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Acclaimed Cleveland comic book writer dead at age 70

Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar
Photo credit: The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cleveland native Harvey Pekar, author of the "American Splendor" comic book series, died in his Cleveland Heights home this morning.  He was found by his wife around one a.m..  The Cuyahoga County Coroner stated today that a cause of death has not been determined and an autopsy will be performed.  It has been reported that he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.  He was 70 years old.

Pekar was an acclaimed underground comic book writer. He self-published his first edition of "American Splendor" is 1976. The comic series was a look at his working-class life as a clerk at a VA hospital in Cleveland. Even after achieving fame as a comic book writer, he continued to work as a hospital clerk throughout his life.  The comic series became an immediate cult classic.  It was turned into a film in 2003 with Paul Giamatti playing Pekar. It won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival that same year. Pekar himself also made an appearance in the film.

Pekar is survived by his wife, Joyce Brabner and their foster daughter, Danielle.