Ring Around the Cuyahoga

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.

This entry was posted in Golden Oldies (Deja Vu All Over Again), People Who Died, Died. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ring Around the Cuyahoga

  1. Barbara Ganoush says:

    Born and bred in Cleveland, I disagree completely that Harvey Pekar “got it right.” The little self-absorbed nerd made a career of failing to see anything outside his own dark cave. He knew Cleveland the way a sewer rat knows it, but without the class.

    I agree with you about him getting thrown out of hell.

  2. Ted End says:

    Harvey Pekar was a real person? I thought he was just a comic book character like Aquaman or Baby Huey. Who knew?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s