People die every day, and honestly, I generally handle it pretty well. When it comes to celebrity deaths, I rarely care all that much. I feel for them the same way I feel for everyone else. And we all have our things that we go through.
Click here to hear NPR's All Things Considered Pekar Obit
But this one ranks right up there with John Peel. What John Peel was to presenting music to the masses, Harvey Pekar was to the literary world. In my eyes at least.
If that doesn't make sense to you, consider this. There was no man in the history of DJing music, that took a more pure approach than John Peel. No one. In that same regard, there was no man in the history of comic books that took a more pure and real approach to writing comic books.
Harvey Pekar & R. Crumb: Jazz And Comics
Harvey Pekar was from Cleveland, OH. Less than 100 miles where I am from. The same city that Bone Thugs and Harmony is from. I spent a lot of time in Cleveland in my high school years. I spent pretty much every penny I made washing dishes on records and going to see concerts. Many a day I'd hop in someones car and roll out to Cleveland to buy records at stores like Record Exchange, Record Revolution and a bunch of others that have long since passed. Then we'd end the day/night at a club like Peabody's Down Under, the Phantasy or the Agora seeing a show.
I wish I would have been hip to American Splendor back in those days, but I honestly didn't start reading him until 1998 when I started working for Dr. Wax. The owner Sam told me that Harvey Pekar had agreed to write jazz reviews for his DrWax.com website, and he turned me on to some of his jazz writings. My co-worker Scott Faingold pointed me in the direction of some of his comics, and I was immediately hooked.
I am not going to write too much about him here, as so many have written so much more, and so much better. So follow the links, watch the videos, and do yourself a favor and go buy a couple collections of his work.