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|Birthday/Birthplace||Harvey Lawrence Pekar
(1939-10-08)October 8, 1939
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
July 12, 2010
|Cause of death||Drug overdose|
|Profession(s)||Comic book writer, filing clerk, music and literary critic|
|Notable works||American Splendor
Our Cancer Year
|Spouses||Karen Delaney (m. 1960; divorce 1972)
Helen Lark Hall (m. 1977; divorce 1981)
Joyce Brabner (m. 1984; his death 2010)
|Kid(s)||(foster child) Danielle Batone|
Harvey Pekar’s Biography
When he finished high school he tried his luck at the University, without much success. He also tried to enlist in the navy, where they did not want either. After moving from one job to another, in 1965 he ended up working for the federal government as an archivist of a veterans hospital, where he would work all his life, even after gaining fame, until his retirement in 2001. He also started a career as a critic musical in 1959 as a result of some critics on jazz published in The Jazz Review.
The jump to the comics he gave in 1975 thanks to the encouragement he gave his friend Robert Crumb, and then famous storyteller. At the request of Crumb, Pekar decided to write about his own life as a cathartic exercise, and thus his autobiographical American Splendor was born. Pekar would write the stories that would be drawn by various more or less underground authors, with Crumb himself being the first of them. The cartoon documents the daily life of the aging neighbors of Cleveland, the hometown of Pekar, as well as the work and daily environment of it. The first compilation of American Splendor won an American Book Award in 1987, as well as Pekar received the Harvey Award in 1994 for the graphic novel Our Cancer Year, in which his wife also collaborated.
At the end of the 80s, the success of Pekar’s comics led him to be invited eight times to the Late Night with David Letterman program. However, his combative style and excessive live criticism of General Electric (owner of NBC) caused him to be discarded as a guest until the early 90s.
A film adaptation of American Splendor was released in 2003, which was acclaimed by critics and acquired a certain prestige at film festivals such as Sundance or Cannes. He had the performance of Paul Giamatti as Pekar and the real Harvey. Pekar wrote about the effects of the film in his American Splendor: Our Movie Year.
On October 5, 2005, DC Comics, through its Editorial Vertigo line, launched, with Dean Haspiel’s drawings, his hardcover and autobiographical work The Quitter. The album, the first published by Pekar with a commercial publisher, details the first years of Pekar. It was done, in a way, to reward Haspiel for introducing him to the producers of the American Splendor movie. The album was published in Spanish in 2006 by Planeta under the title of The defeatist.
In 2006 Pekar announced the launch of a five-part miniseries of American Splendor through Vertigo. He also released his first non-autobiographical book called Ego & amp; Hubris: The Michael Malice Story, published through Ballantine / Random House, about the life of Michael Malice, who was the founding editor of ‘OverheardinNY.com’. In addition, he participated as a collaborator in 2006 in Macedonia, with student Heather Roberson and artist Ed Piskor.
In addition to writing American Splendor, Pekar is a prolific book and jazz critic. He has also been awarded for transmitting essays to the public through public radio.
He was married from 1960 to 1972 with Karen Delaney, writer and educator, who currently lives in Chicago. His third wife is the writer Joyce Brabner, with whom he collaborated in Our Cancer Year, an autobiographical graphic novel about his fight against a lymphoma, which won a Harvey Award for Best Original Graphic Album. He won the American Book Award for his 1991 collection ‘The New American Splendor Anthology’.
Shortly before one in the morning on July 12, 2010 Harvey Pekar was found dead at his home in Cleveland Height, Ohio by his wife Joyce. No immediate causes were found about his death. Pekar had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time and was under medical treatment at the time. In October 2010 it was determined that Pekar had suffered an accidental overdose of fluorextine antidepressants and bupropion. Harvey Pekar was cremated and buried in the Lake View Cemetery of Cleeveland, next to Eliot Ness.
Harvey Pekar Net Worth – $12 Million
More Facts about Harvey Pekar
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