I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got no new comics this week. None! But I did get a hard cover collection:

  • Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus Volume Three
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read this week.

  • “Spent” by Joe Matt
  • Joe Matt is crazy and he lays it all out for us to see. He’s also the crazy part in all of us. For those of you not familiar with his work he is one of the small press autobiographical cartoonists who came to the comic world’s attention with his comic “Peep Show” in the 1990’s. That comic was a no holds bared look into his life and romantic relationships in his early twenties. He really portrayed himself as a weirdo who was his own worst enemy. A good book.

    This latest volume has been a long time coming. It collects the story published in “Peep Show” numbers 11-14. To tell you how long in was between issues the four of them come out in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2006 respectively. He can’t even get an issue every two years out. This volume lets us know why.

    And, “Why?” you ask. Because Joe Matt has been too busy beating off. Literally. Joe gives us a peek into his life from 1994 until 2002. He no longer has a girlfriend and his neurosis and porn obsession keep him from getting a new one. He is crazy cheap, lives in a rooming house, doesn’t have a job, and obsessively edits borrowed porn VHS tapes into his own “perfect” mixes.

    Joe Matt even shows us his technique for editing the tapes as he plays them on one VCR, tapes them on another, and edits out any trace of man ass or face. Plus he shows himself beating off to the tapes. He beats off like a crazy person. Six times a Day! Twenty is his record! There is no graphic sex or anything in this book but lots of reference to it.

    This book may not be for everyone but I really like it. Most of it is Joe Matt’s dialogue with himself as he tries to come to grips with his obsessions, his feeling of pointlessness, and his fear of death. He really explores the dark side of living and some of the crazy bad habits he has. Like peeing into a jar in his room because he doesn’t like to go to the rooming house’s shared bathroom (where he always pees in the sink).

    Some of this book is also dialogue between Joe Matt and a couple of his friend who are also cartoonists, Seth (one name) and Chester Brown. I also like their work so it’s weird to see them as characters in this book. But their conversations give as more insight into Joe Matt as we see him through their eyes. Yet all the while we know that we are seeing them through Joe Matt’s eyes as he looks at himself. Kinda neat. Kinda freaky.

    It could be said that Joe Matt is an “Everyman” but he is way to strange for that. Still he has to come to grips with the same things the everyman has too. Even if he does it in a completely different way. This is a book with a lot of introspection but little enlightenment. I like that because I’m tired of the whole notion of “enlightenment”. I think it’s good to think about things but I don’t believe that someone will throw a light switch and I’ll suddenly have all the answers. The questions are more interesting anyway. “Spent” is all about asking the questions. Don’t let ’em scare ya.