Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean: American Splendor-logo

Scene by Scene with Josh & Dean: American Splendor

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel break down Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie (2003) scene by scene, with insight, humor, and inside information. Neufeld & Haspiel were both illustrators for the American Splendor comic book. SCENE BY SCENE is geared toward fans of indy comics and movies, as well as the rapidly growing “movies-by-minute” podcast movement. You can find SCENE BY SCENE at Support this podcast:


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Josh Neufeld & Dean Haspiel break down Harvey Pekar's AMERICAN SPLENDOR the movie (2003) scene by scene, with insight, humor, and inside information. Neufeld & Haspiel were both illustrators for the American Splendor comic book. SCENE BY SCENE is geared toward fans of indy comics and movies, as well as the rapidly growing “movies-by-minute” podcast movement. You can find SCENE BY SCENE at Support this podcast:








AS Bonus: Live Event with Springer Berman, Pulcini, Friedlander, and Leib

A special live event held at New York City’s famed Society of Illustrators! After a screening of the film, Josh & Dean sat down with American Splendor writer/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (via Skype), actor Judah Friedlander, and animator Gary Leib. Behind-the-scenes stories of the making of the film, the animation, influences from the comics, and much more, including questions from the audience. Watch the accompanying video slideshow of comics sources for scenes in the...


AS Bonus: Writer/Directors SHARI SPRINGER BERMAN and ROBERT PULCINI Interview

Josh & Dean sit down with American Splendor writer/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini for a freewheeling discussion of the movie. Shari & Bob talk about meeting Harvey & Joyce, the writing & making of the film, their working method and creative choices, casting, memorable moments from the shoot, the film’s main themes, and Harvey’s legacy. According to Bob, “Everything about the making of American Splendor was unorthodox and unusual.” For instance, the first day of casting...


AS30: The End Credits

American Splendor scene #30 (1:37:31 to 1:41:08) — As the credits roll (on the film and the podcast), Josh & Dean reflect on all things Pekar/American Splendor. What should the film’s post-credit sequence have been? What would an American Splendor TV show look like? (Dino keeps coming back to Louis C.K.) A tribute to DC/Vertigo/Paradox Press, as well as editor Jonathan Vankin. Other notable movies with the word “American” in the title. The next movies from each of the film’s actors. Who...


AS29: Part of the Story (with Alex Robinson)

American Splendor scene #29 (1:31:12 to 1:37:31) — Alex Robinson of Star Wars Minute joins Josh & Dean for the final scene of the film! (Well, actually, six little “scenelets.”) It's one year later, and Harvey & Joyce sign Our Cancer Year. Harvey is declared cancer-free! They adopt Danielle, and Harvey adjusts to being a parent (of a sort). The real Harvey retires from the VA hospital, and the movie ends with a group hug. For Alex, discovering American Splendor was "like LSD in reverse.” An...


AS Bonus: Animator GARY LEIB Interview

Josh sits down with Gary Leib to discuss his work on the film, specifically on key scenes like the title sequence, "Old Jewish Ladies," and "Who is Harvey Pekar?" Gary's background as an alternative cartoonist (Idiotland) and musician, and his long-standing partnership with Doug Allen. How Gary got into animation and initially hooked up with Ted Hope and Good Machine. John Kuramoto's vital contributions to the animation. Getting to know Harvey at Sundance, and what it was like when American...


AS28: Who is Harvey Pekar?

American Splendor scene #28 (1:28:12 to 1:31:12) — In one continuous take, Harvey wanders through a dreamscape, musing about his name, the phone book, and the other Harvey Pekars out there. An existential meditation is brought to life in a tour-de-force combination of framing, acting, and animation. A comparison with the original comic, “The Harvey Pekar Name Story,” a masterpiece of subtlety and quiet moments, illustrated by R. Crumb. The origin of the Haspiels/Haspels in America, and the...


AS27: Treatment Begins

American Splendor scene #27 (1:24:49 to 1:28:11) — The trauma and turmoil of Harvey’s treatment; time passes strangely. Meanwhile, Fred — accompanied by Danielle — continues to work on Our Cancer Year with Harvey & Joyce. An addled Harvey wonders if he’s real or if he’s just a character in a comic book. And if he dies will the story end, or will it keep on going? The scene begins and ends out of focus. How Harvey had the sole copyright on his stories. The importance of good — preferably...


AS Bonus: Producer TED HOPE Interview

Josh & Dean chat with Ted Hope (now with Amazon Studios), the producer of American Splendor. Hope talks about his own background in the business, the development of the film (including Dean’s key introductions), his favorite moments from the shoot, and premiering the film at Sundance. In a moving testament to authenticity in art, Hope explains why projects like American Splendor (both the film and the comics) have to exist. Shout-outs to NYU Film School, Alex Cox and REPO MAN, Ed Burns, Hal...


AS26: Our Cancer Year (with Jeff "JahFurry" Newelt)

American Splendor scene #26 (1:18:34 to 1:24:48) — To his and Joyce’s great shock, Harvey is diagnosed with lymphoma. Joyce suggest he “make a comic book of the whole thing,” but Harvey just wants to die. Undeterred, Joyce enlists Fred, an artist, to illustrate the experience. Fred brings along Danielle, his daughter, on their first brainstorming session, and Joyce is smitten with the girl. Harvey agrees to participate in the comic — and asks Fred tp keep bringing Danielle along. Josh & Dean...


AS25: You F***d Up a Great Thing (with Jeff “JahFurry” Newelt)

American Splendor scene #25 (1:15:00 to 1:18:33) — The scene begins with another Letterman appearance. but to quote Harvey, “between the lump and loneliness… [he] never felt more like a sell-out hack.” Harvey dons an “On Strike Against NBC” shirt and the show goes downhill from there, winding up in chaos. Joyce finally, happily returns, but the scene ends ominously as she discovers Harvey’s lump. Josh & Dean are joined by Jeff “JahFurry” Newelt! A discussion of GE, NBC, and corporate...


AS Bonus: JOE ZABEL Interview

Josh & Dean chat with long-time American Splendor artist Joe Zabel. Joe talks about his years working with Harvey, the creativity he brought to the role of illustrator, his thoughts on the movie, and about how his first impression of American Splendor was that it was a sex comic (“Harvey Pecker”). An in-depth examination of the creative process behind a number of memorable American Splendor stories. Joe explains how he came to realize that Harvey was a genus, American Splendor was...


AS24: Startin' to Lose It

American Splendor scene #24 (1:10:45 to 1:14:55) — The scene opens back at Shay’s Diner. Another patron recognizes Harvey from the Letterman show — but not for the right reasons. Our man is angry and unfulfilled. Meanwhile, Joyce is looking for fulfillment of her own — as a creator and as an activist. Against Harvey’s wishes, she goes away to a peace conference, leaving him at loose ends. One lonely night, Harvey discovers a mysterious lump; his fear and loneliness are directed...


AS23: Late Night with Harvey Pekar (with Ed Piskor)

American Splendor scene #23 (1:02:32 to 1:10:44) — The scene shifts to the Warwick Hotel, New York City, as Harvey and Joyce prepare for his appearance on Late Night with David Letterman! Despite himself, Harvey is a hit on the show and comes back for multiple appearances. Meanwhile, Toby becomes an MTV star. This episode we are joined by special guest cartoonist Ed Piskor! Ed talks about how he discovered American Splendor, his appreciation of the anthology nature of the film, and his...


AS22: Delusions of Grandeur (with Whitney Matheson & Eytan Mirsky)

American Splendor scene #22 (56:33 to 1:02:31) — “Westward Ho!” Harvey & Joyce travel to L.A. to see American Splendor: The Play. Things are finally breaking Harvey’s way. But his ascendancy is complicated by Joyce’s emotional struggles. She wants… a family. Guest Whitney Matheson returns! And this episode features an interview with singer-songwriter Eytan Mirsky, who appears and sings in the film. The actual history of the various American Splendor stage productions. What is...


AS21: Revenge of the Nerds part II: Signs of Trouble (with Whitney Matheson)

American Splendorscene #21 (53:50 to 56:33) — Harvey, Joyce, and Toby emerge from a screening of Revenge of the Nerds. Joyce finds it inspiring — Harvey finds it insipid. Back at their apartment, Joyce struggles with feeling at home amidst all of Harvey’s stuff. Special guest: pop culture writer Whitney Matheson! The pros & cons of Revenge of the Nerds. The first time Whitney met Harvey. Diagnosing vs. judging. Which movie characters did you identify with as a kid? The many movies of...


AS20: What Kind of Girl Is Your New Bride?

American Splendor scene #20 (52:19 to 53:50) — the real Harvey and Joyce sit in a fake comic book store, with a pile of American Splendors on the table between them. Joyce talks about what it was like to become a character in Harvey’s stories. Tension is in the air. A machine gun sounds in the distance. The scene's cringe-factor. Doom & gloom — and finding the right balance between happy & sad moments. Creative partnerships and being each other’s toughest critic. Being willing — or not — to...


AS Bonus: World Champion JUDAH FRIEDLANDER Interview

Josh & Dean chat with comedian and actor Judah Friedlander, who plays Toby Radloff in the movie. Judah discusses how he got the role, hanging with the real Toby, being unrecognizable, and his key scenes in the film. He also talks 30 Rock, those unique trucker hats, his role on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hollywood, politics, the life of a stand-up comic, and his Netflix specials. Nearly a full hour of Judah goodness! Shout-outs to George & Leonardo DiCaprio, thrift shopping,...


AS19: Escape (Revenge of the Nerds Part I)

American Splendor scene #19 (49:08 to 52:18) — It’s one week later, and (a strangely chipper) Harvey sees Toby sitting in his car, the dashboard covered in White Castle sliders. Toby is on his way to Toledo to see the new movie Revenge of the Nerds. Meanwhile, Harvey is on his way to Delaware to marry Joyce and help her move out to Cleveland. Harvey steals Toby’s fries. Rupert Holmes sings “Escape (The Pina Colada Song).” An appreciation of Judah Friedlander's performance as Toby. Thoughts...


AS Bonus: Genuine Nerd TOBY RADLOFF

Josh & Dean chat with Toby Radloff, a key figure in both American Splendor the comic and the movie. (Josh illustrated a couple of Toby Radloff stories.) Toby talks about working with Harvey Pekar at the VA Hospital, what the job of a file clerk was, and hanging with Harvey on weekends. He discusses what it felt like to be a character in American Splendor, and his "delusions of grandeur" after appearing on MTV and in the Killer Nerd films. Toby weighs in on his favorite moments in the film...


AS18: Skipping the Whole Courtship Thing

American Splendor scene #18 (44:33 to 49:07) — Harvey takes Joyce to his apartment, where it is abundantly clear that he has a “serious problem with cleanliness.” Joyce shrugs if off, and they sit down on the couch and begin to get… intimate. Suddenly Joyce is overcome with a bout of nausea and vomiting. A concerned Harvey offers her chamomile tea. Charmed, Joyce suggests they “skip the whole courtship thing and get married”! An extended discussion of disgusting living situations, dirty...