This week the comic-book world was saddened with the loss of writer Harvey Pekar.  Pekar was a legend in the underground comic world, and was the creator of the autobiographical comic book series American Splendor.

American Splendor was based on Pekar’s daily life in Cleveland, Ohio where he worked as a file clerk at Veterans Administration hospital. In 2003 American Splendor was made into a critically acclaimed movie Starring Paul Gimatti. Pekar himself also appeared in the film.  In American Splendor: Our Movie Year, Harvey wrote about the effects the film had on his life and career.

In addition to his work on American Splendor, Pekar wrote a number of biographies about everyday people, which was the case in American Splendor: Unsung Hero. Unsung Hero tells the story of Pekar’s co-worker Robert McNeill’s experience in the Vietnam War. When Harvey Pekar wasn’t writing for comics he wrote about his other love, jazz. As a freelance jazz critic, Pekar focused on figures from jazz’s golden age.

Upon finding this out, I felt as if a small piece of me had been taken away. At 16 years old, American Splendor was the first comic book I really got into. Pekar had a way of writing about the people that made others care. Harvey Pekar was an all around talented writer that influenced a generation of comic book writers. Pekar will truly be missed by many in the comic book world.

Advertisements