CLEVELAND — Comic-book writer Harvey Pekar (PEE’-kahr), whose “American Splendor” was made into a 2003 film starring Paul Giamatti, has been found dead in his Ohio home. Coroner’s spokesman Powell Caesar in Cleveland says an autopsy will be performed. He had no details on the death of the 70-year-old Pekar.
Cleveland Heights police Capt. Michael Cannon says officers were called to Pekar’s home by his wife about 1 a.m. Monday. Cannon says Pekar had been suffering from prstate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression.
Pekar’s “American Splendor” comics, which he began publishing in 1976, chronicle his grousing about work, money and the monotony of life. – Washington Post
I was a little late to the Harvey Pekar game, but I got there honestly: working in Cleveland one week a month for 15 months, and stumbling into the same neighborhoods, people, and institutions that he wrote about in his blunt, clear-eyed comics. He got it right.
Between his most famous adventure (the foray on David Letterman) and the movie American Splendor, he finally achieved something of a national profile, but typically for Pekar, it was largely negative. Of course, that negativity is precisely what endeared him to so many of us urban misanthropes.
So long, Harvey. After 70 years on Cleveland’s streets, I doubt hell will bother you too much. In fact, you arrive with more built-in demons and dark thoughts already, they might just throw you out.