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Fair Weather

by Joe Matt

Joe Matt’s autobiographical Peepshow was part of a wave of groundbreaking North American alternative comics in the early 1990s. Matt’s unflinching and unflattering portrayal of every sordid corner of his Catholic-guilt-ridden psyche earned him a reputation as an uncompromising artist that helped lead other comic artists to begin their own autobiographical works. He gave them permission to be brutally honest because, after all, they couldn’t be as bad or just plain petty as Joe Matt.

Matt eventually explored his childhood in Fair Weather, now collected for the first time. The bold, simple lines contrast the intense, contradictory emotions and complex relationships of childhood. Matt effectively uses a slowed, steady pacing to navigate the reader through the emotional geography that make up a boy’s world – his mother, his sister, his sole friend Dave, rides on his bicycle, his neighborhood, his comics collection. But this is no sentimental journey. Matt shows himself as a manipulative, selfish outcast alienating himself from everyone, and his clever use of metaphor – such as kids’ comics trading as a commentary on the nature of capitalism – allow for multiple readings.