Monday, December 3, 2018

What I Learned from My Friend, Matt Hoffman

(Photo by Matt Hoffman)

I could write a book about Matt. Okay, I believe that I will write a book about Matt. Wait a minute, I already am writing a book about Matt. That's what this shit is, people.

First of all, to his parents, whom I hope are reading this: thank you so much for bringing him into this world. Though our friendship became strained over the past five years over petty nonsense (we lived around the corner from each other and contributed to the same magazine, making it all too easy for two egos to become rubbed the wrong way), he had an enormous, positive impact on my life that has hit me with one epiphany after another over the past week. 

In memory of Matt, I'm allowing myself the right to be even more of a loose cannon: I will laugh when everyone is being too goddamned serious; I will laugh at those who attempt to make me the butt of their jokes; I will laugh whenever, because he had the best laugh, and mine ain't too shabby, either, and laughing at the preconceived notions of others who think they have the world figured out ought to be an Olympic sport. Matt was a Gold Medalist. My aim is to swap my Bronze Medal for Gold sometime in 2020.

We're all too serious. We've all forgotten how to allow ourselves to laugh for all the reasons and no reason at all.

In memory of Matt, I will laugh loudest over anyone who reeks of money and/or privilege.

In memory of Matt, I will laugh at anyone who blames their shitty day, year, or life on minimum wage employees who are trying their damnedest to fucking survive.

In memory of Matt, I will laugh... I will laugh in the hopes that it will cause an avalanche of laughter all around me... I will laugh because when I needed to laugh to lighten my load and reinforce my armor against the haters, I dropped the damned ball.

In memory of Matt, I will laugh at anyone making an attempt at picking apart my end of the conversation and trying too desperately to armchair analyze me while I'm talking. Especially if they cut me off to speed things along to a "punchline." Especially still if they're drunk.

In memory of Matt, please allow me to share the photo below, taken in the spring of 2013, methinks. On the right is Matt Shaw, co-publisher and editor of Speak Up Magazine, in the middle is my cartoon, "What Does a Homeless Person Look Like?", and on the left is our man, Matt Hoffman, in his full biking kit.

In memory of Matt, my laughter is going to be a cluster bomb of love.

(Photo by David Alan Goldberg)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Dear Matt Hoffman, Surfing the Carbon Particles of the Universe As We Speak...

(Photo by Matt Hoffman)

One of the many things I loved about you was that you pushed the hell out of people's buttons, although often enough you did it to me, and you didn't know how to stop until I would catch you on one of your many brilliant, multi-layered, conspiracy-theory-laden tirades where you would drop something I could easily interject with, "What makes you think that?" and like magic, it derailed you long enough for me to gather myself and get on the next bus.

Speaking of the bus... and the train... or anywhere your presence found itself, it was a treat watching you enter, spark up a conversation to all within earshot (your voice carried, so yeah, everyone within that general area), and zero in on one or two people, pull them into the conversation, talking and laughing toward their stunned silence, then between sentences or to highlight an idea, look around smirking to check your audience. On these occasions, you always locked eyes with me, and I would either return the smirk or give you the Fred Armisen stare. 

Bearing witness to your putting the straights on edge was worth your earthly weight in gold.

(Photo by Matt Hoffman)

Our friend Erin said it best about you, remembering that astonishing spirit of yours that would put many on edge (fuck 'em)...

"He always made me smile. He was banned from most of the places I ever worked because he scared people and every time I had to be like, 'Dude! Just treat him like a person! He's harmless, just looking for a reaction!' Man, I'm gonna miss that weirdo and his yellow bag. People are scared of anything that's even close to different from the norm. I might play off 'normal' pretty well but I know the other side just as well."

Earlier this evening, I flashed on that... and as I boarded the inbound LYNX train from the J.W. Clay Station, about seven UNCC students also boarded. They were nice enough but too squeaky clean. Kinda like we already know that Greg Olsen is headed to Canton, Ohio almost immediately after he retires from the NFL, these kids, every last one of them, will wind up in corporate hell with their very own cubicle. It was time to turn my whacko flame on high... 


That was the difference between us. To most everyone, you seemed like you were always on, always burning bright. Myself, on the other hand, I've always been about the slow burn and deathly silence. Then I envisioned Jim Morrison and Tim Buckley entering Barney's Beanery in the middle of the night, both lit up like the Fourth of July on their respective "cocktails", winking and smirking at each other, then going about their business like nothing happened.

Opposites attract.

That's where the comparison ends. We will never, alas, be as pretty as Jim Morrison or Tim Buckley... but I was letting you in on my LYNX ride from Saturday evening (It's now a quarter after 1:00 AM on Sunday morning)...

Two of those UNCC students, a young couple, a lady and a gentleman, were sitting in a window seat facing me across the aisle as I had a right side window seat. She was loud, screechy loud, while he was agreeable to safely volley from his end. They were carrying on a benign conversation about cooking. She would make sound infallible one-sentence arguments like, "Listen, I've seen Hell's Kitchen on The Food Network, okay?"

We rumble along the track toward downtown Charlotte (I will never call it "uptown"), I'm casting my gaze upward, making weird shifts in my seat, bending over sideways toward them... looking around without looking at them. I'm smiling, hell, I'm grinning like a madman. He asks her, "I wonder how close Parkwood Station is?" Within a couple seconds, he realized that's where we stopped, adding with surprised laughter, "Oh my god! There it is! All we had to do was look out the window!" I turn to look out the window, myself, blurting...


Everyone on the train fell silent. I kept grinning. About a minute later, conversations resumed.

We finally reach CTC/Arena Station. I stand up, grab my bag, and while they're standing behind me, I look toward the seat talking to a person that very much isn't there. 

"Okay, let's go... listen, dude, I know you love to make eyes at the fellas, but you gotta stop complimenting the cops on their batons."

Nervous muttering then silence from the young'uns.

Good times. Good times.

(Photo by Matt Hoffman)

Je suis, baby. Je suis.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Conclusive Proof That I Don't Need Inktober to Flaunt the Skills of My Pimp Hand

Cartoonists everywhere are subsisting on Cup Noodles and Red Bulls. You can help by throwing Pop Tarts and Slim Jims into that equation for this cartoonist. Won't you please help sponsor a cartoonist wondering where his next Pop Tart and Slim Jim will be coming from as he types this slowly and groggily with two fingers at 2:00 AM?  

My PayPal link is on the right. Thank you kindly. Seriously, many thanks if you can donate a couple bucks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Here is the Extent of My Inktober (Part Two) and Making My Own Sketchbooks Has Become a Thing and DAMN! I Love Sonic Youth and Charlotte Zine Fest Was the BOMB

That time Henry Eudy (pronounced OOOOOOOOOODEE) was murdered by J. Chris Campbell at HeroesCon 2013 here in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Henry talks shit about himself all the time. There's nothing we can do about it at all. He's a sweet dude, really. Cartoonists everywhere are living in the turgid filth of self-deprecation. Won't you sponsor a cartoonist wallowing in the despair of self-loathing? 

Original photo by Josh Latta. He's a naughty man. We love him.

My PayPal link is on the right. Thank you kindly. Seriously, many thanks if you can donate a couple bucks.

I'm saving up for a better phone with a better camera. Smartphones be expensive, y'all

I'm also making my own sketchbooks, now... here's one of them. Yes, I bound it with wool yarn and duct tape. You don't have to remind me that I'm a friggin' slob.

Here's another sketchbook I made. I held it together with wool yarn while I rebound the original pages with the original spirals upside-down and ass-backwards. The surviving members of The Byrds hate my guts, now.

Sonic Youth is the shit. Really, they're amazing. Random, I know... but, Sonic Youth? I mean, come on, who doesn't love Sonic Youth?

My haul from the first ever zine fest in Charlotte (held at C3 Lab) back in October. I will be reviewing all of them here. Please stay tuned.

Again, if you enjoy the quality of my content as I continue making it better with every post, won't you please consider making a small donation to my PayPal? The link is on the right.

Here is the Extent of My Inktober (Part One) and Matt Hoffman

Man, who don't love Romy Schneider. What a babe of the silver screen. I drew this while reflecting on "Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century" by Greil Marcus (quoted on the left page).

That time when Muhammed Ali met André the Giant.

(Photo by Matt Hoffman)

This post is dedicated to my longtime friend and pain in the ass, Matt. For twenty-one years, we bent over backward for each other, made each other laugh hysterically, and were absolutely shitty to one another. No matter how hard he pushed our buttons and pushed us away while cackling maniacally, we came back. We always came back because we really loved him and knew what a really good heart he had.

Matthew Nicholas Hoffman
Dec. 9th, 1978 - Nov. 25th, 2018
"je suis avant garde"