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Drawn & Quarterly Artist Joe Matt Passes Away at Age 60

With profound sorrow and remorse, I announce the passing of Joe Matt, a distinguished comic book creator and cartoonist, renowned for his groundbreaking autobiographical comic book series, Peepshow. This luminary of the comic world departed from us at the age of 60, tragically succumbing to a heart attack just yesterday, while he was diligently hunched over his drawing board, doing what he loved most.

Peepshow, originally conceived as a series of comic strips, found its rightful place as a comic book under the banner of Drawn & Quarterly in 1991. Over the years, this exceptional series earned Joe Matt a multitude of accolades, including the prestigious Eisner Awards. However, its true distinction lies in its unflinchingly raw and self-critical portrayal of the author’s perspective on life, women, pornography, and his role within the cartoonist community.

In its heyday, Peepshow stood alongside other celebrated slice-of-life comics of its era, sharing the limelight with luminaries such as Robert Crumb, Peter Bagge, Seth, Roberta Gregory, Ed Brubaker, Dan Clowes, and Chester Brown. Remarkably, some of these luminaries even made appearances within the pages of Peepshow itself, creating a unique tapestry of interconnected narratives.

Critics didn’t hold back in denouncing Peepshow for its perceived sexism, yet what set this series apart was its unapologetic willingness to turn the lens of criticism inward. Joe Matt’s creation, like a mirror reflecting his own flaws and vulnerabilities, spared no one, least of all itself. It laid bare the imperfections and contradictions inherent in the human experience, inviting readers to confront uncomfortable truths.

Joe Matt’s penchant for frugality was a recurring theme in his series, and it turned the famous penny-pincher, Jack Benny, into a lavish spender by comparison. It was as if Joe Matt could squeeze a nickel until the buffalo on it begged for mercy!

The loss of Joe Matt, we remember not only his artistic prowess but also his courage to lay bare his innermost thoughts and insecurities on the pages of Peepshow. His work will forever be remembered as a testament to the power of introspection, even in the face of controversy, and a lasting contribution to the world of comics.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Joe Matt eventually relocated to Canada in 1988, where he resided until 2002. During his time in Canada, he became a well-known patron of Toronto’s iconic comic store, The Beguiling. However, in 2002, he returned to the United States and settled in Los Angeles.

Joe Matt’s artistic endeavors left a lasting impact, influencing prominent figures such as Matt Groening and David X, co-creator of Futurama. They attempted to bring the first collection of Peepshow, titled “The Poor Bastard,” to the small screen with a TV pilot, although regrettably, their efforts did not come to fruition.

Joe Matt’s Peepshow served as a wellspring of inspiration for television writers Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong, the brilliant minds behind the acclaimed series Succession. This influence led them to create their own TV show, “Peep Show,” which explored the daily lives of two London flatmates, exploring a multitude of relatable issues and themes reminiscent of the comic itself.

As someone who understands the challenges of living with a heart condition, my heart goes out to Joe’s family during this difficult time. I’ve been in a situation where I was perilously close to a life-threatening event myself. Joe, I want to express my gratitude for your creative contributions, which have touched the lives of many.

I’m still having a hard time grappling with the fact that Joe barely made it past 60. It really seemed like he was going to outlive us all. I’m really grateful for the time I got to know Joe and work with him.Julia Pohl-Miranda