I guess I always thought that spite would keep him alive, and that Joe Matt would live to be 120, with his lifestyle of frugality and pettiness keeping him going long past his contemporaries. And I was sure that he would be producing comics tales about being a shitty old man for years to come.
But Joe only made half that, and even without much in the way of new comics from the artist recently, it still hit so hard.
Because his comics were always so good - full of self-loathing and nitpicking to such an inhuman degree that I'm still confused about how much of it was an act. Judging by the tales from his pals, there wasn't much exaggeration in his depiction of his own frugality, but i always thought it was more of a Curb Your Enthusiasm thing, where it's clearly Joe Matt, just more Joe Matt-ish.
What I am sure of is that his art was always so fucking beautiful. Joe dealt with the grubbiest of subjects with the most open and inviting of styles, and you'd find yourself happily reading pages and pages of his attempts to edit together the ultimate porn video tape because the art was so smooth and appetizing.
There is certainly bravery in showing yourself as such a total shitheel, but I'll miss Matt's small exaggerations and clear storytelling most of all. He was also a shit-hot colorist.
I just thought he was always the finest natural artist of that beautiful little comics clique he lucked into, and he seemed happy doing weird little Batman and Judge Dredd sketch commissions in his later years. They were beautiful. His comics were always beautiful, even when he was just wanking all over the page.