From Off The Streets of Cleveland: Harvey Pekar

The first every man of the comic industry, Harvey Pekar grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and ultimately died in Cleveland all the while becoming the “poet laureate of Cleveland,” of the city in which he loved. While working as a file clerk at the Cleveland V.A. hospital, Harvey began working on what was to become “American Splendor”, the everyday life of the mundane and the detailed. He believed in the philosophy of “You can use pictures and words to create anything you want”. He met the “Grandfather of Underground Comics” R. Crumb in the late 1960’s and Crumb began illustrating Pekar’s works.

From Off The Streets of Cleveland: Harvey Pekar and Illustrations

“We should have all kind of books in comic form” Pekar said before his death at the age of seventy on July 12, 2010. Pekar described “American Splendor” as “an autobiography written as it’s happening.” Pekar produced seventeen issues of American Splendor from 1976 to 1993. All but the last two were self published and self distributed.


From Off The Streets of Cleveland: Harvey Pekar and American Splendor


Pekar wrote about the mundane such as being behind a lady in a grocery store or buying day old bread at the local bakery. He used a lot of his friends in his comics. They were all excited to see if they were in the current issues when he brought them to work.

Pekar was the first person to write comic book memoirs. Before the internet allowed everyone to write about their personal experiences, Harvey was doing it in the 1970’s.





List of the issues of American Splendor:



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