The death of a comic book author is always a sorrowful event. But if that author happens to be one of the greatest and most personal in history, it stings a little more. Joe Matt, famous for his own comic autobiography, which began with ‘Poor Bastard’ and culminated in ‘Spent,’ was a master of underground humor, self-pity, sadness, loneliness, and had a very unique perspective on himself and the society around him.
Joe Matt was born on September 3, 1963, and passed away nearly 60 years later on September 18 of this year. He did so as many cartoonists dream of passing away: at his drawing table. A heart attack took him away without ever having won an Eisner Award (although he was nominated multiple times), which might be one of the greatest injustices in the history of comics.
Undoubtedly, ‘Peepshow’ is his masterpiece, divided into three volumes (‘Poor Bastard,’ ‘Fair Weather,’ and ‘Spent’). It’s an acidic portrait of his daily life that has been criticized for being excessively sexist (it is), but it’s forgiven for its constant sense of humor and self-parody. Matt is not the hero of his own comics, and he’s aware of being a perfect loser. That’s part of his art.
Although his comics were drawn in black and white, he also worked as a colorist for ‘Grendel,’ ‘Johnny Quest,’ and the well-known ‘Batman/Grendel.’ Matt Wagner, his lifelong friend, announced his unfortunate fate on Instagram, saying, “I will miss my old friend and his unique view of the world… and how we started each phone call quacking like Donald Duck to each other. Farewell, brother… the world is a little more boring without you.”
Now might be the time for HBO to revisit the project they had in 2004 with David X Cohen and Matt Groening to create a series about ‘Peepshow.’ There couldn’t be many better tributes, could there?