In 1987 Joe Matt began work on the autobiographical comic series Peepshow (later instalments of which are collected in The Poor Bastard). Peepshow quickly became an underground hit for its painfully honest accounts of Matts dysfunctionalMoreIn 1987 Joe Matt began work on the autobiographical comic series Peepshow (later instalments of which are collected in The Poor Bastard). Peepshow quickly became an underground hit for its painfully honest accounts of Matts dysfunctional relationships and his obsession with pornography, but Matt challenged his audience by turning to his childhood years in the 1995-1997 Fair Weather storyline.
Fair Weather takes place over a weekend in young Matts life, but this return to the past is anything but nostalgic. He spends most of the weekend alienating friends and family and attempting to avoid being beaten up by an former pal. Matt is on the verge of adolescence in the comic, and his awkward--and sometimes cruel--encounters with girls foreshadow the problems in his adult relationships. The foundation of Matts life as a comic artist is also laid here, as he spends the weekend trying to find a copy of Action Comics No. 1 and track down his comics collection, which his mother has hidden.
Despite some fans complaints about Fair Weather lacking Peepshows usual focus on sexual obsessions and the failures of love, it is in many ways Matts most challenging work. Its a searingly honest self-portrait of the artist as a truly horrible youth: self-centered, greedy, uncaring, unsure of himself, and simultaneously contemptuous and fearful of the world.
As in the case of other Peepshow comics, readers may find Matt repugnant and unlikable, but at the same time they cant help but identify with him just a little. While Fair Weather reads well enough as a stand-alone account of childhood, its real strength lies in the way that it fleshes out the rest of Matts life. If Peepshow is Joe Matts autobiography, Fair Weather is his secret diary. --Peter Darbyshire