As Harvey Pekar’s unofficial, unauthorized archivist, and in honor of the publication of The Quitter, I’ve updated my list of Pekar’s artists! From R. Crumb to Joe Sacco, “Dino” man_size Haspiel to Gary Dumm, Joe Zabel to Frank Stack, Chester Brown to Jim Woodring — even Joyce Brabner to Alan Moore — this is where you can find which artist drew what story.
The list is organized by artist’s last name and features the title of the piece, where it appeared, and the date it was published. It’s fairly comphrehensive: I own pretty much everything Harvey’s ever published, with the exception of American Splendor #1 (but a lot of the material from that issue ended up in the first AS collection), but if you spot an error or have an addition, please let me know.
I haven’t kept a journal or a diary since about 1981 (and that one only lasted about four months), but my obsessive record-keeping sometimes fulfills the same function. I recently came across some “expense accounts” I kept in the 80s when I first went away to college. What they are is item-by-item lists of everything I bought while at school that I was hoping my dad would reimburse me for.
In commemoration of my 20-year high school reunion, I thought I’d post this piece, verbatim from June 1985. I’m sure it’ll be of absolutely no interest to anyone out there other than man_size, eyehawk, comfortslut, thamesrhodes, larrondo, and al_monster… or any other graduates of Music & Art/LaGuardia from that era.
When I was a teenage cartoonist, my greatest ambition was to make it to the big time, as a penciler for Teen Titans or X-Men. The next best thing, though, was to get a fan letter printed in either of those books. Back then, the letter pages allowed fans to share their thoughts, not only about the comics but about their own lives. Much like today’s online forums, the lettercol were vibrant communities that made readers like myself feel more connected to the characters — and creators — we followed each month.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that many industry veterans — folks like Kurt Busiek, Todd McFarlane, Dave Sim; and even alt-comix names like Eric Reynolds and James Kochalka — got their start as “fanboys” too. Over the years, I’ve put together a sampling of real letters to comics’ mailbags from comics professionals during their amateur letterhack days. It’s a long page, and true to my obsessive tendencies, is both chronlogical and alphabetical. Look for your favorite (or most hated) creator, and click on their name to find the comment in question. The letters make for amusing/informative reading, especially given the work many of these later-to-be pro’s ended up doing themselves.
The letters are mostly culled from my own collection, as well as a few contributions from outside sources. So if you’ve got a letter I don’t have, feel free to email it to me and I’ll add it to the collection.
P.S. As I got older, I lost interest in crafting superhero tales, but I did have the satisfaction of getting a couple of letters printed, in “Titans Tower” — not that I had anything particularly insightful to say…
In honor of the upcoming baseball season, I thought it was time to dust this one off.
Seems when I was 13 or so, I felt compelled to draw the home & away uniforms of every MLB team, as well as alternate jerseys (an obscure practice in those days). I was obsessed with baseball, especially with the Giants — this was back when I lived in San Fran — and their distinctive orange & black. It was incredibly satisfying to get out the markers and fill the pages with all those colorful combinations of logos, stripes, and numerals.
My high school, Music & Art, in New York City (no, not the ” Fame school”), was well-known for the imaginative Halloween costumes of its students. After all, this was a school full of artists and creative people! I found out about M&A’s Halloween spectacular soon after I started there in 9th grade and as the holiday got closer and closer, the pressure started to mount.
I don’t know how I got the idea, but I finally decided my costume would be a school late pass. Yes, one of those little slips of paper you’d get from the principal’s office and give to your teacher when you were late for class. It had a bunch of bureaucratic jargon at the top of the slip, a large title, “LATE PASS,” some lines where the reason for your lateness was filled in, and more official language at the bottom.
At home, I took a pass and sized it up to sandwich-board size, making sure to get all the proportions right, and imitating the typeset lettering as well as I could. This was all before computers, so I really had to be inventive, using my calculator and ruler to figure out the correct multiplier to keep the dimensions consistent. Once I had created my masterpiece, I punched a couple of holes in the top, ran some string through them, and wore the pass like a sandwich board. I was a huge hit at school! It was definitely a one-of-a-kind costume and the other kids (and teachers) were bemused at my idea — and execution of it.
After that, I decided I had to be some kind of school-related card for my costume every Halloween. My sophomore year I was a Delaney card, which was a tiny card used to track students’ contact information and attendance during the school year. Pretty weird, and once again quite popular with the other kids.
Junior year I was a subway pass. That was a fun one to do, as each month’s pass was color coded (October 1983 was grey), and there was a cool water-marked code, “R-1,” stamped on each card. Not to mention the logos of the Board of Ed and the MTA. By junior year I had developed a reputation as the kid with the school card costumes, and I remember posing for a lot of pictures that Halloween as we paraded around the street in front of the school.
My senior year we moved to a new building, down at Lincoln Center, and we merged with Performing Arts (yes, the “Fame school”) to become a new entity, LaGuardia High School. But the Halloween tradition continued, and that year I was a school ID, complete with bar code, my student ID number, and the new LaGuardia logo. When we showed up at school each day the card was fed into a card reader, and it had a bunch of cool little holes in it; I duplicated those as well. Altogether, it wasn’t a bad reproduction. And with that final success I ended my high school Halloween career.