The loser lost its winner on Monday. Harvey Pekar died at the age of 70 on Monday. Author of the seminal American Splendor, Pekar depicted our lives through his. Splendor was the catharsis for any one who works 9-5, Monday to Friday with just the hope of covering that weeks bills and come back the next week to do the same.
I remember being introduced to Pekar in the same way many have been in recent years due to the release of the film of the same name starring Paul Giamatti and being instantly enamored. Being a touch of a comic book nerd myself (I have pretty much every Batman comic book from the early 90’s) I was struck how Harvey was able to instantly make a hero out of himself, a man working a dead-end, mundane job in a sleepy Midwest industrial town.
He took what adults relent to and what young men and women struggle against and made it beautiful. He reminded us of the poignancy of everyday life. He was even quoted as saying to the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1994 that his work was about reflecting “a series of day-after-day activities that have more influence on a person than any spectacular or traumatic events. It’s the 99 percent of life that nobody ever writes about.” The loss of Harvey Pekar is truly the loss of a free spirit whose rebellion may have been quieter than Thompson’s but it was certainly as crucial if only for the work it left behind.
Here’s a link to a piece on Pekar’s death published in his hometown Plain Dealer out of Cleveland. Read it here.