Harvey Pekar Dead at 70

July 12, 2010

One of the real annoyances with the fustercluck that is DC Comics of the last decade-plus is the scope of their wrong ideas.  It wasn’t just a particular writer here or a specific storyline there.  It was an all-encompassing atmosphere of WRONG, a virtual monsoon where ALL decisions and attitudes were doomed to fail because they were built on core principles that were faulty.

A perfect example was Will Pfeifer’s passive-aggressive attempt to paint any alternative to the East End goggle-whore excrement as boring.  It went something like “Panel 1: Selina pours coffee.  Panel 2: close up on the handle.”

Telling example, as that cup of coffee is certainly an emblem of real life, an aspect of storytelling which eludes the year long crossover crowd.  “Realism” is not making everyone a psycho, a pedophile, a prostitute, or a serial killer. Realism is drawing those links between the fictional creation on the page and the living people reading it.  Bruce Wayne shaves in the morning.  It doesn’t negate the fantastic larger-than-life stuff, it grounds it in something we can all relate to.

Harvey Pekar is dead at 70.  He wrote the autobiographical comic American Splendor, but more than that, he saw potential in the comic medium to tell stories beyond pulp horror and fantasy.

Pekar felt that the medium could be put to wider use, and he played with panels as a storytelling vehicle for more than a quarter of a century.

Without men like him, we’d be nowhere.  Without those who stretch and explore, who fiddle with the dials and see what something can actually DO beyond whatever we’ve been doing, without those guys, we’d be absolutely nowhere.  We’d still be in the trees.

Chris Dee

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