Top Quotes from Harvey Pekar

By | May 24, 2016

I was influenced by autobiographical writers like Henry Miller, and I had actually done some autobiographical prose. But I just thought that comics were like virgin territory. There was so much to be done. It excited me. I couldn’t draw very well. I could write scripts and storyboard style using stick figures and balloons and captions.

Harvey Pekar

You can find heroism everyday, like guys working terrible jobs because they’ve got to support their families. Or as far as humor, the things I see on the job, on the street, are far funnier than anything you’ll ever see on TV.

Harvey Pekar

I write scripts in storyboard fashion using stick figures, and thought balloons and word balloons and captions. Then I’ll write descriptions of what scenes should look like and turn it over to the artist.

Harvey Pekar

I guess I wanted to show people, among other things, that you don’t have to be a hero to get through cancer. You can be a craven coward and get through. You have to stay on your medication and take your treatments, that’s all.

Harvey Pekar

I’ve probably had my day in the sun. I think I’ve influenced a lot of comic book writers.

Harvey Pekar

When I was a kid, back in the ’40s, I was a voracious comic book reader. And at that time, there was a lot of patriotism in the comics. They were called things like ‘All-American Comics’ or ‘Star-Spangled Comics’ or things like that. I decided to do a logo that was a parody of those comics, with ‘American’ as the first word.

Harvey Pekar

Things improved a little bit in the ’80s; there was kind of a revival of alternative comics, but then they went downhill in the ’90s.

Harvey Pekar

I met Robert Crumb in 1962; he lived in Cleveland for a while. I took a look at his stuff. Crumb was doing stuff beyond what other writers and artists were doing. It was a step beyond Mad.

Harvey Pekar

Misery loves company. There’s a lot to that.

Harvey Pekar

I’d been familiar with comics, and I’d collected ’em when I was a kid, but after I got into junior high school, there wasn’t much I was interested in.

Harvey Pekar

I wake up every morning in a cold sweat, regardless of how well things went the day before. And put that I said that in a somewhat but not completely tongue-in-cheek way.

Harvey Pekar

I kept on buying records and listening to them. Finally, I was able to hear the relationship between the jazz improvisers’ solos and the underlying structure that it’s based on, the chord progression. That was pretty easy to do in the swing era, y’know, when jazz was, like, pop music, you know. It had made the charts and everything like that.

Harvey Pekar

American Splendor is just an ongoing journal. It’s an ongoing autobiography. I started it when I was in my early 30s, and I just keep going.

Harvey Pekar

Everybody’s like everybody else, and everybody’s different from everybody else.

Harvey Pekar

I came up with American Splendor. Some people think it’s American Squalor.

Harvey Pekar

I continue to be disappointed that people don’t try and diversify the kind of work they are doing in comics.

Harvey Pekar

I decided I was going to tell these stories. I went around and met Crumb. He was the cartoonist. I started realizing comics weren’t just kid stuff.

Harvey Pekar

I don’t write about certain arguments I have with my wife. I’d get my head torn off if wrote about certain things.

Harvey Pekar

I really don’t have a lot in common with the people who attend the Comic Con. It’s like assuming that all people who write prose are the same.

Harvey Pekar

I think comics have far more potential than a lot of people realize.

Harvey Pekar

I think the people who would be the least interested in my work would be people who read lots of comic books.

Harvey Pekar

I think you can do anything with comics that you could do in just about any art form.

Harvey Pekar

I thought I had a great opportunity when I started doing my comic book in 1972. I thought there was so much territory to work in.

Harvey Pekar

I try and write the way things happen. I don’t try and fulfill people’s wishes.

Harvey Pekar

I’m a guy that likes to sit in one place.

Harvey Pekar

I’m doing research for a large comic book on the Beat Generation guys – Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac and those guys.

Harvey Pekar

It didn’t take long to establish myself, as far as people thinking my work was good. They liked it from the start.

Harvey Pekar

It makes you feel good to know that there’s other people afflicted like you.

Harvey Pekar

It seemed to me you could do anything in comics. So I started doing my thing, which is mainly influenced by novelists, stand-up comedians, that sort of thing.

Harvey Pekar

It’s extremely seldom that anybody wants me to change what I’ve written about them. Generally I portray them in a good light, if they’re friends.

Harvey Pekar

Letterman… he got his problems. We don’t get along too well.

Harvey Pekar

My work looks like a comic book in form, but it’s not a typical comic book in content. I write autobiographical stuff.

Harvey Pekar

People who are readers of fiction aren’t particularly interested in comic books.

Harvey Pekar

People writing about me have said that I’ve influenced a lot of people, and there are some artists who have credited me with influencing them.

Harvey Pekar

Plays have been made of my comics.

Harvey Pekar

The film’s success so far involves winning a couple of prizes at Cannes and Sundance, and getting some very nice reviews in newspapers and magazines. That hasn’t had a big impact on my life yet.

Harvey Pekar

There hasn’t been enough change in comics to suit me. I don’t know why exactly.

Harvey Pekar

I’m always shook up and nervous and I’ve got the hospital record to prove it.

Harvey Pekar

As a matter of fact, I deliberately look for the mundane, because I feel these stories are ignored. The most influential things that happen to virtually all of us are the things that happen on a daily basis. Not the traumas.

Harvey Pekar

I think you can find all the elements that you can find in great literature in mundane experiences.

Harvey Pekar

I like to go back over history and check out what people have written and whether I agree with it or not.

Harvey Pekar

Some of the most valuable stuff I do has to do with my dissenting from the general opinion about people in movements.

Harvey Pekar

I don’t mind if I show myself being cheap or unreasonable sometimes.

Harvey Pekar

I’m trying to get every man involved in art, into experimental music, or painting, or novel-writing.

Harvey Pekar

Cleveland has a very bad reputation, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s left over from when there were very wealthy people – the Art Museum and a world class symphony that’s still world class.

Harvey Pekar

I always wanted praise, and I always wanted attention; I won’t lie to you. I was a jazz critic, and that wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted people to write about me, not me about them. So I thought, ‘What could I do? I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t act or anything like that. OK, I can write.’

Harvey Pekar

The way I write is, I listen to things in my head, and then I copy them down. I memorize conversations and things like that; I seem to be able to do that pretty well. I suppose in that respect there’s some improvisation, although I work over the stuff after I’ve got it down on paper.

Harvey Pekar

I’m kind of concerned about ‘Ego & Hubris’ because I’m thinking that people will read it and maybe even be entertained by it, but at the end of it, you know, they’ll wonder, ‘Why did this guy write this? What was the point of it?’

Harvey Pekar

I have to be a freelance writer for the rest of my life, unless I get some kind of real lucky break. But other than that, I’ll always have to work. I always worry about whether my stuff is going to get over. Will they like this, will they like that?

Harvey Pekar

I was 16 years old, and I was just flailing around, looking for an interest. I heard, you know, these jazz records. They were modern records, at the time in the ’50s, and I realized that I didn’t fully get what was going on. But I liked a lot of what I heard.

Harvey Pekar

It’s real easy for me to write a lot of stories. I just go and I live through something, and I go home and write about it. It’s that quick.

Harvey Pekar

I’d like to see the comics’ style expanded. I’d like to see artists synthesize traditional comics arts style with fine-arts styles or whatever. I like to see innovation. I don’t like it when an art form becomes stagnant.

Harvey Pekar

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