25 October 2007

This book put a smile on my face. The voyeur in me couldn’t put it down until I turned the last of its 120 pages. It's a breeze to read, and funny to boot.

I think its one of the best things I've read this year. It's just very entertaining & enjoyable. If summed up, the book shows little more than Joe talking to himself in his 1-bedroom dwelling, watching porn, and a few (real-world) conversations with his 2 cartooning friends Seth & Chester Brown.

But the way it's done is something else!

If you like R.Crumb’s self-loathing comics, then I daresay you’ll get a kick out of this book. I sure did. Joe’s first collection of ‘Peepshow’ (Called ‘The Poor Bastard’) collects his life with his ex-girlfriend, and as such shows a more gregarious lifestyle (Well... as gregarious as Joe can get). This collection (Spent), shows his life ‘after’ the relationship is over. He's alone, and aside from brief chats with a friend or two, is largely introspective and contemplative.

Joe's art & writing are refreshingly clean & simple. Though blunt & honest, Joe doesn't just point at the world and say "You are to blame!" - (far from it) - In fact he's constantly pointing the finger at himself. He recognizes that he's the reason for his lot in life, but knows himself enough to accept it. You get the feeling that Joe is his own 'shrink', and getting it out on paper helps him makes sense of it all. (Though publishing it for the world to see took some balls!)

'Spent' really is like reading someone’s diary. A beautifully drawn and funny diary. For the price, you really are getting a lot in a hard-bound and well made comicbook.

I can't recommend it enough.


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