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Baker's Dozen

Dr. Manhattan: Jeffrey Lewis' Favourite Comics
Aug Stone , December 15th, 2015 10:22

Aug Stone talks to the NYC musician and comic book creator about bizarre autobiographies, superheroes and (SPOILER) a whole lot of Alan Moore, as he finishes his UK tour in support of new album, Manhattan

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Joe Matt - Peepshow
I wish Joe Matt would be more prolific, because Peepshow is one of the most entertaining comics. It's a really big influence on my songwriting actually. It was from Peepshow that I originally got the idea in the '90s that, now matter how lousy your life was, if you used that as fodder, you could make art out of your petty romantic tragedies and seeing yourself as a loser. I think Joe Matt just does this so hilariously. I love his style of drawing and his style of writing.

It's hard to say why this one stands head and shoulders above any other comic of its type, because a million people make autobiographical comic books. It's one of the easiest things to do because you don't have to write a story. With this it's his storytelling style, and the kind of stories that he's telling. I don't think anybody could read Peepshow and not be blown away by it. It's so funny and so different from other stuff. Peepshow was one of the comics that I discovered on the independent rack in the back of the comics store, and from the first issue that I bought I was immediately like, "I gotta get more of this."

Another thing that I feel really connects Snakepit and Peepshow as autobiographical comics is that there's no narration in either one describing things from a removed point of view. Everything that you're reading is taking place in the moment without the creator putting it in a context and interpreting it for you. The creator just puts what happened out there and it's all very alive, taking place within the moment and the interactions. You're really free as the reader to laugh or cry at the character. I feel that a lot of people make the mistake when doing autobiographical stuff of explaining it or trying to put too many details in because they're talking about their own life. So that's what makes Snakepit and Peepshow both great autobiographical comics, there's very little overcontrol in that sense.


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Rockin' Rom
Dec 15, 2015 11:32am

Great selections, eloquent descriptions. I haven't thought about Rom the Spaceknight in years, I must be a similar age to Lewis I guess, how I loved that comic.

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Jeff
Dec 15, 2015 7:46pm

The world of comics is extremely dense with amazing work, and has been for decades... but Alan Moore is one of those writers where, if somebody asked me about the single best author in the medium, it would be a no-brainer. Miracleman, Swamp Thing, and Watchmen alone... and that's ignoring a LOT. Those are my "big 3" from him.

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Ott
Dec 15, 2015 9:58pm

Very well written, great insights.

Do any of you know the book "Flicker's Fleas"? (http://www.amazon.com/Flickers-fleas-Ken-Struck/dp/B0006RXSA6)

I picked this up in early '00 in Tallinn Estonia, in a local comics shop. A completely bonkers story of a heroin addicted saxophone player, who has inherited a flea sircus. Wierdly delirious and a paranoid book.

I was just wondering if any of you has ever heard of it, or knows anything about it?

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Scott
Dec 16, 2015 12:39pm

Love Peepshow, one of my all-time favourite comics, great to see it mentioned here.

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Grimbo
Dec 17, 2015 7:32pm

In reply to Jeff:

Those are all fantastic, but I would add "From Hell" to that list. "Swamp Thing" is a gorgeous series, though.

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danlor
Apr 5, 2016 2:12pm

I'm always amazed at not finding these lists filled with 2000AD stuff, particularly Dredd. As far as I'm concerned Dredd is the best comics character ever made, and 2000AD by itself can easily compete, in terms of quality, with the entire American industry. It almost never gets a mention tho.

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