cover image Spent


Joe Matt, . . Drawn & Quarterly, $19.95 (124pp) ISBN 978-1-897299-11-1

After a long absence, Matt returns in all his absurdly conflicted, tortured glory. In the tradition of Bukowski and R. Crumb, his tale turns on his disgust with himself and all of humanity, and, like the greats, Matt entertains as he cringes. His paradoxically clean and cheerful art is as likable as his persona is unlikable in this tale of avarice, obsession and masturbation. The episodic story begins in a bookstore, where Matt swoops in on a book he knows his friend, fellow cartoonist Seth, would love; Matt buys the book and then sells it to Seth at an obscene markup. The action moves on to Matt's latest porn purchases, then stops by a coffee shop, where the author chews over his shortcomings with a third member of their cartoonist gang, Chester. Interposed are memories of childhood and scenes from Matt's room in a boarding house, where his laziness and disgust with his fellow humans lead him to urinate in the largest jars he can find in order to avoid using the communal bathroom. The title indicates that Matt's well aware of his entrenched personal issues—but this self-awareness never translates to any kind of epiphany or behavioral change. Those hoping for uplift will go wanting. (May)