“He could not let go of it. It was not a lack of adventure. It was not any type of cowardice. This was just the place; he could not separate it from his identity. So he sort of sold me on the city, showed me a lot of things I was looking for and, of course, I was in love with him. So I came out here. I came to Cleveland and there you go.”
Have been reading some of Harvey Pekar’s Another Dollar today. American Splendor is a perfect reason as to why comics are a one of the best ways to tell stories. Moods and humour pass through into the subconscious so well when they don’t have to be written down, and their printed nature means that unlike a film, you can linger on one image for as long as you like before you move to the next. I thoroughly believe that as a writer, Pekar is amongst the American greats like Poe or Fitzgerald.
The panel above is not from Another Dollar, but I thoroughly recommend any of his anthologies. Also, the movie starring Paul Giamatti (The thing that got me into Pekar) is a great film, and a real good look at a man who admirably did everything his own way.
Harvey Pekar was a curmudgeon and an insightful writer. Some of his appearances on Letterman were the mark of a true rebel and a man to be respected in a world where reliance on a positive image is the cornerstone of media perception.
His passing last year was a real loss to the world of comics writing and leaves a gaping hole in comic- culture.
Anthologies and the DVD of the film can be picked up at the usual places. I’d say go amazon, they have a good variety. If you head over to youtube you can catch some of the Letterman stuff.
Joyce Brabner announces plans for Kickstarter project
Joyce Brabner, Harvey Pekar’s wife and collaborator, is planning on using Kickstarter to help fund a statue honoring Pekar’s work and the world of comics and graphic novels. She explains the project in comic form here:
Just had the great privilege of watching Alan Moore’s 2 hour+ video conference with backers of the Harvey Pekar Project. He was extremely charming, in his own way, and watching him pour a cup of tea, show off his polka dot shoes (made not from Dalmatians, but 5 very tiny cows), and speak at length about his prolific career was alternately inspiring and absurd. I loved every second.
While the entire session was imminently quotable, I share with you a few lines that brought a smile to my face:
"In my idea of the Universe, nothing is lost, everything is forever."
"I like to appear in drag, so as not to disrupt the narrative."
"It’s probably the best to suck up to minor celebrities, because they might be god."
"The most sophisticated form of writing is a page of unillustrated text."
"It means a lot to me to be able to do this for Harvey and to do this for Joyce."
"No, I don’t hate this at all."
Thanks to Alan, Joyce, Jeff, and so many others for making this possible.
Joyce Brabner has begun the Kickstarter campaign for a memorial statue for Harvey Pekar. The plan is for an oversized desk with drawers filled with pencils and paper in the spot in the local library where Harvey liked to sit and create his own comics. Above will be a statue of Harvey stepping out from one of his comic script pages (Harvey drew his scripts using boxes and stick figures).