THE PEKAR PROJECT
Harvey Pekar’s First Ongoing Webcomics Series
Harvey Pekar’s been mining the mundane for magic for more than 30 years in his autobiographical American Splendor comics. Now he has teamed with SMITH and some remarkable artists to create his first ongoing webcomics series—and some of his jazziest work to date. The new stories will appear every other week, with interviews, creator spotlights, and behind-the-scenes goodies, as well as essays and art from Pekar collaborators and inhabitants of the extended Pekarverse.
How does the notion to make webcomics come to a avowed technophobe like Pekar who doesn’t even use an answering machine let alone a computer? He first dipped a toe into webcomic waters by contributing a story to SMITH’s Next-Door Neighbor anthology of true-life stories, edited by Dean Haspiel, a frequent American Splendor artist who illustrated Pekar’s graphic novel THE QUITTER. With Haspiel also being founder of webcomics collective ACT-I-VATE, and another Pekar artist, Josh Neufeld, having debuted his A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge on SMITH, Pekar was intrigued and said to Haspiel “hmmm maybe I should do one of these webcomic things?” Haspiel then passed Pekar on to Jeff Newelt, comics editor of SMITH and here we are.
For The Pekar Project, Pekar formed a band including editor Newelt and artists Joseph Remnant, Rick Parker, and Sean Pryor. Just as Duke Ellington composed pieces with a particular featured soloist in mind, Pekar tailored each true-life tale to these artists’ individual strengths. Guest artists will be called in to draw stories on a one-shot basis.
Joseph Remnant was introduced to Pekar by underground comics legend Jay Lynch, and to SMITH by way of his superb work for Arthur Magazine. He’s our resident classicist, a chip off the ole’ Crumb.
Sean Pryor is a pyrotechnic young artist, who first collaborated with Pekar for Royal Flush magazine, on a boisterous strip that had Pekar reviewing heavy metal CDs.
Rick Parker is a veteran comics master craftsman, with a style at once elegant and mischievous. Parker, a long-time letterer for Marvel Comics, drew the Beavis and Butt-Head Comic Book, draws intro pages for the new Tales From The Crypt comics, and illustrated the graphic novel Tales From The Crypt: The Diary of A Stinky Dead Kid.
With The Pekar Project, SMITH has encouraged Harvey to go out there, to go in there, to be abstract, jazzy, esoteric, silly, erudite, and most off all, to have fun. Call it autobiography as poetry, or as art—or call it anything you like. We call ourselves honored to be working with a legend of personal storytelling.
SMITH is proud to present The Pekar Project.
— Jeff Newelt, Comics Editor