A "Splendor"ous Memorium

"Me, Harvey, and Everyone We Know" - Tablet Magazine

Far more appropriate than any pure-text encomium (including my own on this blog) of the man who changed autobiographical comics is an actual autobiographical comic.

Vanessa Davis has crafted a personal goodbye to underground comic-book legend Harvey Pekar that gives us a unique and wonderful thing: the opportunity to see the tiniest bit of Pekar's working process with an artist from her point of view. She writes first about her frustrations in college with "the fine art world" and "artsy auto-bio comics" that would lead her to appreciate the work of down-to-earth creative people like Harvey and then her single collaborative encounter with him. Sometime recently Vanessa Davis was contacted to illustrate a Pekar story herself. Considering the timing, it's possible Davis will be the last artist to illustrate a Harvey Pekar story.

"he wanted me to get the joke and get that he was the butt of it."
Sounds like Honest Harvey.

Pekar passed just four days before this comic was posted. Hardly enough time to truly sit down and draft what was probably an unscheduled two-page comics piece. Davis' art is a bit crude, but using a few choice cribbed panel images and dialogue from stories Harvey wrote himself adds immensely here; and seeing a few of the different styles of the various artists who've penciled Harvey's stories on the page and leaving them in the original black and white is a nice effect.

Like this panel, originally drawn by R. Crumb for "The Harvey Pekar Name Story" in "American Splendor" #2.

Or this one, probably originally drawn by Gary Dumm.

Undeniably, we've got Davis' style and not Crumb's or Dumm's or Zabel's or anyone else's on display here, but the slight differences in shading and line-quality shine through if you've read enough "American Splendor".

Most of all, I love the simple and evocative ending of this short piece. It's two pages long. It's not going to take you long.

~ @JonGorga

(Psst- follow the link at the top of the post to read the comic!)

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