Jewish Journal

Comic book writer Harvey Pekar dies at 70


July 13, 2010 | 10:06 am

Jewish comic book writer Harvey Pekar, who chronicled his life in the autobiographical “American Splendor” series, has died.

Pekar died early Monday morning in his Cleveland-area home. He was 70. Pekar had prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and clinical depression, according to reports.

The “American Splendor” series, which began in 1976 and had its most recent issue in 2008, was made into a movie of the same name in 2003.

Pekar’s writing about his everyday life, which a Plain Dealer tribute Monday called “the working-class, everyman heroics of simply making it through another day, with soul—if not dignity—intact,” was widely admired.

Pekar, a Cleveland native, collaborated on “American Splendor” with the acclaimed comic book artist R. Crumb. The two met in 1962 when Crumb was working for American Greetings in Cleveland.

Pekar, the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, served in the U.S. Navy. He worked as a file clerk at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Cleveland until his retirement in 2001.

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