Joe Matt, autobiographical cartoonist, comic book creator, and graphic novelist, died Sunday, September 17th in his Los Feliz home. He was best known for his honest, unfiltered autobiographical books, “Peepshow: The Cartoon Diary of Joe Matt,” “The Poor Bastard,” “Fair Weather,” and “Spent.”
The outpouring of tributes, portraits, and personal posts, from friends and fans around the world, was a testament to how many people genuinely loved Joe and his work.
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 artists, Chester Brown and Seth. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he had lived since 2003.
Joe rode his bike everywhere. He loved drinking hot Americanos. He had elaborate strategies on how to be thrifty, and would happily share them in great detail. He loved Charles Schultz’s Peanuts. He loved bookstores, DVDs, toys, and treasures from his childhood and bygone eras. Joe saw the world with a wide-eyed childlike awe, and sincere optimism. He always smiled, was polite to everyone, and felt deep gratitude for everything he received.
Joe genuinely bonded with people everywhere he went. He was one of the rare few who walked among us who was authentically himself all the time. There were no masks, there was no agenda. Ask anyone who has ever met him, and you will find he was always himself. Joe deeply respected the comic medium and made every creative choice for a reason.
After moving to Los Angeles in 2003, Joe mainly lived in Los Feliz on the same block for 20 years. He found relief in the drier, warmer climate of Southern California and could be found walking or riding his bicycle throughout the Hollywood, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park neighborhoods on a daily basis. If he wasn’t at Amoeba Music scouring the DVD and used books sections and chatting it up with Chris, he could be found at Choke (now Virgil Normal) sipping Americanos and playing pinball with his favorite people there including Nick, Jeff, and Aimee. He could also be found at Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake chatting with Dave and David about all things comics and at the now gone Meltdown Comics where he was known to make trades for credit with Gaston and where he befriended Patty and remained close friends with her until his unexpected departure. Joe often housesat and dogsat for his closest friends in L.A., Kevin and Lauren, whom he knew from Philly while in college.
Joe had friends and fans all over the world. His heart and mind, though, were always in these three places as he was a nostalgic soul. Toronto, Canada - where his two closest friends, Seth and Chester Brown, still reside, and where Joe launched his career as an autobiographical cartoonist. Philadelphia and Lansdale, Pennsylvania - where Joe grew up, went to college, and where his family members still reside. And Los Angeles, California - where he developed many close friendships over the last 20 years.
Joe was unmarried and had no children. His longest relationship was with Vicki that lasted nearly eight years and with whom he lived in Los Feliz. Joe was known among his community of friends, family, and acquaintances in the neighborhood and at his favorite bookstore - Skylight Books on Vermont - to be the chipper gentleman with a childlike inquisitiveness and curiosity of people and the world. He was often out on long walks alone or with friends, at lunch with his usual cadre of fellow artists, browsing books and DVDs, or spending time with his favorite neighborhood cats.
Joe left us at a young 60 years old and is survived by mother Judith, sister Monica, and brothers Christopher and Peter. He was a beloved uncle to his nieces Jia, Emily, and Marigold. A private memorial will be held in Philadelphia with his family. A public memorial will be held in L.A. at a later date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe's name to Best Friends Animal Society would be appreciated. Everyone knew of Joe's love for animals.
Please feel free to share memories, photos or videos on the EverLoved site for Joe Matt.
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