This American Life

"Aging" by Harvey Pekar
Illustrated by Rick Parker
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How many people in the history of mankind have attracted multiple artists over the course of decades to illustrate their ordinary, everyday lives? Um... Harvey Pekar.

The American Splendor story came to an end yesterday with the passing of Harvey Pekar.

Putting artists to work on drawings is always a good thing. Even better was Pekar's encouragement to examine regular, everyday experience; to make the minutiae of the most common life extraordinary. That he coupled his writing with drawings in comic book form was his stroke of genius. Regardless of your aesthetic sensibilities, we are all the richer for Pekar's life.

Read a tribute to Pekar by his collaborators published in yesterday's Washington Post,

Pekar's obit in the NYT Arts section,

Ken Tucker's tribute to Pekar in and another by AP's Jake Coyle.

Visit the Pekar Project

and, if you haven't yet seen it, watch the unusual and brilliant film American Splendor with Paul Giammati as Pekar.

More than any tribute can, the In These Times article by James Hynes about Pekar's appearances on David Letterman's show astutely describes Pekar's place, if not role, in contemporary American culture.

Andrew D. Arnold closed a 2001 Time Magazine article by writing that Pekar was
"Often funny, sometimes poignant, but always truthful in a medium that mostly specializes in fiction.