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Ego and Hubris: The Michael Malice Story (American Splendor)

3.55  ·  Rating Details ·  314 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
“Michael Malice is one of the most puzzling twenty-first century Americans I have ever met.”
–Harvey Pekar

Who’s Michael Malice, and how did he become the subject of a graphic novel by Harvey Pekar, the curmudgeon from Cleveland?

First of all, Michael Malice is a real person. He’s 5’6” and weighs 130 pounds. Although on the cusp of thirty, he could easily pass for a scrawny t
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 11th 2006 by Ballantine Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 27, 2010 Phobos rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2010-read
I appreciate the artwork and the dedication by Harvey Pekar on this piece but Mike Malice is an utter piece of Randroid shit. Totally egotistical, anti-social, anti-collective and completely hostile.

There are Rand quotes galore in this piece. The funny thing is Mike describes himself as an "anarchist", he's not. He's a Libertarian. The term anarchist evolved from the left and was a collective philosophy, not a philosophy of individualism. Furthermore, Mike goes on to call Sacco and Vanzetti "cri
Max Dickey
Jul 20, 2015 Max Dickey rated it it was ok
Harvey Pekar is a gifted writer, but Michael Malice is such an unrelenting douchebag that this book is almost impossible to appreciate. He's not nearly as smart as he thinks and his life and arguments are fundamentally boring.
May 03, 2008 Michael rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Man it's easy to really hate Michael Malice. While reading this book I forgot that Pekar wrote it. He writes so convincingly from the point of view of the ego-maniacal Malice that I wonder if much of the narration is pulled directly from interviews Pekar may have had with Malice. Not that this makes Pekar's book any less interesting or artful. It's impressive for how vividly Pekar gets into the mind of such a man.

Gary Dumm's art is kind of goofy. I've read a bunch of other American Splendor stor
Mar 24, 2008 Mindy rated it liked it
I enjoy the writings and musings of Harvey Pekar - I own a few of his collected volumes - have read more than that - have met an Editor that worked with him - did a report on him in my Graphic Novel as Lit class - own and have watched "American Splendor" the docu-drama multiple times...but this was probably my least favorite thing Pekar has done. And that has everything to do with the subject.

Michael Malice is a total jerk-off. I hate self-proclaimed "geniuses" who spend their life treating othe
Aug 29, 2011 Peacegal rated it liked it
Is it possible to enjoy a book yet hate its protagonist? Such was my situation with Ego and Hubris. This nicely-drawn, well-presented graphic novel presents the biography of the world’s biggest dickhead. No opportunity for petty cruelty is wasted with this guy, and he’s proud of it.

Because I am around the same age as Mr. Malice, I appreciated the period detail of his childhood. I, too, loved the TV show “Small Wonder” and collected and obsessively rearranged Safari Cards.

If you’re like me and
Oct 01, 2009 Adam rated it it was ok
I love Harvey Pekar, but I just couldn't get into this book. The subject is a giant prick who is convinced Ayn Rand is the answer to all the worlds problems. It wouldn't be so bad if the guy wasn't constantly treating every other human being alive like they were mentally handicapped trash dwellers. I couldn't finish this book, even from the perspective of it being a portrait of a douchebag. The art is nice enough, and Pekar's writing is solid as always, but gah. Reading about this guy just made ...more
Jul 06, 2009 Joe rated it did not like it
This guy is such a prick and his life is pretty boring. I really like Harvey Pekar but Michael Malice is a snore. I would hate this guy in real life and I can even empathize a lot with where he is coming from. He comes across as unpleasant and self-righteous. Yes, he is unapologetic as the title suggests and it is slightly thrilling to see him lay into inept bosses but I bet he would be a terrible person to work with. Of all the people Harvey Pekar must have met in his life I can't really unders ...more
Jul 02, 2008 Ratscats rated it it was amazing
This the first graphic novel I've ever read and I loved it. I've been meaning to check out Harvey Pekar's work for a long time (he writes the American Splendor series that was turned into a really great movie). This was a lot of fun to read. It felt like "cheating" because a grapic novel is like a comic book. But there was a lot of depth to this story. I can't wait to read more!
May 07, 2017 Douglas rated it liked it
In general I'm opposed to biographies and memoirs by people early in their life. And, I don't really understand what made Mr. Malice so interesting to Mr. Pekar.

But, it was a good read, and I enjoyed it.
Aug 29, 2010 Brenna rated it liked it
The primary element with Ego & Hubris is that the book’s concern, Michael Malice, is not a particularly likable character.
True, he comes across as exceptionally intelligent and completely attuned to his own professional desires. However, he also makes it clear that he does not respect those who are not whom he considers his intellectual peers. In fact, many of his anecdotes pertain to his overweening pride in browbeating teachers, professors, co-workers, etc. In other words, Malice purposefu
Keith Schnell
Jan 07, 2017 Keith Schnell rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'd never heard of this Michael Malice character before, but judging from what I saw in "Ego & Hubris", I'd probably get along with him, establish an uneasy friendship, then forever after teeter on the precipice of never talking to him again, while intermittently laughing with dumbfounded disbelief at many of the things he said and did.

This is a quick, funny read about an interesting hothead. What bugs me about this book, though, is that the details within were presumably described to Pekar
May 09, 2008 Hol added it
This is the true story of a misanthropic 29-year-old Russian Jewish immigrant named Michael Malice (real name). The childhood stuff is great--I don’t know how Pekar leaps among disparate images so that a narrative accumulates and flows, but he does. When Michael grows up he identifies as an anarchist, though really he seems kind of sociopathic; my theory is that Pekar is fascinated by Michael’s insane confidence. Sometimes the words and art (this time by Gary Dumm) are a funny juxtaposition. Mic ...more
Jul 02, 2009 Abraham rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Michael Malice is a real jerk, but I loved reading about his life. Even from a very early age he was unapologetically self-centered and terribly cocky. He hates it when other people "screw him over" but he seems to have no trouble returning the favor, even getting a couple of people fired through the course of the book.

His political views don't endear him to me either. He read Ayn Rand books and loved them, which should come as no surprise to anyone. I am not very familiar with that subset of th
This is a non-fiction graphic novel. It is the biography of some dude named Michael Malice. I am still not sure why Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame) decided to write this guy's biography, but that's how it turned out.

Michael Malice comes across as kind of a butt head in this book. I wonder how he feels about the completed project? Sometimes his actions are assertive, which I can appreciate, but sometimes he seems like an out and out mean jerk.

In any case, I think Harvey Pekar did an exce
Jan 21, 2008 Bryan rated it really liked it
Shelves: public-library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 21, 2006 Adriane rated it it was amazing
I was skeptical going into this because of the fact that Harvey Pekar was writing about someone other than himself. Michael Malice (of Overheard in NewYork/internet blogger/self-declared "horrible person" fame)comes across as a pretty big prick, but in the most endearing way possible. This is a quick read and if you like biographical content, comic books, and the tone of Pekar's writing style then you will find this enjoyable. If someone at a cocktail party were to ask me that standard lame ass ...more
Jan 04, 2014 flannery rated it really liked it
Pretty sure this guy came to xmas dinner and checked Drudge Report intermittently on his iPad, not sure. I was pretty psyched to read about a wacky libertarian but I know enough of them to get tired easily. This reminds me of all sorts of extreme personalities I know, of all stripes, and if you thought there's only one Ron Paul bad news there are literally millions of people just like him. I'd only recommend this book to people who want to "know the enemy." Personally my answer is "only kinda."
Apr 04, 2010 Ryan rated it liked it
Ego & Hubris is interesting in its simplicity. Harvey Pekar is telling the story of Michael Malice in a straight line and it is up to the reader to make judgements and add commentary and it works so well. The whole way through I had so many judgements and thoughts about this guy Michael Malice and I just had to sit with them because Pekar is only giving the story. Michael is not a particularly interesting person either. He is many ways a modern day Holden Caulfield. I don't think this book i ...more
May 22, 2013 Chad rated it liked it
I'm happy enough with Pekar's character study and Malice's story is almost unwieldy in its fantastical collection of details of his ego and hubris but it went on too long for my interests. Each story means to build complexity (and empathy?) for Malice but he seems to come off as someone possibly undiagnosed with delusions of grandure which makes him more of a spectacle to behold rather than care about. Pekar does justice to him if his story's nonsequitors reflect the actual person but it can be ...more
Jan 13, 2009 Sissy rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is labeled as an installment of American Splendor, but it is actually the story of a different individual. Michael Malice has some definite similarities to Harvey Pekar, but that's not really the point. I suppose its an excellent graphic adaptation of a person's life. He is still alive and has a blog and continues to work on his many book projects which are interesting although I haven't read them myself. I read this in two evenings.
Feb 13, 2013 Solitairerose rated it really liked it
Pekar does a solid job of giving the life story of a very unlikable character. Set up as a long monologue, he used the comics form to give the story of the lead character in a way that gives us distance from him so that we don't hate him as much as we would upon actually meeting him while still realizing that his flaws are overwhelming. Pekar is a master of telling his own life story, but here he shows he can show other people's lives just as well.
Mar 18, 2012 Sarca rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-stars
I first took this out of my library and read it quickly. I then took it out of the library a few months later and my husband said, "Again??" Yes, again! I have since bought my own copy. For some reason, I hate Michael Malice and feel sorry for him, yet I love this graphic novel. The tale Pekar weaves is so simple and everyman. I've worked with people like Malice - maybe that's why I enjoyed the story so much. At any rate, I recommend it. But, be prepared to become infuriated!
John Young
Aug 03, 2009 John Young rated it it was amazing
Unusual book from Harvey Pekar. Pekar is best known for his masterful autobiographical stories, but this one is all about another subject. What's unusual is that Michael Malice is such a showy character... Even when Pekar has written about others, they usually typify the 'everyman.' Malice is one of those rare birds whose life sounds like fiction. Pekar handles it well, and doesn't impose his voice over his subject.
Situationist 95
May 04, 2007 Situationist 95 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Owen Deffintly
This Was So Egotistical & Amazing. This Is NOT american Splenor But It is a Display of Harvey Pekars amazing writing. Its about a veryyyy Smart man (which is a Gift) But He Knows hes Smart (which is a Curse). This is a Story of his life & how He puts up with people in his Own humorus Way. My Little Sister Stole this from me:) I want it back.
Jose Garcia
Aug 23, 2007 Jose Garcia rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: my best friend
Very humorous book in the style of Harvey Pekar(he wrote it). Unlike American Splendor however, this one is a biography of another person. Mr. Malice who the book is about, is a genius, bitter, egotistical man with a holier than thou attitude. My kind of guy. He holds back no punches, the way he treats people is hilarious. Definitely a good quick read.
Dr. Barrett  Dylan Brown, Phd
Oct 14, 2008 Dr. Barrett Dylan Brown, Phd rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comix
This comic is profoundly disturbing to me. The main character's life resembles mine far more than I feel comfortable with and he is an ass. In addition Harvey Pekar warns at the end that this book may resemble the readers life. Whatever it means I feel just a little less alone and somehow insulted- Loved it.
Jul 02, 2007 Pamela rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
This was my first Harvey Pekar experience, and while I thought the art was fine, I can't say I enjoyed the content. Michael Malice is a bitter and obnoxious man, and his biography made me cringe. The jacket copy says that Michael Malice is our generation's "everyman." If that's true, our generation sucks.
Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay
The lone star is for the relatively decent art by Gary Dumm. But the comic itself is meh. There is no force to the narrative at all, just escalating conservative a**holery. The protagonist claims to be an anarchist with an IQ of 160. I doubt they understand anarchism at all.
Nov 14, 2007 Zach added it
A thoroughly entertaining illustrated bio of Michael Malice, the true (and inevitably undermined) creator of the website "Overheard in New York". Pekar digs to the core of this strange character and finds a lovable sociopath.
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Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer best known for his autobiographical American Splendor series.

In 2003, the series inspired a critically acclaimed film adaptation of the same name.

More about Harvey Pekar...

Other Books in the Series

American Splendor (1 - 10 of 30 books)
  • American Splendor, #1
  • American Splendor, #2
  • American Splendor, #3
  • American Splendor, #4
  • American Splendor, #5
  • American Splendor, #6
  • American Splendor, #7
  • American Splendor, #8
  • American Splendor, #9
  • American Splendor, #10

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