R.I.P. Harvey Pekar

Warren Ellis tweeted the shocking news: Coroner: Harvey Pekar dies

In a medium dominated by — if not abandoned to — the notion of people running around in costumes battling other people/mutants in costumes, along came Harvey Pekar to say his comic book would be about ordinary life.

He called it American Splendor. For its ironic value.

He did things in comics that hadn’t been done before. Who else had ever done a one-page strip that wound up pointing out the smell of fresh bread? He wrote about the everyday things that everyday people noticed — when they would stop to take the time to do so.

It was easy to ignore what Pekar was doing, because it seemed so un-special. But that was the entire point. He was celebrating real life. He was saying, “Wait a minute. You don’t need to be entertained by someone else’s imagination. Your own life provides enough, if you stop to look for it.”

Seinfeld made hundreds of millions of dollars off that idea.

But Harvey Pekar was there first. And he did it better.

Rest in peace, Harvey. And thank you for the work you did.

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