Comic author, jazz critic and all-around Amerian treasure Harvey Pekar passed away earlier today at the age of 70. A Clevelander who did far more to burnish that city’s cultural cache than LeBron James, Pekar will be remember by many as the subject of Paul Giamatti’s characterization in the 2003 film adaptation of the former’s comic book series “American Splendor”, but a smaller number of fans will perhaps remember Harvey’s handful of appearances on the old “Late Night With David Letterman Show”.
I had the pleasure of meeting Harvey at a signing he grudgingly endured at St. Marks Comics in 1988. This was one of those occasions when you meet someone you’ve never encountered before and they’re exactly how you’ve imagined them. Though as Harvey would no doubt argue (correctly), “you don’t even know me, man”.