Tribute Comic to Joe Matt


After learning of Joe Matt’s passing last year I was in shock. All those years ago when I started making comics I came across Joe’s work and it changed how I saw comics and what I wanted to do with my work. A few years later I came across David Collier’s work which had a similar and subsequent effect on my work. But now that Joe Matt was gone, it felt like a big part of my artistic dream was gone. It sounds dramatic and perhaps a touch silly, but that was my immediate reaction. 

Before I heard the news, I had already been intimately studying Joe work for the umpteenth time. I’d been exploring lettering and art sizes, trying to find the perfect one for both. I loved Joe’s comics and so I got out my ruler and measured his panels, lettering sizes, brush work. Copying and redrawing pages. One thing that struck me is the deceptive simplicity of his work. There was nuance and subtlety in his line work that wasn’t immediately obvious unless you tried to copy it. 

I knew the best way to honour his memory and inspiration to me was to write a comic about him and his influence on my work. I set out do so just that. I worked slowly on the comic. Knowing that I couldn’t rush it. It had to be just right, no slacking off on quality. I had to try my utmost best. I had to put it down a couple of time to work on other pressing projects. At one stage I wasn’t sure if I would be able to finish it. A couple of months went by and the usual artistic doubts started creeping in, why am I doing this, is it any good…Then with TCAF fast approaching I got a renewed fire in me to finish it off. The idea was to include it in my new issue of Woodlands. I finished off the art, lettering and colours and started laying it out in the new book. I kept running into technical issues and had to redo the layout a few times. I then decided to cut it from the comic. I couldn’t risk any errors including it in the comic, I wanted it to be a certain way, any less would be disrespectful.

After deciding to go to print without the comic I felt bummed I couldn’t share it. But I had a pebble in my shoe. What if I could put it together in its own full colour mini comic. I was only a few days from flying to Toronto, was this too crazy, I still hadn’t completed the printing of the new Woodlands. However, it all came together (not without a few setbacks and last minute panic) in an amazing blur and I impressed myself with how the final comic looked. 

I only made a small print run, partly due to the limited time and partly because I knew I only needed a few copies to give away and few to sell to recoup costs. I’m so glad I got to print and take it there, as I was able to get a copy to Joe’s brother Peter and Joe’s former girlfriend Vickie. 

I’m completely out of copies now and have had a significant amount of inquiries about getting a copy. I’m don’t have definite plans to make a reprint. However, I’m leaning towards printing another run. I’m also really pleased with the format and look of the mini. So much so that I strongly considering making the same format (A5 full colour) for my next issue of Woodlands. 

If you’re interested in a copy of the comic, send me and email or DM on Instagram. 


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