Harvey Pekar (born October 8, 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a Jewish American underground comic book writer. His friendship with Robert Crumb led to the creation of the autobiographical comic book series American Splendor, later adapted as a movie. American Splendor documented daily life in the aging neighborhoods of Pekar's native Cleveland, where Pekar worked (thoughout his life, including after gaining fame) as a file clerk in a large Veteran's Administration hospital. He was married from 1960 to 1972 to Karen Delaney, a writer and educator, who currently lives in Chicago.
In the late 1980s, Pekar's comic book success led to eight guest appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. However, his confrontational style and overt on-air criticism of General Electric (which owned NBC) led to the show banning him as a guest until the early 1990s.
On October 5, 2005, the DC Comics imprint Vertigo released Pekar's autobiographical hardcover The Quitter, with artwork by Dean Haspiel, a frequent Pekar collaborator. The book detailed Pekar's early years, and was created in part to reward Haspiel for his role in introducing Pekar to the producers who went on to make the American Splendor movie a reality.
In 2006 Pekar will release a five-issue American Splendor miniseries through Vertigo .
In addition to writing American Splendor, Pekar is a prolific jazz and book critic. He has also won awards for essays broadcast on public radio.
Pekar's third wife is writer Joyce Brabner, with whom he collaborated on Our Cancer Year, a graphic novel autobiography of his struggle with cancer which won a Harvey Award for Best Graphic Album of Original Work. He won the American Book Award for his 1991 collection The New American Splendor Anthology. He lives in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
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