The above photo is from Cleveland.com, where they are reporting that Harvey Pekar died yesterday in the early morning.
I didn’t know Harvey well, having only met him a couple of times, but he is unforgettable, and his work was very important to me. As Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter points out, Harvey was a crucial figure in the transition from underground comics to the current alt/indie/self-publishing scene that we have today. A generation-spanning group of cartoonists illustrated his unique, slice-of-life/auto-bio comics stories, from R. Crumb to Dean Haspiel. Most of Pekar’s work appeared in his self-published American Splendor comic book. His collected stories also opened doors for graphic novels by major publishers.
His comics grew on me over the years, as I got to know his personality, and as I came to appreciate his approach and dedication to the art form.
Harvey was supportive of other artists, and visited me at the opening of my exhibition back in 2008, and graciously agreed to appear in a documentary that was made about BONE and self-publishing the following year. We Ohio boys stick together.
He was one of a kind.
Harvey at the opening of the BONE exhibit at the Wexner in Columbus
A drawing I made as part of a surprise for Harvey’s 70th birthday last year