Harvey Pekar, ‘American Splendor’ author, dies at 70

July 12, 2010 | 4:31 p.m.

Harvey Pekar


The Cleveland Plain-Dealer is reporting that Harvey Pekar, the singular and acerbic voice of underground comics who brought a new autobiographical candor and rhythm to the medium, has died. Here’s an excerpt from the obituary by the paper’s Joanna Connors.

American Splendor cover

Harvey Pekar’s life was not an open book. It was an open comic book.

Pekar chronicled his life and times in the acclaimed autobiographical comic-book series, “American Splendor,” portraying himself as a rumpled, depressed, obsessive-compulsive “flunky file clerk” engaged in a constant battle with loneliness and anxiety.

Pekar, 70, was found dead shortly before 1 a.m. today by his wife, Joyce Brabner, in their Cleveland Heights home, said Powell Caesar, spokesman for Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Pekar and his wife, Joyce Brabner, wrote “Our Cancer Year,” a book-length comic, after Pekar was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1990 and underwent a grueling treatment.  

Check back here at “Hero Complex” for more coverage.

— Geoff Boucher



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PHOTO: Harvey Pekar in 2003 (Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times)

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4 Responses to Harvey Pekar, ‘American Splendor’ author, dies at 70

  1. JewishReviewofBooks says:

    The JRB mourns the passing of Harvey Pekar. Our just released second issue contains one of his characteristically witty musings on Jewish identity. He stopped by the office just the other day to pick up his author's copy. We'll miss him. Link: http://www.jewishreviewofbooks.com/publications/d

  2. Edward Z Rosenthal says:

    There's more to life than material acquisition, financial stability, self satisfaction, social acceptance, superficial attractiveness, excessive ambition, personal comfort, sensory indulgence, emotional balance, joy, peace, hope or love. Not much, but just enough – the need for truth. Not some vague, abstract, distant truth but the kind that enables you to endure. Harvey survived on simple truths and little more. That's impressive and admirable. He was a warrior.

  3. Steve says:

    My heart goes out to the "family," of Harvey and his lovely wife Joyce who I had a chance of meeting while at work at a newsstand. I never got to meet Harvey, but he wrote me a nice note for helping Joyce get an article.

  4. Alex says:

    Hopefully he'll find peace now. Safe journey Harvey.

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