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Comic book legend Harvey Pekar passes at age 70

Comic book legend Harvey Pekar was found dead this morning at age 70. The cause of death has not been announced, but police have ruled out foul play. Harvey had a history of medical issues including asthma, depression, high blood pressure, and a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.

Pekar wrote the autobiographical comic book series American Splendor, which inspired a critically acclaimed film of the same name in 2003, starring Paul Giomatti.

American Splendor was a game-changing comic book series, which began publishing in 1974, chronicling the mundane events of Pekar’s life in Cleveland at a time when other comics chronicled the fantastical adventures of super heroes.

Recurring themes in the books included Pekar’s hypochondria and depression, his interactions with co-workers, his money problems and his work as a file-clerk.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
July/12/2010
@ 6:21 pm

This is very sad. I’ll always miss Harvey’s brutal honesty. Too bad there aren’t more like him in the often-pretentious world of cartooning!

Best wishes to his friends and family.

#2 Josh McDonald
July/12/2010
@ 8:25 pm

This is truly a shame, but not altogether surprising. The world was lucky to have him as long as it did.

#3 Stephen Beals
July/13/2010
@ 10:11 am

I was pretty upset to hear this. In the 80s, it was people like Harvey Pekar who showed me that comics could be about anything, not just superheroes and talking dogs (not that I don’t still like superheroes and talking dogs).

I’m going to reread some Pekar stuff. If I could make something half as good …

#4 Jerry Z.
July/15/2010
@ 6:04 am

I feel very sad about Harvey’s passing. He was a great man.

#5 Steve Artley, Artleytoons
July/19/2010
@ 8:05 am

I am going to grab Harvey’s material from my shelves and re-read them in his honor.

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