American comics genius Harvey Pekar has passed away at the age of 70. I think Pekar was the greatest writer of comics because he treated the form as literature – for real – not like most of the dimwits writing ‘graphic novels.’ Pekar was serious and nervous and funny and angry, with very little separation between. His observations of everyday life run a full range from fixing a flat tire in a snow storm to surviving cancer to trying to find a file folder at work. He looked at his life and wrote it all down for his comic books.
His comic books appeared in a series called American Splendor.
Smith Magazine has a new Harvey Pekar comic strip about how corporatism influences everything people do and think.
Can one work honestly inside a corporate system? Can you write a book criticizing corporations and have it published by a corporation?
Are comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert completely owned by corporations? My own answer is yes. That’s why they are so boring.
Smith Magazine has another Harvey Pekar comic with drawings by Sean Pryor. It’s called Searchin’. I buy every book Pekar publishes. His collected editions keep me fascinated for weeks because I try to read them slowly to make them last.
Pekar makes comic books out of the ordinary. Of course they are much more interesting than anything Marvel has published in forty years. He’s actually one of America’s finest short story writers. No, wait, he is America’s finest short story writer.
I don’t think there is a more significant American comic book writer than Harvey Pekar. Now he is making comics on the web. Smith Magazine offers the first installment of what promises to be a series. It’s called The Pekar Project.
The first story is Pekar & Crumb: Talkin’ ’bout Art. It’s drawn by Tara Seibel.
This might be the best thing on the web today.