This is incredibly sad news for the comic book community, and the literary community overall. Pekar, whose comic/life was adapted into the movie “American Splendor” starring Paul Giamatti, was the renowned Cleveland-based comic book writer. His book, which started running 1976 and portrayed the autobiographical “adventures” of Pekar’s life as a file clerk and jazz nerd, as well as his observations of the city around him and him basically hanging out with friends, was last published in 2008.
Pekar himself wrote American Splendor, but the art for each issue was covered by different artists. It stemmed from his friendship with cartoonist R. Crumb, who drew the initial ones. Since then, artists like Chris Samnee, Dean Haspiel, Gilbert Hernandez, Ty Templeton, and more have all contributed to American Splendor.
Harvey’s presence in comics will be missed by fans and creators alike. He helped to usher in the age of independent underground comics that began in the 70’s and 80’s, and contributed to cementing Ohio’s place in American cartooning history.