Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic writer, as well as a music critic. In 1976, Harvey Pekar brought a real breakthrough in American comics: his 'American Splendor', a comic featuring Pekar's stories drawn by several artists such as R. Crumb, Joe Zabel, Gary Dumm, Greg Budgett, Spain Rodriguez, Gerry Shamray, Frank Stack, Mark Zingarelli and Joe Sacco, brought unflinching realism into comics. The comic documents daily life in Pekar's native Cleveland, where Pekar worked as a file clerk in a large Veterans Administration hospital. 'American Splendor' was published irregularly between 1976 and September 2008. A critically acclaimed film adaptation of 'American Splendor' was released in 2003.
In addition to 'American Splendor', Pekar has chronicled his early life in 'The Quitter', illustrated by Dean Haspiel and published by DC/Vertigo in 2005. Other biographical works were published through Ballantine/Random House and Hill & Wang. Not long before his death, Pekar had started up a webcomic with Smith Magazine online called 'The Pekar Project'. Harvey Pekar was also a media personality, known for his controversial appearances on the David Letterman Show in the 1980s.