Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harvey Pekar Dies; Authored 'American Splendor'

Harvey Pekar, Joyce Brabner and foster daughter DanielleComic version of Harvey PekarComic book writer Harvey Pekar was found dead Monday morning at his home in Cleveland. He immortalized that city in his work, which critics compared to that of Chekhov and Dostoyevsky.

The cause of death is not yet known, but Pekar suffered from prostate cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and depression. He was 70 years old.

Pekar was a shlub, as ordinary as a pair of old twill pants — the sort of thing he usually wore. But he translated his life into art: comic books, plays, an opera, even a movie. The 2003 film American Splendor was an adaptation of Pekar's autobiographical comic series of the same name; it revealed the darkly prosaic life of a file clerk who yells at old ladies in the supermarket, loses his keys, and feels rejected and alone.

His comic ideal was articulated in the film by actor Paul Giamatti, who portrayed Pekar: "There's no idealized sh - -. This is the real thing, man."
 
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