Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor is probably responsible for the latest trend in independent comics toward warts-and-all autobiography. Jock, jailbird, bartender, bouncer, fire fighter, substance abuser, and newspaper publisher, Dennis P. Eichhorn not only has ample material for a confessional comic, he’s got the narrative gifts to pull it off in Real Stuff. With assistance from some first-rate cartoonists, including Mark Zingarelli, Lynda Barry, and Peter Bagge, Eichhorn can evoke fringe life — whether it’s watching In Cold Blood with a roomful of lifers in prison or dating a prostitute who turns out to be a serial killer-with an eerie casualness that almost always leads to a wallop. Real Stuff delivers. B+

Real Stuff
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