Harvey Pekar, the creator of the "American Splendor" comics series and the inspiration for the 2003 film of the same name, died today at age seventy. His body was discovered by his wife Joyce in their Cleveland home. The cause of death is as of yet unknown, and his passing is particularly unfortunate considering his recent recovery from cancer.
If you’ve read his comics, you know he had a pretty bleak outlook on life. Before his success with comics (or as an unruly TV personality on The Late Show With David Letterman) he was a low-paid file clerk, a job he kept until 2001.
He was a humble and often self-effacing guy – sometimes to a fault – but his his regular guy sensibility helped launch a lonelier, more realistic brand of comics. (I liken it to the Seinfield of comics, but I heard somone compare him to Chekhov, so let’s go with that.)
Here’s sweet clip of him on No Reservations, wherein he has no idea who Anthony Bourdain is: