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Thursday, May 03, 2007

SPENT reviews

The release of Joe Matt's new book is getting closer and reviews are popping up. Los Angeles Magazine featured Spent on their BUZZ/Book Briefs page (pictured here), alongside a nod towards the store Family, which also name-drops Optic Nerve. "In the 23rd century all bookstores will be this cool: Imagine if the smartest, hippest guy you knew in college opened a bookstore, and you'll get a sense of Family..."

Anyway, back to Spent. As Library Journal Xpress Reviews sums-up, "Matt's unique adventures include making porn buys in a coffee shop, creating his personal porn compilation tapes (in detailed, step-by-step descriptions), having heated conversations with fellow cartoonists about his art and life, and pissing in a giant bottle so he can avoid his other housemates, whom he finds repulsive and distasteful. Flashbacks show how the social awkwardness of his teen years has carried over to the present, in which he has trouble finding and keeping a girlfriend and seeks shelter in porn... These tales could easily have been too grim, sad, and perverse to be readable, but they are saved by the affecting, self-aware, and deeply personal way in which Matt relates them, as well as the strangely cheerful artwork that humanizes his strange adventures and injects a surprising likability into his world."

Canada's Quill & Quire compares a chapter of Spent to Seinfeld and declares, "Spent is funny, painful, and ultimately about nothing. Think of it as a guilty pleasure." And this week's Eye Weekly out of Toronto (where Joe Matt lived illegally for over a decade) asks, "Why read about such a repellent personality? Because even when Spent edges towards autobio-comics parody--with the self-aware, self-pitying Matt noting 'it's not even a story... just page after page of me whining about porn'--it remains inexplicably compelling, a portrait of sweaty insecurity rendered with precise visual storytelling and funny, expressive cartooning."


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