man_size and I (and our dates) went to the American Splendor NYC premiere on Wednesday night (August 12) and I had the time of my life. It was my second time seeing the film and I enjoyed it just as much this go-around. Dean and his girlfriend — a film editor — are old hands at movie premieres, but I ate it all up. The red carpet, the limos, the star treatment for Harvey & Joyce — it was exciting, thrilling and bizarre, all at once. I finally met Toby Radloff — someone I’ve drawn a number of times in the comic — in person, and he was just as strange as I’ve always imagined. I also met Judah Friedlander, the guy who plays Toby in the film, which was surreal.
The after-movie dinner was held in a giant studio in Chelsea, filled with kitschy set pieces from the movie: old 70s furniture, jazz records, cheesy diner tables, the works. To top it off, they served all manner of white trash junk food, from White Castle hamburgers to orange soda (Harvey’s favorite?). Totally ridiculous, but all in the service of the film, I guess.
Anyway, It was nice to catch up with Harvey, who I hadn’t seen in person in quite a while. He seemed dazed but unchanged by all the hype — the same old uncompromising, grouchy, needy, intense oddball. At the end of the evening, Dean & I found him slumped on a couch at the very darkest corner of the hall, zoned out and exhausted. I also gave a copy of The Vagabonds to Sean Astin (Sam from Lord of the Rings) who asked me to sign it for him and seemed genuinely thrilled to be getting a free comic book. Plus, I got lots of free trailer park grub and a pocket-full of jellybeans to take home with me. All in all, an evening of splendor in America.