RIP: Harvey Pekar

One of comics unique figured was found dead today. Age 70.

I met Pekar a few times, going back to when I worked at Eclipse. Val Mayerik worked with hm on American Splendor back when it was a fairly new comic. The Comics Reporter writes:

Harvey Pekar was a key figure in the transition from underground to alternative comics, the self-publishing movement, the rise of graphic novels at prose publishing houses (Our Cancer Year was in the Class of ’94 — the preview year for the way comics are now), and, over time and in a bunch of ways, the wider cultural acceptance of comics.

He was also a great writer, so admirably and fiercely protective of his reputation that he’s never been given the work-by-work appraisal, discussion and strong debate he deserves. He did great work with great artists — his comics with Crumb are remarkable — although the Pekar that exists in my head is drawn by folks other than the superstars with whom he worked.

Few of us who watched Letterman in the 80s can forget when he came on the show and trashed GE. He never appeared on Letterman again.

I have a copy of American Splendor, the movie. They really toned Harvey and his wife down for that one. Especially Joyce.

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