Harvey Pekar, 'American Splendor' Creator and Cleveland Fan, Dies
I guess it's fitting that Harvey Pekar, the Cleveland writer and artist best known for American Splendor, would die just days after LeBron James broke the hearts of Cleveland fans. There's no one who better embodied the misery of Cleveland fandom -- or, for that matter, just the misery of life -- than Pekar.
If you're not familiar with his work, the above clip in which he loses another verbally sparring session with David Letterman is classic Pekar. I particularly liked this exchange:
Letterman: How are things in Cleveland? I always like to hear how things are from the city on the banks of Lake Erie.
Pekar: That's a stupid question. You know it's a stupid question. You're trying to bait me.
Letterman: I'm not trying to bait you. Tell me about Cleveland. How are things? How's the summer? How's the ball team?
Pekar: You want to talk about baseball? Ask me straightforward -- yeah, it looks like a bad year.
Letterman: Do you go to a lot of games?
Pekar: I haven't gone this year. I'll go see them and I'll be disappointed.
Letterman: There's always next year. Wait till next year.
Pekar: Yeah, Dave. Wait 'till next year.
Pekar, who died Monday at the age of 70, was the most sarcastic, downbeat, miserable old cuss you'd ever come across -- it went without saying that using "American Splendor" as the title of his autobiographical work was intended as sarcasm. Pekar wasn't clinically depressed, he was just chronically unhappy. That made him the perfect Cleveland fan.