Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anna-Liza & Steve Suehiro-Harvey Pekar Tribute & The Deep Funk

Anna-Liza on her connection to Pekar :

Steve had heard about Harvey’s comics back in college. I was into comics as a kid, but it was mostly DC, Marvel, and Image stuff. I loved the combination of a well-drawn piece and a good story, but I wasn’t satisfied with most of the stories that were out there so I out grew those comics. I still had a passion for the art though, and I even drew the covers of my favorite comics which, at that time, were X-men and The Maxx. I think it was back in 2005 when I first heard about Harvey. We were at our local video/dvd rental place, and Steven picked up a copy of American Splendor. I absolutely loved the movie for its portrayal of a seemingly ordinary person going about his life. I knew then that this movie was a keeper so we bought ourselves a copy and added it to our permanent collection. Steven even bought copies of his graphic novels. I grew to like his writing style. It was just a guy making observations of the world around him, and perhaps those observations were what made him what he was. He was a thinker, a writer, a critic, a promoter, all those other roles that we play as humans, but most importantly he was just a guy who had ideas and he overcame whatever obstacles that came at him to make those ideas into reality. When I heard of his passing, I felt devastated. It felt as if the idea of the “American Dream” died with him. Dreams are what gives us hope. If hope withers away, where would we be? I think that is why I was inspired to create the Harvey Pekar Tribute page. I even drew Harvey’s profile so that I can use it as the FB profile pic. My intention was to provide a place that people can visit to honor the memory of Harvey, encourage others to stick to their dreams and not give up hope, and to enjoy some jazz music along the way.

Steve on his connection to Pekar :

I was first introduced to Harvey Pekar and his American Splendor comics in the late ‘80s by one of my dorm buddies in college who let me check out a few editions of American Splendor in return for allowing him to borrow a couple of Hunter S. Thompson hardcovers I had in my room. Though I had always been a fan of comic books – Batman, Iron Man, and later the adult-oriented pieces from Heavy Metal Magazine- I had never read anything like American Splendor before and I found the stories about “Our Man Herschel” to be amusing. Here were stories of this funny looking guy – rendered by R. Crumb, an artist whose work I had been exposed to before by my uncle who was a bit of a hippie. My friend soon returned the books he had borrowed and I handed back his issues of American Splendor. Admittedly, I soon forgot about the comics that I had read, my mind instead filled with classes, dating and work.

I did flash back a few times to what I had seen in American Splendor, the first occasion when I was working a random part time job at a local department store as a dressing room attendant. It was my job to take, refold and rehang clothing from the dressing rooms and needless to say it was a mind-numbingly repetitive and extremely boring gig. One day, in the middle of what seemed to be an endless shift, I found myself imagining what the customers would look like if they were drawn by R. Crumb and were characters in a comic strip of my life just like Harvey’s in American Splendor. I recall that I thought at the time that however mundane Harvey’s job was in his comics, my job was way too boring and useless to make a good setting for a comic strip.

Not too long after that incident, I was up late one night not really paying much attention to my studies while I had the TV turned to the David Letterman Show with the sound off. One of Letterman’s guests was a amusing but somewhat familiar looking guy who appeared to be taking some heat from Letterman. I turned up the sound and caught a mention of the comic “American Splendor” and suddenly realized that the funny looking guy was Harvey Pekar.

I would not think of Harvey Pekar or his comics until many years later when in 2003 I caught wind of the American Splendor movie which had just been released. I was married by then, and I recall mentioning to my wife, Anna Liza that we should see that film on our “date night” but for one reason or other we never got around to it and soon the movie was out of the theaters. It was not until 2005 when I spotted the American Splendor DVD at my video store that my wife and I would finally get a chance to see this movie. Needless to say, we both immediately fell in love with Harvey Pekar and soon purchased our own DVD of the film for our collection. Soon, we picked up copies of a few American Splendor paperback compilations at the store and added those to our home library.

There was a lot that we liked about Harvey Pekar’s tales of his daily life and as a young and underpaid couple struggling to make ends meet there was a lot in Harvey’s comics with which we could directly relate. We were jazz fans and we enjoyed reading his pieces about jazz. He was a simple guy and we thought of ourselves as simple people too. He was nothing short of a brilliant thinker and his sense of humor and genius in his obversations of daily life was uniquely appealing. Having lost my grandfather to cancer in 2004, I found Harvey’s story about his struggle with cancer to be touching and inspiring.

One night, we saw that Anthony Bordain’s “No Reservations” show was featuring the town of Cleveland, Ohio where Harvey was from. We watched it for the hell of it when suddenly there he was on the screen- Harvey talking with Bordain, meeting up with Toby Radloff in a trippy jacket, showing off his town. We recorded the piece and watched it over and over again.

Flash forward to July 2010: I was at work - now as a funeral director – when I saw a piece on Yahoo news announcing that Harvey Pekar had been found dead in his home in Cleveland. My heart immediately sank and I went outside to call my wife to tell her the bad news. Throughout the rest of the day I felt as if I had lost a relative or a close friend even if I had never actually met Harvey. I realized that his death touched me on a deep and personal level that I had thought my position as a funeral director had made me immune from ever feeling to this degree.

That evening at home, Anna Liza and I were lost in a deep funk of sadness and began searching the internet for further news about Harvey. Having recently opened an account on Facebook, we searched for a memorial page about Harvey and were surprised that we could not locate one. With all the crap that people post on Facebook, we found it bordering on disrespectful that there wasn't a mention of Harvey’s passing. I remember Anna Liza saying “It’s like the idea of the American Dream died along with Harvey” and I could only agree. It was at that moment that Anna Liza decided to memorialize the death of Harvey Pekar with a tribute page where we could share our sadness with other Harvey Pekar fans.

The Harvey Pekar Tribute page on facebook is now in it’s second year and has managed to attract a small but loyal number of fans, some of whom have shared that they discovered Our Man’s work via links to our page that were shared with them. We have met Harvey Pekar fans from all over the world who have posted their thoughts and links to other Pekar related pages. We have also had the distinct honor of corresponding with a number of people who personally knew Harvey Pekar, and among our fans are several talented artists who worked with Harvey when he was alive. Rick Parker, the guy behind “Spiderman” and “Bevis and Butthead” once wrote to me that he believed that “Harvey will not be forgotten in our lifetime…I think his fame will only grow” a statement which I believe wholeheartedly to be true. We will continue to keep the Harvey Pekar Tribute page active in the sincerest hope that we can do what we can to have a small role in keeping Our Man’s memory alive.

One way of keeping him alive is click over here : http://www.facebook.com/pages/Harvey-Pekar-Tribute/144279005587670

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Drew University Comics panel : and a note from a friend


"Dear Tara, OK, seriously, I already had it on the to-do list to read these interviews with you before you sent this message. And then I JUST saw what happened to Harvey today. I'm so sorry to hear the news. He sounds like he was an amazing guy and someone who influenced you greatly for the better...and people like that just don't come along that often in our lives."

The note above comes from a friend from high school. Someone I looked up to because this person was/is incredibly intelligent and had amazing people skills. He ended up becoming a journalist and I wonder if I wasn't influenced by him in some ways. The message he sent me the day Harvey died (along with tons of other heartfelt notes I received) this was very simple but incredibly true. It made me feel a little better when I
didn't think anything could. Every person we pick to be in our lives is significant. From High school friends to adulthood guru's. Pick the people in your life carefully, because it becomes meaningful.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"American Splendead" by Rick Parker

A couple years ago, accomplished cartoonist Rick Parker created this jollification of a spoof when we were all working on the Pekar Project together. I remember Harvey got a kick out of it along with everyone else. Last year seemed too soon to post, but I think it feels ok to dust if off again. I think Harvey would want us all to have fun and think of fond memories. The Pekar Project was a great outlet for him. Jeff Newelt was the editor and it was published on SMITH. I believe its still there, www.smithmag.com/pekarproject although Harvey and I are no longer working on it. Rick Parker, Sean Pryor and Joseph Remnant are the other artists on the project. Everyone on the project came in to Cleveland for Harvey's 70th birthday. We celebrated at a gallery opening loaded with Harvey comics and paintings covering the gallery walls. Thanks to Pennello Gallery down in Little Italy. Coincidently, I had a studio down the street from the gallery. Harvey would come over periodically and nose through second-hand art books and sometimes we'd sit down stairs at the bakery below and eat cream puffs as we watched people walk by. He'd tell me stories about what the neighborhood used to be like back in the day. I guess there was quite a bit of racial tension. He said he witnessed a lot of black people get beat up. Thank goodness it's mellowed out significantly. Its' very much an eclectic mix of case students, young professionals and gangsters now. Those were the days, and not to be stuck in the past, but it was pretty amazing to sit and talk for hours with an innovator who's dials were constantly turning.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Meeting Harvey Pekar" by Rick Brown

I was attending the Ohioanna Book Festival in the spring of 2008, mostly to talk to Pulitzer Prize winning Plain Dealer columnist and author Connie Schultz. I also had the hopes of meeting her husband, recently elected Senator Sherrod Brown. And I did just that. But to my surprise, I later had the good fortune to be introduced to another famous Clevelander, Harvey Pekar.

Naked Sunfish “Onion City” cartoonist Sue Olcott was lucky enough to interview Mr. Pekar that day. She introduced me and we spoke very briefly. The hectic pace of the book festival made it impossible to talk for long. Yet I came away satisfied knowing I would be able to publish an interview in the very near future.

Ms. Olcott later gave me Harvey’s phone number and encouraged me to call him. I’m not one who enjoys talking on the phone. And to be honest I was never a comic book aficionado, even as a boy. I learned of Harvey mostly through the success of American Splendor, a cinematic biographical account of his life. Consequently, I was a bit nervous about speaking with Harvey. But Sue insisted and I finally did contact him.

At first our conversation was somewhat clumsy, in a West Side guy talking to an East Side guy, Clevelander sort of way. Anyone from the area knows what I mean. I wasn’t quite sure what to say, making it difficult for Mr. Pekar to understand what it was I wanted from him. But after I told him I was the editor of an electronic magazine in search of another comic strip, we both loosened up. Harvey immediately began telling me about his current project with a talented young artist named Tara Seibel. He gave me her number and told me to call.

Harvey and Tara contributed the wonderful “Rock City-Terminally Ill" comic to Naked Sunfish for over a year following that. It was a great companion piece to “Onion City” and gave the website a real Northern Ohio flavor. And while Tara and I have never met in person, we have become friends and colleagues.

I suppose I cannot say that Harvey Pekar’s writing directly influenced me, at least not initially and not in a literary way. Harvey’s deflecting my attention from himself to Ms. Seibel struck me. Having grown up outside Cleveland I immediately recognized the loyalty he had for her and their collaboration. Clevelanders tend to be loyal, sometimes to a fault. (Look at their sports teams’ fans) I have since realized that Mr. Pekar’s influence on me, and many others, was his fixation with the mundane.

After becoming more familiar with Harvey’s work, I have come to see many similarities in our outlook on life. I write about everyday occurrences. I even have a series of one act plays called “The Non-Fiction Theater for the Truly Mundane”. And Harvey saw the essence of living in the day to day: a person’s job, a loyalty to community, frustrations, a person’s fight with cancer. And while I am mostly a humorist, I am proud I share Harvey Pekar’s eye for redundancy, the brave struggle of getting up every morning and living that day. His sarcasm and wit were amazing. It got him in trouble. I can relate.

The inspiration I can draw from Harvey is that he saw the wonder in everyday events. He knew the mystery of boring tasks, the commonality of it all, and the sameness as difference, like the beautiful bickering emanating from an old married couple still in love. I believe Mr. Pekar saw all this and yet was never trite in his art, only the genuine thing, and the real deal.

Thanks Harvey.

Rick Brown

Editor and Head Writer – www.nakedsunfish.com

Author – Naked Sunfish – Best Bites

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meeting Robert Crumb

What a sweet man. So compassionate, so knowledgable, so hip. I got to hang out with him for a day in San Francisco. We got to pow-wow over our mutual friend the late great Harvey Pekar. So many laughs a few tears. I couldn't believe that he did not know that Harvey credited him for his career taking off. I said to Robert, didn't you at least see the movie American Splendor? Didn't you see the scene where you and Harvey are sitting at the restaurant eating french fries and he shows you his script and you chuckle to yourself about it while you pull out your rapidograph. Then ask him if you can take the script home to illustrate? He said, "Yeah, but I just thought they made up that scene so they could fit me somewhere in the time line." WHAT????? I couldn't believe my ears. I said, I can't believe this? I guess it doesn't matter how famous the artist got, he still remains
somewhat insecure. I told him that Harvey constantly referenced him as "his big break" in the business. Crumb said, "ahh man, I think I'm gonna cry." I felt like some kind of weird underground comix fairy that was floating back and forth passing verbal notes to underground comix legends. One on earth and one in the afterlife. That's just one tiny little story. I'll tell you one more, and then I gotta change a diaper. I said to him while walking across Valencia street, well, nobody can say that you and Harvey didn't deserve your recognition. You guys were some of the hardest working guys in the business. He said to me. "Nobody deserves anything in life." Whoooa.. I was so blown away by that statement. Harvey used to say something similiar.. "It's a total crock of shit the whole fucking thing." he would say. Crumb said to me, "There's billions of artists who put their billions of hours in, and they never got recognized. " Amen brother, nobody deserves anything... more Crumb stories later...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Robert Crumb

This scene of Haight-Ashbury where Robert and Dana famously sold comix (ZAP) out of a
baby carriage is going to be re-printed in T.A.P. #1.

When he turned eighteen, Crumb left home and moved to Cleveland, where he shared an apartment in Cleveland with Marty Phals. He got a job at American Greeting cards and married his first real girlfriend. Crumb was soon feeling trapped in both his job and his marriage. He began taking LSD "as a sort of substitute for committing suicide." It did not bring Crumb freedom, but it might have contributed to his fame. Crumb had a "fuzzy" acid experience in November of 1965 and the aftereffects left him not only "crazy and helpless for six months," but also obsessively productive. By early 1966 he filled sketchbooks with drawings of what would become his most famous characters - Mr. Natural, Devil Girl, Angelfood McSpade, Eggs Ackley, and even the keep on truckin' guys.
January 1967, with just the clothes on his back and not even leaving a note for wife Dana, Crumb "set out for the new mecca" of San Francisco with a couple of acquaintances. Crumb was drawn to the sense of total freedom that emanated from Haight-Ashbury, and he was fascinated by the hippie subculture, but he never felt comfortable around the flower children. In his long sleeve dress shirts and occasional jacket and hat, he was self conscious about how different he looked and even imagined they suspected him of being a narc, but he was not willing to "embrace that scene." Even though he would sometimes refer to the Haight-Ashbury crowd as "my people," he was painfully aware of being an outsider. Crumb describes himself as a painfully shy weirdo during that period. He seldom spoke around people he had not known for a while. Second wife, Aline, says "the only voice he had was his pen."

"Robert began his book publishing career with a wonderfully romantic full-color illustrated novel entitled the ‘
Yum Yum Book’."

Before much time had passed Robert’s libido was freed to such an extent that he immersed himself further into his sexual fantasies, which had been tremendously influenced (and corrupted) by his early years of oppressive Catholic upbringing. Much of his later comix work clearly could be considered anti-female in the extreme. Yet there is no doubt that he is a gifted artist and immensely productive to this day.”

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jazz Opera "Leave Me Alone" by Dan Plonsey & Harvey Pekar

Poster illustrated by Pekar Project artist Joseph Remnant. He's also illustrating the Cleveland
graphic novel, One of Harvey's last works in book form. Dig his neo-crumbesque style.

Harvey wrote the Libretto for this performance held at Oberlin College January 2009.
I thought the set design, songs, music and lighting were superb in capturing Pekar's
essence. From what I've known of him and coming over to his house, that's all he had was a
sofa in the middle of his living room in front of a fireplace joined with a coffee table loaded with books and papers. He even had a trash can in the middle of the room for all of the fan mail envelopes he needed to throw away. Various bookshelves and built-ins of more books and records with random unframed posters and art dotted on the stark white walls. It felt more like a bohemian bachelor's pad than a living room.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"No Reservations" Written by Harvey Pekar Illustrated by Tara Seibel

This story was published on SMITHmag.net but has been removed for some unknown reason. It's totally bogus, but NO WORRIES! We hope you enjoy it here at The Alternative Project
{T.A.P. Comix}

Rock CityTerminally Ill comic story is also getting published in an underground mini comic
{T.A.P. Comix#1}
. Along with the limited edition Rock CityTerminally Ill Comic mini Harvey and I put together in 2009. A paypal is being set up for future purchase.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lake View Cemetery

(Ironically, where Harvey Pekar will be buried and the first comic I wrote.)
From Thecomicsbeat.com "Word has reached us that while a formal memorial service will be announced at a future date, Harvey Pekar will be buried at Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, in a place of honor next to the grave of Eliot Ness, the famed FBI agent, and another proud son of Cleveland. When Harvey’s future wife, Joyce Brabner, was introduced as a character in the book, she was seen in Lakeview Cemetery.

Crumb's Genesis

Jewish Review of Books
*{Robert Crumb gave this comic a thumbs up}

Manifest Equality "We believe in Full & Equal Rights for all Americans with no exceptions."

Meet the Artist : Harvey Pekar :
Why have you chosen to participate in Manifest Equality?
When I heard about this exhibit from my Pekar Project editor Jeff Newelt, I knew right away I wanted to capture my experience of the moment of March 4th, 1970 as a large scale painting, not a comic. It's called "American Splendor: Kent State Shootings Demonstration" and Tara Seibel did a terrific job capturing my memory.
Describe a bit about your submission to the gallery or the creative process you are putting into it.
In 1970, I was working near Case Western Reserve University when the Kent State shootings happened. My bosses were liberal with me, and I had some break time, so I went out to join in the demonstration at Case Western. I went out and there were mobs of people, and they were marching and chanting "Join us! Join us!" So I joined them. i never forgot that and this painting is a perfect way to remember that moment.
What else do you want to manifest?
I don't know what kind of power I have to influence, but through my writing I'd like to bring the world a little closer to peace and equality.
:: You can read Harvey's newest autobiographical comics on the Pekar Project at SMITH Magazine. You can watch Paul Giamatti play Harvey and Harvey play himself in the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film version of his life and work: American Splendor. ::

Meet the Artist: Tara Seibel :
Why have you chosen to participate in Manifest Equality?
The spirit and art created during the Manifest Hope Campaign was drop-dead gorgeous. I'm thrilled to be a part of this on-going quest to bring hope, new possibilities and change to our country through artistic and collaborative endeavors.
Describe a bit about your submission to the gallery or the creative process you are putting into it?
Harvey Pekar and I are working on a piece entitled "American Splendor: Kent State Shootings Demonstration." It's an original large scale painting based on a memory of Harvey's from May 4th, 1970 -- during the day of the Kent State shootings.
Essentially, I will be painting an American Splendor moment on canvas instead of drawing a comic based on his life, like I do for The Pekar Project webcomics series. I'm not sure if that's even been done before.
For the gallery show we did in Cleveland for Harvey's 70th Birthday, I adapted an illustration of Duke Ellington that ran on The Pekar Project into a painting [see above], and did some paintings of Harvey, but this is our first collaboration on a painting. The subject is emotional with not much dialogue. It's about people coming together. I also have an image in my mind for a solo piece as well, we'll see if time permits.
What else would you like to manifest?
Same-sex married couples can adopt unwanted or orphaned children in need of families.. hello?
I would like to see more self-sufficiency through urban homesteading; for example, composting, using rain water, turning your front lawn into a vegetable garden etc.
It would also be nice if we could wipe the stigma off mental illness in this country.

::::Goodbye To My Friend & Mentor::::

I've been working with Harvey Pekar for a little over two years now, almost daily. I have know idea how I could have lucked out like this as an artist, though I've certainly worked hard these past 15 years at my craft.

We started working on a book project. I started doing my own script writing side by side with our man. He told me that I "have a natural ability to write along with being a talented artist." I'm so glad I worked my ass off while he was alive. He kept saying to me."Why are you cranking so hard? You have time. You act like the end of the world is coming or something." And I told him. "Well, Harv, I think time is so valuable. And maybe you don't understand what kind of opportunity this is working with you." He and I collaborated on strips that went into Chicago NewCity, Austin Chronicle, Cleveland Freetimes, Cleveland Scene, Funnytimes, Heeb Magazine, SmithMag.net/PekarProject
and our latest strip in the Jewish Review of Books

I never took him for granted, and when he visited my house and family, we doted on him and made him feel comfortable. And I think he loved that! What a ham! He got along great with my husband and children. He read to them and would always come over with a new book in hand. Or we would meet at the Cleveland Heights library (where he was treated like a king, btw) and work.

It was a lot of hard work, but it was so exciting and fun to show him progress. How often do you ever get somebody interested in your work? I soaked up every second of it. It was a rare set-up and we both knew it. He loved being on the ground floor and watching me try and do something different. The last day we worked together (day before he died) at a cafe on Lee Road. We were talkin' and (after we ripped apart LeBron) got into our daily art discussion. We talked about Joan Miro being an innovator in automatic drawing along with Masson. And how they started surrealism and how Miro didn't want to be pinned down to that movement because he wanted to be free to experiment with other styles. Who am I going to dish with about art now?? I'm devastated.

If you read my latest interview in Juxtapoz (click on bottom of article part 1 & 2)
You'd know that I confessed to tearing up during the film American Splendor (before I met him) What an inspiration!!! What an amazing hard-working man. He became my cult-classic professional hero. I had know idea that the wind was going to drift me into the seat next to him at a comix discussion? He symbolized (and was) the working-class D.I.Y. and I share the same work ethic. Talent is something that you have to unearth during your life journey. And you can't do it unless you are also blessed with this embedded drive in your mind and soul. And then you need the physical energy to try and get it out on paper in an organized fashion. He had all of those skills and he wasn't lazy. He would get inspired and then he would bolt at the speed of lightening back home and get it down on paper. HE DIDN"T MESS AROUND when it came to work. And that's why I admired him.

I know he had a great life. He got everything he wanted (except money). And now he's finally a free spirit. No more hip replacement surgeries, no more cancer treatments, no more feeling angst over taxes. no more trips to the body shop or changing cat litter. No more Cleveland winters (I'm a little jealous). I know he's in a gorgeous place with piles of many fruits and vegetables he's marveling over and eating. And of course "Panayiotis 9" is playing in the background. My condolences go out to his beloved wife Joyce Brabner and his daughter Danielle. I hope God is holding him in the palm of his hand. And I would like to end this with my all time favorite quote by him. From the story entitled "Alice Quinn" -- "As decades a' faces ran through my mind. I felt like cryin': Life seemed so sweet an'so sad an' so hard to let go of in the end. But this is Monday. I went t'work , hustled some records. Came home and wrote this. T'night I'll finish 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.' Life goes on. Every day is a new deal. Keep workin; and sump'n'll turn up." Something turned up for him. ––Tara

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Interview with NPR WKSU-Cleveland


Seibel's home is filled with mementoes of her friendship with Harvey Pekar, including a portrait she did for him on his 70th birthday. It was also used in a comic they did together.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Paris Review

(illustration by Tara Seibel)
I was keen to catch a glimpse of what is being called the “last comic” of Harvey Pekar, which is a collaboration with Tara Seibel, a Cleveland cartoonist and graphic designer. Seibel’s story of her final moment with Pekar is comforting in its ordinariness: she dropped him off at the public library, where he had parked his car. —Thessaly La Force

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My latest Harvey Illustrations...

This illustration/caricature came out of sheer impulse. I've been exploring some of the great caricaturists like Al Hirschfeld and David Levine. Lately, I've had the rare and fortunate opportunity to get some drawing tips from R. Crumb!
Illustration Coming out in a book called Comic's Comics.
note: Harvey's grave site is still unmarked. This emotional piece helped me deal with mourning Harvey Pekar's death. I was able to create some sort of memorial to him.

New York Times /Artsbeat "Some Last Bits of Splendor"

Tara Seibel, a Cleveland cartoonist and graphic designer, has a particularly vivid memory of the last time she saw Harvey Pekar.

It was July 11, and she and Mr. Pekar, the writer and “American Splendor” creator, whom she describes as “the godfather of auto-bio comics,” had finished one of their regular afternoon meetings at a neighborhood cafe where they had been working on their latest collaboration. She dropped him off at the public library where he parked his car, then drove herself home. She waited for him to phone her later that night so they could continue their discussion, but Mr. Pekar never called; he was found dead early the next morning by his wife, Joyce Brabner.

Tara Seibel and Harvey PekarTara Seibel A portion of an essay, presented in comics form, created by Harvey Pekar and Tara Seibel for the “Graphic Details” catalog.

Their collaboration, an illustrated essay that Mr. Pekar and Ms. Seibel wrote together and Ms. Seibel drew, will appear in the catalog for the exhibition “Graphic Details: Confessional Comics by Jewish Women,” which opens at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco on Oct. 1. (A larger version of the essay panel at right can be found here.)

It may be the last comic Mr. Pekar helped write before he died, but it is just one of several works that will be released in the months to come. Stories that he wrote for the Pekar Project — a Web comic that is illustrated in rotating installments by Ms. Seibel, Joseph Remnant, Rick Parker and Sean Pryor — are still to come, as is a 2011 graphic novel, “Cleveland,” that is being illustrated by Mr. Remnant. The Pekar Project, which is hosted by Smith Magazine, is also continuing to accept submissions for its Harvey Heads gallery, for which various artists have drawn Mr. Pekar to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Though Mr. Pekar is often portrayed, even in his own comics, as an endearingly cantankerous and occasionally neurotic person, Ms. Seibel described him in a telephone interview as being cheerful in his final days.

“He just seemed so happy and so upbeat,” said Ms. Seibel, who worked with Mr. Pekar on comics that appeared in Chicago Newcity, The Cleveland Free Times, The Austin Chronicle and The Jewish Review of Books. “I’m not kidding.”

Tara Seibel and Harvey PekarTara Seibel

Ms. Seibel recalled Mr. Pekar as a fellow workaholic who accompanied her to used-book sales, became friendly with her husband and read stories to her children. (A larger version of the panel at left, depicting Ms. Seibel’s first meeting with Mr. Pekar, can be found here.)

Before Mr. Pekar’s death, she said, she spoke with him about Cleveland’s loss of another local celebrity, LeBron James, who announced on July 8 that he was signing with the Miami Heat. She said she told him that Mr. Remnant wrote on his Facebook page, “It’s O.K., Cleveland, you still have Harvey Pekar.”

“He just lit up,” Ms. Seibel said. “He was so excited about that. I think it really put him in a really good mood right away. He loved praise. He just ate it up. And it was no skin off my back to always pass compliments along to him. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons he liked to work with me.”

Recently, Ms. Seibel said of Mr. Pekar: “He was starting to complain about certain things aching here and there. It was getting harder for him to walk, I noticed. He had said that there was cancer that was back. But he didn’t know what type it was yet, he was waiting to find out.”

“But he was optimistic about it,” she said, adding that she was amazed at how well Mr. Pekar took the news, given how much milder difficulties could sometimes upset him.

“He could be sitting there worried, all rumpled up over $500 and has it come in yet,” Ms. Seibel said, “versus having cancer. I was really surprised at how optimistic he was.”

Still, Ms. Seibel said, she did not expect to lose Mr. Pekar so quickly.

“We thought he was going to be around forever,” she said. “I was expecting to have him around for a lot longer.”

“He didn’t seem, like, real old,” Ms. Seibel added. “He was kind of like a hipster.”

Interview : NPR "Around Noon" with Dee Perry

Talking about my collaboration with Harvey Pekar ;

Drew University Panel (Discussing the Pekar Project on SMITHmag.net/pekarproject)

"The first story is impressive: Tara Seibel illustrates Pekar's chat with good friend (and occasional collaborator) Robert Crumb." --USA TODAY

"Splendor in a Garden Cafe" Last Collaboration

Harvey Pekar and I were asked to write a comic-essay for the Graphic Details Show in San Francisco about Confessional Comics by Jewish Women. {I'm catholic but Harvey said it was ok for me to participate because I'm "Jewish by Association"} This was the last comic that Harvey and I worked on the day before he past away. It's close to my heart. Thanks Harv!