Sad news to report, famed author Harvey Pekar has died at the age of 70 years old. If his name doesn’t sound familiar at first glance perhaps the title American Splendor does. The comic series was an autobiographical account of his life that was filled with wit and humor and eventually adapted into a feature film starring Paul Giamatti. According to the Chicago Tribune, Pekar’s eventful life came to an end early Monday morning when his dead body was found at his home.
At the moment, no official cause of death has been released but according to Michael Cannon, a police captain in suburban Cleveland Heights, Pekar suffered from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression. They’re unclear as to which one of those things was behind his passing.
His wife says that he went to sleep around 4:30 pm Sunday and was in good spirits before his body was found on the floor between a bed and dresser around 1 am Monday morning. Giamatti, who played Pekar in the American Splendor film stated,
“Harvey was one of the most compassionate and empathetic human beings I’ve ever met,” Giamatti said in a statement. “He had a huge brain and an even bigger soul. And he was hilarious. He was a great artist, a true American poet, and there is no one to replace him.”
Instead of focusing on superheroes, Pekar’s comic highlighted the Average Joe and dealt with problems that the every man faced on a daily basis. His unique storytelling caught on to mainstream comic fans despite its unusual approach. The first installment of American Splendor was published in 1976 and the last in 2008.
Were you a fan of American Splendor? Did you see the film?