The Austin Chronicle

Harvey Pekar Visits

October 25, 1996, Books

Harvey Pekar is a pain in the ass. This is a compliment: As a noted jazz critic, Pekar actually discusses music when writing. I admire that. When he calls however, I confess I sometimes shirk editorial duty and avoid answering the phone, not because he is difficult but because Pekar always has something to say and I want to put everything else aside and listen.

Pekar has spent a good part of his life sharing his curmudgeonly, neurotic point of view with the world. In American Splendor, famed comix artist Robert Crumb deftly illustrates Pekar's fan obsession with collecting jazz records. A longtime contributor to the Chronicle and a 1987 American Book Award winner, Pekar developed cancer a few years ago, and harrowingly detailed it in Our Cancer Year, written by Pekar and wife Joyce Brabner. Pekar also works as a file clerk at the Veterans Hospital in Cleveland and continues to write jazz criticism. "I'm strong for the veterans!" he declares in his flat Ohio accent.

Harvey Pekar will be in Austin at Book People on Friday October 25 at 6pm to talk about and sign copies of Bob & Harv's Comics: Stories by Harvey Pekar, Art by R. Crumb, the newly released collec-tion of their collaboration. -- Margaret Moser

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