Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Harvey Pekar Memorial Will Be at Library, Not Lake View Cemetery

Posted By on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM


When internationally revered comics writer Harvey Pekar died in July 2010, he left behind plenty of unfinished projects — among them, no will and no burial plot. So friends and admirers promptly threw a benefit show at the Beachland Ballroom to help put the lovable grump to rest. What they didn’t get around to was a proper marker for his grave.

Enter musician, sculptor, and Beachland bartender Justin Coulter, who took on the task of designing a statue of Pekar to mark his resting place at Lake View Cemetery. The design consists of an image of Pekar emerging from an oversized comics panel, complete with a slate back — the better for visitors to personalize it as they please.

But as the concept unfolded, cemetery officials noted that scrawling upon grave markers has been frowned upon at Lake View for a few hundred years or so. And so they nixed the plan.

That’s when Pekar’s widow, Joyce Brabner, approached the Cleveland Heights University Heights Public Library, where Pekar’s carcass had been interred for much of his life.

“We saw him every day for years and years,” says library director Nancy Levin. “And suddenly he’s not here. When he died, the outpouring from everywhere was overwhelming. He was one of us, and we felt he should be honored.”

And so he will: Coulter’s five-foot Pekar memorial will sit just outside the library store, which is already named in his honor. The design will be cast in bronze by sculptor Justin Coulter at Mike Moritz's foundry, just as soon as they find the money for it.

As part of the Harvey hoopla, the library will hold a public celebration of Pekar — the first since his passing — at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 25.

“I hope this becomes a memorial about creativity and inspiring people to make their own stuff: a magnet, a place to read and respect comics as literature,” says Brabner. — Anastasia Pantsios


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 5, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2022 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation