Ordinary world

Ordinary world
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First Published: Sat, Apr 19 2008. 12 14 AM IST

Anti-hero: A young man’s mundane life.
Anti-hero: A young man’s mundane life.
Updated: Sat, Apr 19 2008. 12 14 AM IST
The book is called Spent and its cover shows a young man, face down in a state of spent bliss. He is surrounded by a few tissues just so everyone gets the message.
Yes, Joe Matt’s book is about masturbation (in parts) just like The Who’s Pictures of Lily and Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint were (again, in part). But there is more to it.
This is the first book written by Matt that I have read and from what I can
Anti-hero: A young man’s mundane life.
gather, he isn’t a big name in comics yet. I say yet because Matt’s work shows promise and definitely deserves more attention than it has received. Spent is largely autobiographical and also deals with the subject’s fascination and obsession with pornographic films. At another level, however, it can probably be classified as “stoner humour” although purists are unlikely to find anything remotely funny in a book that deals with pornography and masturbation.
Spent is also about nothing in particular. There is no good guy, no bad guy, no plot to destabilize the world and no romantic interest. (What? No women prancing around in unitards?) The book is simply the story of one young man’s mundane existence. The monotony of this existence is captured by Matt in two ways. One, all pages in the 124-page book have exactly the same number of panels in the same shapes and sizes—a unique thing among comic books. Two, the colour scheme is simply black, white and green, not the most common ones for a comic.
Spent is published by Drawn and Quarterly, a small Canadian publishing firm that has some very interesting authors?in?its?catalogue. It was also the first firm to get in touch with this columnist and offer to send pdfs of their fresh releases for preview.?I refused the offer. Cult Fiction is more?about?serendipity and maintaining a growing collection of comics than it is about reviewing the latest work.
Write to Sukumar at cultfiction@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Apr 19 2008. 12 14 AM IST