For most of his adult life, Harvey Pekar held a day job filing medical records at Cleveland Veterans Administration Hospital. Perhaps the attention to detail in that endeavor helped him with his more famous vocation, as the creator and writer of American Splendor comic books. When he was sixteen, Pekar began collecting jazz records, saying, “I loved jazz and listened to it closely and analytically.” When he started writing his comics, he had such graphic masters as Robert Crumb, Spain Rodriguez, and Alison Bechdel illustrate his workaday tales of life in Cleveland. In 1995, he teamed with Joe Sacco, an artist known for his comics journalism (Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde), to collaborate on an illustrated reminiscence with the jazz guitarist Bill DeArango, who, like Pekar, was a Cleveland native.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 8, 2018