Artist Bio - JOE MATT

(Sept. 3, 1963 - Sept. 17, 2023)

Joe Matt was an autobiographical cartoonist, comic book creator, and graphic novelist, who died in 2023 in his Los Feliz (Los Angeles) California home at his drawing table, of a heart attack. He was best known for his honest, unfiltered autobiographical books, "Peepshow: The Cartoon Diary of Joe Matt," "The Poor Bastard," "Fair Weather," and "Spent."

Joseph David Matt III was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on September 3, 1963. He attended the Philadelphia College of Art, earning a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration in 1985. After art school, Joe lived in Toronto for 15 years, where he worked with his close friends and fellow comic artists. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he had lived since 2003.

He started drawing comics in 1987 and supplemented his income as a colorist. In addition to his cartooning career, he is known for his large collection of vintage Gasoline Alleycomic strips.

Matt began creating his autobiographical comic'Peepshow' in 1987. In 1992, his 'Peepshow' strips were serialized by Kitchen Sink Press under the title 'Peepshow: The Cartoon Diary of Joe Matt'. His work is now published by Canadian publishing house Drawn and Quarterly. In Peepshow, Joe Matt examines his inadequate social skills, his addiction to pornography, his cantankerous relationship with his then-girlfriend Trish, and the lingering effects of his Catholic upbringing.

Joe Matt's work on Peepshow is part of the autobiographical comics genre, kick-started by the confessional stories of Harvey Pekar and Robert Crumb. Along with these artists, Joe Matt's work frequently involves soliloquies "to camera". Peepshow is part of a self-referential universe that includes Matt's contemporaries Chester Brown and Seth, all of whom have included each other in their books.

In 2004, it was reported that HBO was developing an animated series based on Matt's comic "The Poor Bastard," a collection of stories within Peepshow #1 to #6. The series would be produced by Matt and David X. Cohen. However, Joe Matt later stated, "Yes, HBO was interested in making a series based on The Poor Bastard, but they came to their senses and changed their mind. Please feel sorry for me and buy the book when it comes back into print in January 2007."

A collection featuring Peepshow #11-14 titled Spent was released in June 2007. Matt had stated that "I'll soon be writing / drawing about L.A. for a book that most likely will not be released as single issues, but rather a self-contained book", but that project was never published.

Though Peepshow has developed a solid fan base, Matt has served as a colorist  for other comics to make ends meet, most notably on superhero comics, a genre which Matt himself dislikes. Among his credits as a colorist are the Batman / Grendel – Limited Series,  Fish PoliceMoebius: The Exotics and Jonny Quest.

Matt received recognition for his work in the comics industry. For Peepshow, he was been nominated for four Harvey Awards: for Best New Talent in 1990 and for the Award for Humor in 1991, 1992, and 1993.

Despite his view on coloring as a task that merely "pays the bills", Matt was nominated for a 1989 Harvey Award for his coloring work on the Batman/Grendel series.

  • Peepshow #1–14 (Drawn & Quarterly), February 1992 – October 2006)
  • Peepshow - The Cartoon Diary of Joe Matt, 1992 (Kitchen Sink)/1999 (Drawn & Quarterly), a collection of mostly one-page strips, usually dealing with a single subject, originally published between 1987 and 1991.

  • The Poor Bastard, 1996 (Drawn & Quarterly), which collects stories published in Peepshow #1–6. This book chronicles Matt's relationship and breakup with then-girlfriend Trish.

  • Joe Matt's "Jam" Sketchbook , 1998, Collaborations with Chris Ware, Seth, Chester Brown, Julie DoucetAdrian Tomine,Marc BellJames KochalkaIvan Brunetti, Steven Weisman, and others (limited print).

  • Fair Weather, 2002 (Drawn & Quarterly), which collects Peepshow #7–10. In this book Matt chronicles an episode from his childhood in 1970s suburbia.

  • Spent, 2007 (Drawn & Quarterly), which collects Peepshow #11–14. In this book, Matt chronicles a story arc that documents his obsessive “editing” of porn videos.

    Joe's sister Monica DeRosa has set up a memorial page for him, where friends and fans can share their rememberances:


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