(Note:I wrote this back in 2002, when I last reviewed an issue of his series, as that’s the last time he finished a damned issue. Still not sure if he proved me right or if he has bigger things ahead… 12/5/06)
This poor guy looks like he’s doomed to become a comics historical footnote (if there is such a thing), which is a damned shame. There was a time when a new Peepshow would get me running to the comic store, and it’s still that way, but he’s put out something like 2 comics in the last three years. He’s a victim of his own laziness and lack of motivation and I think he could have been a really important voice in the field. Who knows, maybe he’ll snap out of it he sees other comics people start to make some serious money (I don’t know how, maybe with all the comic related movies coming out soon). I sure hope so.
Even if he never does anything of note again in comics, the world will always have this gem to remember him by. One of the funniest collections ever, this is a diary that he did for various publications for about ten years ago. This guy reveals everything about himself and his closest friends, which might explain why he has so few of them. This set the standard for autobiographical comics… well, maybe Crumb did that, but I think Matt took it a step or two further. This is one of those books that you can give your skeptical non-comic loving friends and I can guarantee that they’ll love it. OK, maybe I can’t guarantee it, but everybody I’ve showed it to has thought it was the best thing ever. No matter how screwed up your life is, you’ll always be more stable than Joe Matt.
I can’t imagine a better title for a collection of his work. This collects the first 6 issues of Peepshow, and these were the really good ones. A lot of people didn’t like his later work (when he retold a childhood story), thinking that he was ripping off Chester Brown, but I thought it was OK. It hasn’t been collected though, so maybe he thinks it’s bad too. Whatever the case, the “story” here involves Joe and his longtime girlfriend Trish. Anybody who has read the first book should be familiar with her. Anyway, after she reads the first issue (about Joe having a crush on a friend of hers), she breaks up with him, and the rest of the book is mostly about his emotional torment of going through the whole ordeal. Not as dense as the first one, but after you read this you’ll wonder why he didn’t keep going with this. Actually, you might not wonder because it might be obvious that him bitching for entire issues could only be entertaining for so long. Whatever the case, I wasn’t sick of it when he essentially stopped.
Another thing that isn’t on the D & Q website, but just e-mail them, I’m sure they haven’t gotten around to updating the site yet. A lot of people give Joe Matt a lot of shit about putting out one book every two years or so, but what a lot of people forget is how good his book is when he does put it out. Look, I can think of exactly one person that can make me read their entire run of books again with each new issue, and that’s Joe Matt. This one is all Joe, Chester Brown and Seth sitting around a table talking and it’s still one of the best things I’ve read this year. Kudos to the guy. I still think it’s a damned shame that the world can’t see more from this incredible talent, but maybe the books wouldn’t be as good if he was putting out three a year or so. He should just take his time and make sure that they’re all as good as this one. Oh yeah, and he has a fantastic response to all the people who call him lazy:
Holy Christ, Joe Matt has a new comic out! I dug up the last few issues of this series before reading this, as it’s the last issue of his current storyline, and #13 came out in February of 2002. That’s right, it took the man 4 and a half years to put this book out. For anybody who has any complaints about him personally or his work in general, he answers them all here, including going into excruciating detail about why he’s so unproductive and how his obsession with porn has left him a neurotic mess. Yes, even more of a neurotic mess than he was when he started the series. Individually, these issues felt closed in and suffocating, as a good chunk of the “action” takes place in his tiny apartment. Taken as a whole, this ranks up with the best of his stuff, even if took him over 8 years to finish it. It’s a great case study of someone who has access to all the porn in the world and two VCR’s to make his own “best of” tapes. If you think it’s all doom and gloom, well OK, this one mostly is. Things seem to be looking up for Joe though, as he moved to Los Angeles recently and apparently has all sorts of new adventures to tell us. Of course, we won’t get to actually read these stories for another year at least, as this issue just came out a few weeks ago and I just don’t buy the idea that he’ll have the next illustrated chapter of his life done any time soon. Still and all, even with my bitching, Joe Matt is one of the reasons I started reading independent comics in the first place and it’s comics like this that remind me why I stick around. $4.95