Fresh Air remembers the comic book writer with highlights from 2003 and 2005 interviews. Pekar, who died Monday, was the author of the series American Splendor, which captured the angst of a man struggling with the daily ups and downs of life.
Unitarian minister Forrest Church believed that the knowledge that we must die makes us question what life means. Church, who died Sept. 24, 2009 after a long battle with cancer of the esophagus, was the author of Love and Death: My Journey through the Valley of the Shadow.
Unitarian minister Forrest Church was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer last February. He has written and edited over 20 books since 1985. His latest, Love and Death, is a memoir that confronts the fact of death and, in the process, offers readers a meditation on the end of life.
Diagnosed with cancer for the third time, Susan Sontag signed on for a harsh treatment regimen in hopes it would keep her alive. But it only added to her suffering. Her son, journalist David Rieff, has published a memoir about his mother's "revolt against death."
Harvey Pekar has edited a new volume of comics called The Best American Comics 2006. Pekar began writing comic book stories in 1972. The first collection of Pekar's work was American Splendor. Pekar also wrote the book Our Cancer Year in collaboration with his wife, Joyce Brabner. This interview first aired Nov. 10, 2005.
Julia Sweeney is currently performing a one-woman show called "Letting Go of God" at the off-off-Broadway theater in Manhattan. A Saturday Night Live cast alum, Sweeney also wrote and performed the 1996 Broadway show "God Said, Ha!" Her films include Pulp Fiction, Clockstoppers and It's Pat, based on her gender-confused character on SNL.
Dr. Sandra Horning and Dr. David Johnson are both oncologists. Horning is the current president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the largest group of cancer-treatment specialists. Johnson was president before her. Both of them are cancer survivors — the first to lead the 41-year-old society. Horning practices and does research on lymphomas at Stanford. She is also co-chairman of the oncology society's task force on cancer survivorship. Johnson is deputy director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Writer Samuel G. Freedman's new book is Who She Was: My Search for My Mother's Life. Freedman's mother died many years ago, when he was just 18, and as he approached his mother's age when she died, he decided to find out all about her life. The result is a narrative fueled by facts.