Harvey Pekar was the bard of Cleveland, the famously-difficult author of comic books who died on July 11. An anonymous friend writes:
He was very much a part of Jewish-American leftist culture. A couple of books are coming out posthumously. One is a comic collection he helped edit with Paul Buhle coming out soon called "Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular and the New Land," about Jewish-American history (per editor Charles Kochman, in comments here). I had heard that another Harvey Pekar book would be a critical look at Zionism and Israel. According to this interview with his publisher, they have decided to "turn it into a debate" because of his "harsh" views, after his death.
The interview is in Eric Herschthal’s piece on Pekar’s death, in the New York Jewish Week.
“I think he relished the opportunity to do some explicitly Jewish work,” Abe Socher told me last week. Socher is the editor of The Jewish Review of Books, a Cleveland-based quarterly that Pekar began contributing to earlier this year, when the magazine debuted.
…Socher mentioned that Pekar talked a lot about Yiddish authors, too. He loved Yakov Glatsein, and hated I.B. Singer. When Pekar came around the magazine’s office two weeks ago to pick up the newest issue with his work, just 10 days before his death, he told Socher he was watching the recent fight over Chaim Grade’s papers particularly closely as well.
But Pekar could be just as stubborn in his opinions as he was [famously] on Letterman’s show, Socher added. Pekar has been quietly working on an illustrated history of Israel with JT Waldman, a young Jewish illustrator. Waldman told me that he still plans to publish it, but since Pekar’s views on Israel were particularly harsh, they turned the book into a sustained debate between Pekar and Waldman, who holds less critical views.
Which is not to say he was un-self-critical. Quite the contrary, Socher suggested. His self-loathing was perhaps his most identifiable trait.