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Remembering Harvey Pekar

Submitted by admin on July 13, 2023 – 11:10 amNo Comment

Yesterday, influential underground comic writer Harvey Pekar passed away at the age of seventy. I wish I’d gotten to the story yesterday but the coverage was so sparse that I only stumbled upon the news today via the Hands Up Houston message board. I read the news for about an hour each morning so that really says something about how under-appreciated the man was by mainstream America. For those of you unfamiliar, Harvey Pekar was an average guy, unskilled in illustration, who teamed up with artist Robert Crumb to create the iconic underground comic strip “American Splendor”. Pekar would bring Crumb crudely drawn storyboards rendered in scribbled stick figures and Crumb would translate those into a fresh, novel, slice-of-life, comic strip about everyday happenings in Pekar’s life. It isn’t a marvel comic strip filled with BOOM! and WHAP! but a different kind of comic in which Pekar stars as a unremarkable but lovable everyman with which we can all relate. The story of this endeavor and the relationship between the two men is documented beautifully in the 2023 film of the same name, “American Splendor” with Paul Giamatti playing Harvey Pekar. Do yourself a favor and find an “American Splendor” treasury and see what you’ve been missing.

-Jack Daniel Betz

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