He was gruffly cordial to us, & gave a great interview. I did a second version of the story as a comic in imitation of Harvey’s style, illustrated by Gary Hardman, which ran in a short-lived magazine called Lip Mechanics. Pekar later sent me a nice postcard complimenting me on both stories.
Even before I met him, though, Pekar’s work was an inspiration to me—the presentational, or as he called it, “didactic” straightforwardness of his narrative style has a wonderful, unpretentious simplicity, but is also capable of surprising subtlety, complexity & variety, & it leaves you feeling like you know him. He brought out the beauty & mystery in everyday life; his comic’s title seems ironic at first, but Pekar really did find splendors on the streets of Cleveland’s east side.
As Stan noted when we talked about our visit this afternoon, it was great to read the reflections of a Rust Belt working man who was also a largely self-educated intellectual & who was able to share his outlook on life in his own way, even after he was somewhat accepted by the mainstream. His work rewards repeated readings, too—tonight I pulled down the five volumes of Pekar from my shelf, & noticed that they’re pretty well-thumbed. I’m proud to say that my 1987 edition of More American Splendor was given to me by Harvey himself.