The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Sunday, December 21, 2014


"American Splendor" Comic Book Writer Harvey Pekar Dies at 70 in Ohio
In this 1986 file photo comic-book writer Harvey Pekar poses with a copy of his "American Splendor" in his Cleveland Heights, Ohio home. Pekar, whose comic was made into a 2003 film starring Paul Giammati, was been found dead in his Ohio home early Monday, July 12, 2010. AP Photo/Mark Duncan.

By: Jake Coyle, Associated Press Writers
Thomas J. Sheeran, Associated Press Writers

CLEVELAND (AP).- Harvey Pekar, whose autobiographical comic book series "American Splendor" portrayed his unglamorous life with bone-dry honesty and wit, was found dead at home early Monday, authorities said. He was 70.

The cause of death was unclear, and an autopsy was planned, officials said. Pekar had prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure and depression, said Michael Cannon, a police captain in suburban Cleveland Heights.

Officers were called to Pekar's home by his wife about 1 a.m., Cannon said. His body was found on the floor between a bed and dresser. He had gone to bed around 4:30 p.m. Sunday in good spirits, his wife told police.

Pekar took a radically different track from the superhero-laden comics that had dominated the industry. He instead specialized in the lives of ordinary people, chronicling his life as a file clerk in Cleveland and his relationship with his third wife, Joyce Brabner. His 1994 graphic novel, "Our Cancer Year," detailed his battle with lymphoma.

The dreary cover scene shows him sprawled beside his wife on a snowy curbside with shopping bags on the ground. "Harvey, forget about the groceries, honey. Let's get you inside first," she says.

Pekar never drew himself but depended on collaborations with artists, most notably his friend R. Crumb, who helped illustrate the first issue of the ironically titled "American Splendor," published in 1976. It was made into an acclaimed 2003 film starring Paul Giamatti as Pekar. The most recent "American Splendor" was released in 2008.

"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."

Pekar's quirky commentary developed a following, and his insights and humor were often a bit on the dark side.

Lucy Shelton Caswell, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University, said it was inaccurate to describe Pekar's work as "cult."

"His work was accepted by the mainstream," Caswell said. "It was bought by public libraries and read widely." The cartoon library has all of Pekar's works in its collection, she said.

"He will be remembered as an innovator who wrote stories about ordinary things that were then illustrated by some of the most notable cartoonists of the late 20th century," Caswell said. "People identified with what he was writing about and the stories that these people were drawing because it was so ordinary."

In 2003, the New York Film Critics Circle honored "American Splendor" as best first film for the directing-writing team of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Part feature and part documentary, and with occasional animated elements, the film's tearing down of the fourth wall — with Giamatti, as Pekar, often appearing alongside the real Pekar — paralleled his comic's realism.

Pekar, himself, introduces the film and the character based on him: "This guy here, he's our man, all grown up and going nowhere. Although he's a pretty scholarly cat, he never got much of a formal education. For the most part, he's lived in ... neighborhoods, held ... jobs and he's now knee-deep into a disastrous second marriage. So if you're the kind of person looking for romance or escapism or some fantasy figure to save the day, guess what? You've got the wrong movie."

Pekar, who was a repeat TV guest of David Letterman, told The Associated Press in a 1997 interview that he was determined to keep writing his "American Splendor" series.

"There's no end in sight for me. I want to continue to do it," Pekar said. "It's a continuing autobiography, a life's work."

___

Coyle reported from New York. Associated Press writer Doug Whiteman in Columbus, Ohio, contributed to this report.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Cleveland | "American Splendor" | Harvey Pekar |




Today's News

July 13, 2010

Russian Curators Convicted Today of Inciting Religious Hatred, but Not Imprisoned

Austrian Panel Recommends Restitution of Four Works of Art

First Comprehensive U.S. Museum Survey of Dennis Hopper Opens at MOCA

Léon Ferrari Retrospective Opens at a Church in Arles

Tony Shafrazi Gallery Presents Three Decade Survey of Bill Beckley's Art

National Museum Wales Appoints David Anderson as New Director General

Archaeologists Say Tiny Shard Bears Oldest Script Found in Jerusalem

Comprehensive Survey of Surrealist Art Opens at the Dean Gallery

Lehmann Maupin Exhibition Represents Chapter Four of Lush Life

PortugalArte 10: A New Month-Long Biannual Art Exhibition

High Museum to Host "Dalí: A Passion for Film" Film Series

Charles Martin Joins Bonhams as a Consultant in Kent & Sussex

"American Splendor" Comic Book Writer Harvey Pekar Dies at 70 in Ohio

21c Museum to Unveil Three Never Before Exhibited Pieces by Simen Johan

Radio INAH: 20 Years of Divulgation of the Cultural Heritage

Allentown Art Museum Announces Election of New Chair, Vice Chair and Two Trustees

The Temple of Blooom: A Group Exhibition Opens at Cinders Gallery

Vermont Scrap-Wood Dinosaur Posing Modern-Day Problem

Rare 17th Century Bowls Found at London Dig Site

Washington Mansion with Dale Chihuly Chandelier Finally Sells at 70 Percent Off

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Colossal statue of Amenhotep III unveiled on the west bank of the Nile in Egypt

2.- British royals crown New York visit with gala dinner

3.- Missing artwork rediscovered in "Stuart Little" sells for over 200,000 euros at auction

4.- Rossetti's Venus Verticordia soars at Sotheby's in London to sell for £2.88 million

5.- Russian magnate buys, then returns Nobel prize to American geneticist James Watson

6.- Egyptian Museum unveils four newly renovated halls of the famed Tutankhamun gallery

7.- 'The Secret of Dresden: From Rembrandt to Canaletto' on view at the Groninger Museum

8.- Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum reopens after three-year renovation

9.- More than 200 queries about works by possible heirs received on Nazi-era art hoard

10.- Attorney, artist and filmmaker reflects on the seven lessons learned at 2014 Art Basel Miami Beach

Related Stories



Exhibition offers unique chance to see one of Picasso's masterworks in an intimate setting

Cleveland Museum of Natural History announces capital campaign, leadership team

Cleveland Museum of Art announces several recent acquisitions across all departments

First retrospective of Fu Baoshi in the West made possible by partnership with the Nanjing Museum in China

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Latest Works Approved by the Collections Committee

Cleveland Museum of Art Acquires Collection of Objects from Southern Africa and Contemporary Work by Tony Oursler

The Cleveland Museum of Art Announces Newest Acquisitions

Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland Releases Design for New Building

Cleveland Museum of Art Marks Another Project Milestone

Cleveland Institute of Art's David Deming Retires After 12 Years of Innovative and Thoughtful Leadership



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site