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Monday, July 12, 2010

Goodbye Harvey

When I first started collection comics, I became aware very quickly about people like Crumb, Pekar, and titles like Love And Rockets, and American Splendor. Too bad I wasn't bright enough to pick them up.


Harvey Pekar was one of the most important, idiosyncratic, and eccentric writers that the comics medium has ever produced. He ushered in a new age of autobiographical realism to comic books and graphic novels, writing scripts that were illustrated by artists such as R. Crumb, Gary Dumm, Dean Haspiel, Drew Friedman, and Rick Geary. He enjoyed a brief period of TV stardom as an occasional guest on David Letterman’s NBC talk show, and his comic-book series American Splendor inspired a 2003 film of the same name starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar. In 2003, he contributed a periodic comic strip, “Harvey Pekar’s Lost and Found,” to Entertainment Weekly.

Rolling through Pekar’s pop-culture credits, however, does not come close to describing what Pekar achieved. He spent most of his adult life working a civil-service job as a filing clerk in Cleveland, Ohio, writing comics scripts in his spare time. He loved jazz and collected vinyl albums from thrift sales and used record- and bookstores, a passion that he shared with one of his most sympathetic artist-collaborators, R. Crumb.

His on air battles with David Letterman are legend.

Tonight, I'm going to watch the film adaptation of his life in his memory. There won't be another comic author like him ever again.

1 comment:

Lazarus Lupin said...

Another person I wished I could have met now gone. I remember seeing him once on the travel channel with one of those people who eat strange things. They were visiting an old book store that used to be a twinkie factory. Amazingly enough some of the pipes were still filled with twinkie goo and they all had a taste.

Is that a metaphore for something? My eulogy of a true american character? Just a televised dream perhaps? Who knows, fare well Harvey. May you be in heaven ten minutes after the Devil heard you die!

Lazarus Lupin
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