Shalom Life | April 24, 2014

"American Splendor" Comic Writer Dies

Harvey Pekar passed away at 70 years old.

By: Christal Gardiola

Published: July 13th, 2010 in Culture » Books » News

"American Splendor" Comic Writer Dies

Famed graphic novelist Harvey Pekar was found dead on Monday, July 12, around 1 a.m. by his wife at their Cleveland Heights home. The cause of his death is still unknown but the coroner’s office revealed there will be an autopsy. The 70-year-old was also reportedly battling against prostate cancer, depression, asthma and high blood pressure.

Best known as the writer of the American Splendor comic series, Pekar has been recognized for his witty humour and autobiographical style. American Splendor, which chronicled his life experiences in his hometown of Cleveland, received the American Book Award in 1987 for its first anthology. The comic series was later on adapted into a Hollywood film in 2003.

Pekar has also appeared on countless television shows including Late Night with David Letterman and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.

Renowned chef, author and TV personality Bourdain featured Pekar in his Cleveland episode in 2007. Upon hearing about Pekar’s recent passing, Bourdain wrote a column in the NPR. He said, “A few days ago, the city of Cleveland lost a truly great and important man. And I'm not talking about LeBron James.”

Born and raised in Cleveland, Pekar wrote about his life and wrapped it with humour in American Splendor and his other works. In 1994, he co-wrote Our Cancer Year with his then-wife about his experiences with lymphoma. Then in 2005, he published a graphic novel titled The Quitter. It tells the story of Pekar’s childhood, as the son of two Jewish immigrants in the ཮s and ླྀs. American Splendor: Another Dollar, the last version of his famous comic series, was published in 2009.

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