Harvey Pekar, R.I.P.

He was a great and original jazz critic, an entertaining movie inspiration and "star," the smartest and sharpest of David Letterman's 1980s gang of real-world curiosities, and the prime original creative force and inspiration for one of the most important (though its dominance is sometimes overstated) trends in modern literary comics, the quotidian autobiography.

He was Harvey Pekar, and he died very early this morning at his Cleveland home.

Pekar was one of the few writers of whom I can say I can and do read everything he writes with great pleasure, whether it's about the music of Sonny Stitt, the writings of I.J. Singer, or his trip to the market to buy bread.

I reviewed Pekar's graphic biography of libertarian troublemaker Michael Malice at Reason Online.

See him jousing with Letterman in the good old days, in their final battle:

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  • And||

    So the two ways to get out of Cleveland are to die or get signed by Miami

  • Betty White||

    I'm hot in Cleveland. And senile. Like whoever had the bright idea of calling a show Hot in Cleveland.

  • highnumber||

    Condolences to his wife and daughter.

  • ||

    Too bad, I really enjoyed much of his earlier output (like the stuff on collecting records and dealing with other oddballs) and when I watched Letterman, in my teens, he was always a welcome presence. The recent work didn't impress me so much (arguments with your daughter? yawn) but it was nice to see Pekar getting more publicity and (I hope) more money.

  • Jewish Review of Books||

    The JRB mourns the passing of Harvey Pekar. Our just released second issue contains one of his characteristically witty musings on Jewish identity. He stopped by the office just the other day to pick up his author's copy. We'll miss him. Link: http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.....ut-shabbes

  • Warty||

    I used to see him sometimes when I still lived in Cleveland Heights. He looked like a homeless man.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    American Splendor was the film? That was an interesting movie. I remember watching Pekar on Letterman back when I was in high school. He might have been the most uncomfortable interview of all Dave's many uncomfortable interviews.


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