Harvey Pekar – RIP

I had no idea about this until taking a walk with my g/f and kid this afternoon, we were turning a corner when I glanced at a newspaper box and saw a big picture of Harvey Pekar plastered across the front of the paper, above it two years boxing in a dash. I don’t know why it came as such a shock or why it even struck me as hard as it did but I forgot for a moment where I was and who I was with and uttered a loud “oh shit!”

It’s not as if I’ve ever met the man. I’ve read a few of this things, saw the stunningly good movie based on his graphic novel, American Splendor, and have seen/read a handful of interviews and that’s really the extent of my knowledge of him. Maybe it’s living in Cleveland, some weird local thing where he just feels like a neighbor because he’s famous and lives somewhere in the vicinity of the same city I live in, hell, who knows. Whatever I was feeling probably wasn’t exactly rational. But there was something about Harvey Pekar that seemed, not so much a force of nature but more like a rock. He was nature itself and seeing him pass was like seeing a rock pulverized. How could anything take down a rock?

I liked his writing. From what I’ve seen and heard of and from him, I liked him, too. While I continue to get caught up on his older stuff, I regret the loss we have of not having future works by Pekar. I haven’t seen anyone quite like him, nor do I expect to. We have lost an original.

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