‘American Splendor’ creator dies

Cult comic writer Harvey Pekar found dead

American Splendor writer Harvey Pekar was found dead in his Ohio home yesterday (July 12).

The 70-year-old cult comic author had been suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression, although no specific cause of death has yet been reported.

Pekar, a former file clerk, began writing comics in 1972, inspired by friend and comic book legend Robert Dennis Crumb, who provided the artwork for his early publications.

In 1976 Pekar began work on the comic series that would garner a devout cult following, American Splendor, which documented his life, highlighting his famously grumpy and acerbic attitude. The 2003 film adaptation, starring Paul Giamatti, was a blend of fiction and real footage of the author and his friends and family.

Pekar‘s work enjoyed a surge of popularity after the release of the film, and saw him become a regular chat show guest.

An earlier battle with cancer saw Pekar create another successful comic, titled Our Cancer Year. Describing his highly personal work, Pekar said: “The humour of everyday life is way funnier than what the comedians do on TV. It’s the stuff that happens right in front of your face when there’s no routine and everything is unexpected. That’s what I want to write about.”