Harvey Pekar would have turned 71 today.
I imagine that in between a phone interview or two, he would’ve found time to write a bit, listen to some old music, write some more, tape up his favorite winter coat, misplace his keys, complain about something frivolous, write some more, flash a grin at some point and end a sentence with “man,” and perhaps spend a few reflective moments looking out the window at the gray October sky of Cleveland Heights.
The esteemed chronicler of quotidian America passed away on July 12 of this year, surely having gained some measure of satisfaction that he contributed something worthwhile in life as he set out to do, and just as surely second-guessing that notion.
In tribute to Pekar, Scholars and Rogues invited cartoonists and artists—among them distinguished veterans, rising stars, and enigmas from dark corners of the underground—to illustrate panels accompanying text about events in his life, in the manner that Pekar produced his classic American Splendor series. Each week from October 2010 to January 2011, individual contributions were highlighted, but with the conclusion of the series they’re all now gathered on this page permanently. (Click on the images to see full posts.)
And bless you, Harvey, wherever you’re fretting… you gained much more than a footnote in history.
Photo credit: Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch
Panel 1: Karl Christian
Panel 2: Derf
Panel 3: Aaron Williams
Panel 4: Mike Sheehan
Panel 5: Mike Keefe
Panel 6: Benjamin Frisch
Panel 7: Karl Christian
Panel 8: Aengus Cargo
Panel 9: Kenny Be
Panel 10: Zina Saunders
Panel 11: James Smith
Panel 12: Bill Alger
Categories: American Culture, Arts/Literature, Features, Media/Entertainment, Scrogues Gallery
I’m really looking forward to this!
I’m w/Lex: Really looking forward to this.
What a way to begin! Karl, you rock.
Derf went all out, and we’re forever in his debt.
Yeah, for sure. Two entries, two grand slams. Great work all the way around.
Beautiful work in B&W, Aaron… thank you so much!
Mike Keefe totally nailed it… lol
Love Ben’s 900 Ft. Harvey.
Karl, that is a moving work (#7). Thanks so very much for your two marvelous contributions.
I like this idea and think Harvey would have as well. I’m still not sure who’s writing the text the artists are illustrating however.
Our man behind the scenes Mike Sheehan is architecting everything, though he is loathe to let anyone give him credit for anything.
It’s Sheehan if you like it. If you don’t, it’s autogenerated by a blog widget.
And, uh, wow… that’s Rick Parker of the Pekar Project. Thanks for the compliment, Rick!
Outstanding, Nick, that was my first pattern-induced seizure. I saw God. (Might’ve been Harvey, actually.)
I was looking forward to Kenny Be’s offering for a LONG time… he’s a legend round these parts, and we were thrilled to have him aboard the tribute. As expected, he delivered, and then some. Thanks Kenny, it’s fantastic…
Yep. Glad to see a local legend chipping in. Thanks, Kenny.
Zina was quite excited to try and capture the spirit of Robert Crumb’s reflection on Pekar, and she did. I’m thrilled that she took the time to join the tribute, as she’s a favorite of mine… you all have probably seen her imaginative and often darkly humorous watercolors on magazine covers and elsewhere.
Thank you James for joining the tribute! Loved your clever piece… you have a new fan.
And Bill Alger closes out our amazing tribute in kickass style! What a fun ride this has been. Thanks everyone, and thank you Harvey.
Thanks for letting me be part of this nifty Pekar Tribute, Mike!
Bill: On behalf of the whole staff, thanks for pitching in such a worthy finale.
No prob, Samuel! 🙂
Awesome. Nice to see the full series.
I remember Harvey Pekar very well. When I was a teenager growing up in Cleveland, we used to go down to Coventry and hang out at Arabica. Harvey was always there. Sometimes with Gary Domm, most times by himself. We always tried to talk to him as he would get all cranky with us and say the funniest things trying to be mean and crotchety. I never bought it. I always felt that there was a nice (relatively) person beneath the surface but he just liked being unhappy in the world. Like being unhappy made him happy. When I was older, in college, I would seek him out and sit and try and talk with him. he was more famous then and sometimes didn’t want to be bothered. But somethimes he was absolutely amazing. I wish I recorded some of those conversations. I will never forget Harvey. he made a heck of an impression on me.