kind of equal, or boss.” “Older people, he tells them what to do, and they do it, because that’s the way it is. But he never feels sure the younger people are going to do it. They want to know why. Nobody refuses to do anything, but we want to know why.” “If there’s a lull in the work the kids’ll go into the