Harvey Pekar, American Splendor: The Life And Times Of Harvey Pekar (Ballantine Books). Pekar, who died this month, mesmerized readers by transforming his ordinary life into comics for adults. Pekar wrote the stories. R. Crumb and a crew of other artists illustrated them to Pekar’s specifications, in living black and white. His work led to the movie of the same name. I’m not sure that I’d go as far as some critics who compare him to Chekhov, but I’m not sure that I wouldn’t. If Pekar’s gritty ironies are an acquired taste, it’s a taste that settles in quickly.