Stories by Harvey Pekar, Tony LaVorgna, & Lois Gilbert
Tony LaVorgna's fascination with graphic novels began in 1980 when his girlfriend lent him a copy of Harvey Pekar's comic book American Splendor.
Tony immediately became enamored of Harvey's writing and was surprised to find out that not only did his girlfriend know Harvey Pekar but Harvey in fact lived only a few blocks from her apartment. A meeting soon followed and Tony and Harvey quickly became close jazz buddies, an association that lasted for more than 30 years.
Tony had always been content being a professional jazz and swing musician but as he approached 55 Tony felt more and more unhappy about his life. It was becoming a problem that effected everyone around him.
Then one day he saw Harvey Pekar's biographical movie American Splendor. It was a catharsis. Within a week Tony had listed his music accomplishments and organized them into a ten page comic book story. Tony was now expressing himself with the written word.
But was the writing good? Tony called Harvey and Harvey suggested he show it to American Splendor artist Gary Dumm.
Gary approved of what Tony had written and agreed to illustrate it. Within a few weeks Gary had drawn Tony's "ten pager". It was Tony's first comic book story and Tony loved it.
During any spare moment between his jazz engagements and his practicing and his teaching Tony continued to write comic book stories. He wrote about his life as a jazz musician, his personal feelings about religion, art and history and any funny thing that popped into his mind.
Harvey Pekar became interested and wrote several stories about Tony's life as well.
This has resulted in Tony's first graphic novel, Bebopman.
Written by Harvey Pekar, Tony LaVorgna and Tony's comedian girlfriend Lois Gilbert, Bebopman is illustrated by Gary Dumm and is a funny and honest look at the life of a jazz musician.