Joe Matt (4 stars)

Joe Matt

The Poor Bastard (Jonathan Cape)


Joe Matt’s painful but hilarious autobiographical strips bring confessional cartooning a la dirty old sod Robert Crumb and grouchy elderly codger Harvey Pekar to a new and entertaining low. A generation younger than Crumb and Pekar, the Philadelphia-born, Toronto-resident Matt is preoccupied with sharing in great, icky detail his immature obsessions: jerking off, perusing his 'nature films' collection, securing a girlfriend, keeping her, and jerking off. While the subject matter might ostensibly be a little less mature than those dredged up by his antecedents, Matt’s portrait of an artist living a seedy life in a Canadian boarding house, his relations with friends (fellow cartoonists Chester Brown and Seth) and lovers, and his self-analysis and deception are executed in a stylish and astute manner. This story arc is lifted from the first six issues of Matt’s ongoing comic Peepshow, further issues of which have also been collected by original publisher Drawn & Quartlerly.

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