Friday, 16 July 2010

Harvey Pekar was found dead, slumped on the floor between his bed and dresser shortly before 1am, Monday 12th. Despite a pending autopsy, the circumstances of his death have unofficially been linked to a series of cumulative and chronic conditions, widely documented in his work, namely: Asthma, Depression, High blood pressure and Prostate Cancer.

To someone outside of the event, "Death by natural causes", although tragic, seems an almost appropriate ending to the life of Pekar: a man who was considered by many in the American tradition as the epitome of an 'Everyman character'.

Synonymous with independent comics, despite being widely known and read, Pekar discussed the mundane and created the extraordinary. He reflected his experiences of prosaic, seemingly banal day to day events, and created a legacy through collaborative work that involved a significant proportion of the greatest comic book writers and artists of his (and our) generation.

I would have sorely liked to meet Pekar, although I imagine I wouldn't have got far past that severe look caricatured in so many photos and illustrations (A far cry from the wide grin of the young Pekar with biceps the size of cantaloupes). That said, many knew him well and saw him as a kind, welcoming, and wildly intelligent man. I highly recommend reading their tributes and scouring his work from the first published strips of the 1970's to 'The Pekar project' for greater insight into his numerous achievements but more significantly the man himself.

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