Wow. I knew this guy.
His “slice of life” stories greatly inspired me, back when I wanted to be a comic book artist myself, so much so that I named my first little home-made comics company Slice O’ Life Press. Pekar managed to publish about one issue of American Splendor a year back in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and I kept up with most of them (whenever I could find them). A couple of years later, I got the chance to see R. Crumb at a rare comic book convention appearance. I attended Crumb’s panel, and talk turned to Pekar and Crumb’s work illustrating stories for American Splendor.
American Splendor continued to make a bigger and bigger splash, and back issues were soon reprinted in trade paperback anthologies. Other publishers rushed in to finance Pekar’s comics, and a small but dedicated cult audience followed every issue. Eventually Hollywood called, and a well-received feature film was the result. It was a little strange to sit and watch this movie, especially the scenes with Paul Giamatti as Harvey and James Urbaniak as Crumb, having lunch together.