Harvey Pekar

Active - 1988 - 2006  |   Died - Jul 12, 2010   |   Genres - Comedy Drama, Language & Literature, Culture & Society

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Biography by Andrea LeVasseur

Offbeat writer Harvey Pekar lived in Cleveland, OH, all of his life. In 1966, he got a job as a file clerk at a VA hospital and worked there for the next 35 years. His autobiographical comic book American Splendor (illustrated by comic book artists like Robert Crumb, Frank Stack, Joe Sacco, and Colin Warneford) was published almost every year since 1976. In order to promote the series, he made regular appearances on Late Night With David Letterman, until his caustic attitude got him kicked off the show. He also published music and book reviews in a lot of jazz magazines like Down Beat and co-wrote the book Our Cancer Year with his wife Joyce Brabner. He eventually won an American Book Award and, by 1990, Dark Horse Comics had started publishing his series. In 1999, he did some essays and commentary on the radio station WKSU and won other awards for his writing and ranting segments. In 2001, he retired from his job at the hospital, but continued to live in Cleveland with Brabner and their adopted daughter Danielle. He also appeared in and narrated the film American Splendor, a critically acclaimed biopic directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, with Paul Giamatti starring as Pekar. Pekar died at age 70 in July 2010, after suffering from a combination of ailments, including prostate cancer, asthma, depression, and high blood pressure.

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