We Miss You Harvey Pekar (RIP)

July 12th, 2011 by Jeff Newelt

Kinda crazy that it’s been a year since Harvey Pekar passed — July 12, 2010. We miss him, but there he is, still so very alive in comics, his autobiographical oeuvre an unassuming monument to himself. Peep any volume of American Splendor or the strips in our archive, and he’s still eatin’ donuts, drinkin’ orange soda, pokin’ fun at Toby, and complainin’ how he was never able to make a livin’ from just makin’ comics. Today we show love for our man with two new tributes: a live reading / motion comic video of JUNGLE MUSIC, a Pekar Project strip drawn by Sean Pryor, performed by myself, and shot/edited by Shahriar Shadab.



and a photocomix profile by Seth Kushner, the 25th episode of his pioneering CulturePOP series. The 25-page piece features photos of and an interview with Harvey, plus photos of, quotes from, and illustrations by his collaborators: Josh Neufeld (artist, American Splendor), Dean Haspiel (artist, The Quitter), Ted Hope (American Splendor film producer), Joseph Remnant (artist, Harvey Pekar’s CLEVELAND) Shari Springer-Berman & Robert Pulcini (directors, American Splendor film) and Michael Taylor (script supervisor). Plus, Joyce Brabner, Harvey’s widow and collaborator talks about her plan to have a monument erected to Harvey in Cleveland, as shown in the excerpt below:

So many fond memories, but we’re especially proud and blessed to have celebrated Harvey’s 70th birthday with him in person. As a surprise present, over 100 artists drew Harvey Heads for our online gallery, and we threw a helluva party for him in Cleveland to open the Pekar Project exhibition.

Happily there are plenty of primo Pekar comics still to come. There’s the just-released Huntington, West Virginia “On The Fly,” a wonderful collection of biographical novellas illustrated by Summer McClinton; and upcoming: YIDDISHKEIT edited by Pekar and Paul Buhle; Not The Israel My Parents Promised Me illustrated by virtuoso vunderkind JT Waldman; Harvey Pekar’s CLEVELAND, illustrated by our own Joseph Remnant, and here on the Pekar Project, the last two parts of Pekar & Rushkoff: How Life Got Incorporated (read Part 1, Part 2) illustrated by Sean Pryor. Plus, Joyce Brabner is working on some TBA graphic novel projects of her own.

If you are going to San Diego Comic-Con, join Joyce Brabner, Joseph Remnant, Danielle Batone, Charlie Kochman and myself for the “REMEMBERING HARVEY PEKAR” panel, Saturday July 23, 1pm, room7AB. We encourage your to bring your memories of Harvey and share them.

13 Responses

  1. Rick Parker

    Nice tribute. Harvey himself may be gone– but his work lives on!

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    [...] Newelt at Smithmag made this nice post about Harvey Pekar today, on the anniversary of his death. There’s a very nicely done video of [...]

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