Harvey Pekar, Graphic Novelist, Dies
Obituary page contributor Terence McArdle writes:
Harvey Pekar, 70, the graphic novelist whose autobiographical comic book "American Splendor" chronicled his life as a filing clerk, record collector, freelance jazz critic and one of life's all around misfits, was found dead early today at his home in suburban Cleveland.
The AP reported that police were called to Mr. Pekar's home by his wife about 1 a.m. and the artist was found between a bed and dresser. Mr. Pekar had been suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression, police said.
"American Splendor" developed a cult following among those who don't ordinarily read comic books. Quite possibly the first autobiographic comic, it was filled with Mr. Pekar's wry observations and complaints about the monotony of life in Cleveland and his frustrations in human relationships.
Initially, Mr. Pekar approached cartoonist R. Crumb who he knew through their mutual record collector's love of jazz, to illustrate his self-published work. Later, Mr. Pekar's illustrators included Drew Friedman and Joe Sacco.
After a diagnosis of prostrate cancer in curtailed his writing in the 1990s, Mr. Pekar returned in with "Our Cancer Year" (1994), a colloboration with his wife, Joyce Brabner.
A 2003 movie, "American Splendor" was based on the series with Paul Giametti playing Mr. Pekar. It led to yet another collaboration with Brabner, "Our Movie Year" (2004).
In one of the movie's finest moments, Brabner meets Mr. Pekar for the first time at the airport after a lengthy correspondence. She tries to imagine what he looks like and conjurs four different images of him by four different illustrators.
A full obituary will follow.
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