Harvey Pekar left this world too soon in July of 2010. Sadly he left nothing more than unfinished works and comics leaving for his widow Joyce Brabner to take control of many things for him including how the Cleveland underground comics icon would be remembered.
Recently she started a campaign for a Harvey Pekar tribute using Kickstarter. In an attempt to raise $30k, a unique tribute sculpture will be created of Pekar and installed at the public library in Cleveland Heights. The sculpture will actually be a desk that she and others want people to sit down and draw or write at. The following was taken from the Kickstarted page:
A way to celebrate comics as art and literature at a Cleveland Heights public library. A literary landmark, a desk that’s always filled with paper and pencils for people to sit and write or draw comics at the same place where Harvey Pekar liked to work.
Mounted on the desk, a sculpted bronze comic book “page.” Stepping out from a panel, Harvey– using his semi celebrity to focus on the creative possibilities of the art form he opened up to so many people. On the reverse, gridded into bronze ruled “panels,” a giant slate storyboard that looksvery much the way Harvey always started his own scripts. (He wrote and drew stick figures, just like Paul Giamatti in that movie.) Plenty of chalk and plenty of encouragement from a library that cherishes comics. At different times each year, a librarian can unlock the middle drawer of the desk and pull out copies of books that Harvey read as a kid that inspired him to write,AMERICAN SPLENDOR scripts, memorabilia and anything else that could inspire library patrons to be creative with comics.
The desk and statue will be mounted next to the library’s “Harvey & Friends Used Bookstore”* and facing the library’s ever growing comics shelves. Every so often a Kickstarter campaign runs over. If that happens, once all the bills are paid, the Estate of Harvey Pekar will use the rest of the money to add to the library’s no-white-gloves, read and enjoy(!) collection.
Donate a lot, or a little. All of it is going for a great cause and idea. I myself am aiming to donate $75 so that I may possibly receive one of Pekar’s vinyls. Having admired the man for years, I think it would be so cool to have something that he might have listened to while writing his stories.
This is just the beginning. Once the tribute has been created, Brabner is collaborating with Cleveland’s Jax Prints to create a 5 year scholarship for comic book writers who have not yet been published.
His legacy will live on. Just wish I could have met the guy once in my life. I actually used to live down the street from him years ago but did not know it until after I moved. He’s one of the reasons that I do what I do. He inspired me to be myself and not care about anything or anyone. I will definitely be partaking in this fundraiser.
With 23 days left, so far just over $17k has been raised. Where that is a nice chunk of change, there is still a ways to go. If you consider yourself a Cleveland native or even a comic fan, do your part.