American Splendor

In Memory of Harvey Pekar

by Joe Weil
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Here was a guy with the same ability, in American vernacular prose, to make a drab world come alive–the same ability to make magic from the ordinary that Japanese poets showed in haiku. Harvey gave the urban rust belt, and its daily triumphs and frustrations, a reality, a comic, deadpan glamor. No fiction writers or poets of that time approached. Long before Seinfeld, Harvey Pekar was doing his own small version of Flaubert’s book about nothing.