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RIP Harvey Pekar, Creator of American Splendor

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 13, 2010 at 2:50AM

Harvey Pekar has died at age 70.
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Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

Harvey Pekar has died at age 70.

My comics-maven husband David Chute first introduced me to Pekar decades ago at the first Comic-Con I ever attended, in San Diego. It was a small comic book convention back then, a far cry from the streaming hordes who will descend on the giant convention center a week from now. Pekar was not only a pioneering graphic novelist but a great writer: tough, funny, sad, angry, and honest. The comic series American Spendor was his crowning achievement.

Of course he was the subject of Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's terrific 2003 hybrid biopic/doc American Splendor.

Here are Pekar obits from THR, Vanity Fair, Matt Dentler, Omnivoracious, The Guardian, and NPR.

Video clips on jump.

Thompson on Hollywood

And here's the American Splendor trailer:

And Pekar on Letterman:


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.