Harvey Pekar Comic Fest is BACK in Coventry!

Coventry Village, Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry, Heights Libraries, Gamer Haven, Zygote Press, and Lake Erie Ink are pleased to announce that the Pekar Park Comic Book Fest is back for 2022!

The event will take place Saturday, August 20, 12-5 p.m., with a special free screening of the blockbuster Spider-Man: No Way Home at 8:30 p.m. in the PEACE Park. Bring chairs and a blanket, get take-out at your favorite Coventry restaurant, and make an evening of it!

This free festival honors the late graphic novel writer and Cleveland Heights resident Harvey Pekar with a wide array of fun, engaging activities for comics fans of all ages!

Kids of all ages can enjoy face painting, a bounce house, crafts with Heights Libraries, Lake Erie Ink, Zygote Press, and Adam Brumma.

Gamer Haven and The Exchange will be hosting a video gaming tournament for all ages at the Grog Shop.  

All are welcome to take in the Artful Chalk Festival, taking place 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the PEACE Park.


Join GamerHaven & Infiniteque during the Pekar Park Comic Book Fest! We're partnering with B Side Lounge, The Exchange, and Coventry Village to host free play and tournament play of the newly-released Madden NFL 23, MultiVersus, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and more! All play and tournaments are free with signup to become a member of GamerHaven, with winners getting prizes!

Gatewood Home/Share members have supercharged prizes including cash!


Starting at 1 p.m.,
Mac’s Backs will once again present a special series of panels for the more serious comics fans.

1:00-2:00 p.m.: Ron Hill & Political Cartoons

After creating editorial cartoons for the Chagrin Valley Times, Solon Times, Geauga Times Courier and West Life for 22 years, cartoonist Ron Hill needed to change things up. So, in January 2020, Hill brought his web comic character, BB BluesBird, out of retirement to be the “spokesbird” in his cartoon commentary pieces. Little did they know that soon we would all be in the midst of a global pandemic, and suddenly BB was navigating all the angst and uncertainty we all struggled with. Now, half-way through his third year and over 300 cartoon strips, Hill and BB are getting the hang of this “hybird” mash-up of comic strips as political cartoons. Come and learn about the creative process of this on-going experiment in local journalism, ask questions, meet the cartoonist and purchase his latest book, One Bird Two Birds Red Bird Blues Bird, as well as his previous collection: BB BluesBird and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Year.

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Derf: The Creation of Kent State

The pandemic hit just as Kent State by Derf was set to be published. Consequently the presentations have been mostly virtual. This event will be an opportunity to see Derf’s full presentation of the work and the research that went into creating what has quickly become a modern classic of graphic novel journalism. Kent State won the prestigious Eisner Award in 2021 for Best Reality Based Work and an Alex Award from the American Library Association, which honors adult books that have a special appeal to teens. Derf is also the author the Punk Rock & Trailer Parks, Trashed and My Friend Dahmer.

“Derf Backderf’s masterful Kent State does what really good, in-depth journalism should always do–breathe life into cold, hard facts–but in this case, with searing, memorable images, drawings that put us inside the skin of the protagonists. The students and the soldiers are all tragic figures in this telling, and Backderf lets us decide how to judge them. The final, violent scenes are almost Goyaesque in their brutal reality. You don’t simply put this book down and get on with your life after reading the final page–you slowly recover, shaken from the experience.”
— Bill Griffith, author of Zippy the Pinhead, Invisible Ink, and Nobody’s Fool

4:00-5:00 p.m.: Brad Ricca, Courtney Sieh and Jake Kelly

Brad Ricca and Courtney Sieh will talk about the collaborative process of creating Ten Days in a Madhouse, a non-fiction graphic account about journalist Nellie Bly.
“While working for Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper in 1887, Nellie Bly began an undercover investigation into the local woman’s lunatic asylum on Blackwell’s Island. Intent on seeing what life was like on the inside, Bly fooled trained physicians into thinking she was insane– a task too easily achieved– and had herself committed. In her ten days at the asylum, Bly witnessed horrifying conditions: the food was inedible, the women were forced into labor for the staff, the nurses and doctors were cruel or indifferent, and many of the women held there had no mental disorder of any kind. Now adapted into graphic form by Brad Ricca and vividly rendered with beautiful and haunting illustrations by Courtney Sieh, Bly’s bold venture is given new life and meaning, as her fearless scrutiny into the living conditions at Blackwell’s asylum forever changed the field of journalism. A timely reminder to take notice of forgotten populations, Then Days in a Mad-House warns us what happens when we decide to look away.”

Brad Ricca is the Edgar-nominated author of five books, including True Raiders, Olive the Lionheart, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, and the award-winning Super Boys. His independent film Last Son won a Silver Ace Award.

Courtney Sieh graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2016 with a BFA in illustration and an emphasis in interior architecture. Currently she is freelancing out of a swamp near Minneapolis, kept company at her drafting table by her two cats.

Jake Kelly will be discussing his series depicting underground Cleveland history. Doomsday Map (Vol 1) is about several bombings in the 1970s, Shadows Will Fall chronicles the links between the murders of a judge’s wife and a folksinger, In the New Era (Vol 3) is about a notorious burlesque club and Volume 4, soon to be published, is about the Hells Angels in Cleveland.

Jake Kelly is an author and illustrator and the co-creator with John G of the serial comic Lake Erie Monster.