Pekar, 70, was found dead shortly before 1 a.m. today by his wife, Joyce Brabner, in their Cleveland Heights home, said Powell Caesar, spokesman for Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller.
I can’t help but think Harvey would be amused that his career’s end was presided over by a guy named Frank Miller.
I got to know Harvey a little bit about five years ago while writing about comics for various publications. Harvey loved to talk on the phone, as he often depicted himself doing in his work. He never failed to remind me that he was always available to talk – any time, he would emphasize.
Harvey always depicted himself as a guy who was bothered by stuff, who got bound up in grouchiness by obsessing over this or that. In his unsparing self-observation he laid bare the mechanics by which he was capable of making himself miserable. Despite this, it seemed to me that by the time I spoke with him he had got beyond this.
What struck me about Harvey on the phone was his profound generosity of spirit. I don’t think he saw it, and he probably would have been made uncomfortable by the observation. I do think the film American Spendor, starring both Harvey and the perfectly-cast Paul Giamatti, managed to capture that side of Harvey’s personality at the same time as remaining true to the source material. I love the film; Harvey liked it too.
Goodbye, Harvey. I’m so glad I got to spend some time with you, over those long circuits. I did know you were always there, ready to talk. Any time. I’m sorry I didn’t take you up on it as much as I should have.