I send heartfelt condolences to Harvey's wife, daughter, family and friends.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Just read in the New York Times that Harvey Pekar has passed away. I didn't really know Harvey—we met at a convention in the 80's and, as a result, had a brief, spirited correspondence debating the merits of realism versus fantasy in fiction—but his work certainly had an impact on me. It was then-Marvel editor Denny O'Neil who turned me on to American Splendor, a series that helped explode the (imaginary) limits of what a comic book could or couldn't be. Pekar's writing was absolutely naked—brutal and hugely funny—in its honesty. In its wonderfully odd and idiosyncratic way, it was also wise. Harvey brought an outsider's eye to comic book art, as well: the American Splendor strips taught me the value of the static image, how something as simple as a single talking head, repeated panel after panel after panel, could gather in emotional power. I was deep into Moonshadow—and in the first stages of planning Brooklyn Dreams—when I started reading Pekar's stories: a careful look at both those works will reveal the Pekar influence.
Posted by J.M. DeMatteis at 12:44 PM