Comic-book writer Harvey Pekar was found dead, The New York Times is reporting. He was 70. Pekar, who rose from obscurity detailing his blasé life and those of his friends in Cleveland, became the subject of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s 2003 biographical drama, “American Splendor,” (Paul Giamatti portrayed Pekar) which went on to receive a host of film festival kudos, including a FIPRESCI prize in Cannes as well as the Dramatic Grand Jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival where it premiered. “American Splendor” also received an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Harvey Pekar was diagnosed with cancer and documented the experience of overcoming the disease in “Our Year of Cancer,” which was chronicled in “American Splendor.”
In his August, 2003 review of “American Splendor”, Peter Brunette – who also passed away recently – wrote, “What’s supremely fascinating about this film, however, is that Berman and Pulcini weren’t content merely to dramatize this frustrated life, but also decided to include the real-life Harvey Pekar throughout the film as a commentator on his own actions. Even better, since most of Pekar’s friends and co-workers ended up in his comics anyway, they’re also here, in person, commenting upon the actors playing them in the movie we’re watching. The constant comparisons we make between the real people and the actors become fascinating exercises in their own right.”
According to The Times, Mr. Pekar’s wife, Joyce Brabner, found him dead at 1am. An autopsy will determine the cause of death.