Monday, July 12, 2010

A Fond Farewell to Harvey Pekar

I hate to update the blog with sad news, and I'm sure many readers will have already heard by now, but Harvey Pekar, author of American Splendor, has passed away at age 70. The cause of death has yet to be determined. Since Harvey's body of work revolved so heavily around his own experiences, there is something particularly tragic about his death. How will Harvey's story end? We'll never again see where life takes him, or have the pleasure of reading stories with his unique, yet relate able perspective. For many fans, reading American Splendor was as close as they'll get to reading about themselves. His experiences and feelings were shared by many, regardless of age, background, or comic book preference. We've all hated our jobs, felt frustrated by the mind-boggling actions of strangers, or just felt like our purpose in life wasn't clear. Harvey felt all of those things, and even though his incites may have been a simple matter of expressing what he felt, the honesty of his observations remains unique among comics, or any other art form for that matter. His influence has been significant, and I doubt that other fantastic autobiographical works like Fun Home or Blankets would have been created if it weren't for Harvey having the courage to put himself out there in the first place. People will continue to share their own stories in comics, but none will be Harvey's. And for that, even if it's just for a day, we can all feel a little bit lost.

For a few words from someone who knew Harvey personally, here is a link to Alison Blechdel's blog, author of Fun Home.

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