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I'm surprised how often I see references to comic books in journals that I read and websites that I visit. You'd think they were still popular.

I rarely mention the comics side of my business. But I thought I'd direct the attention of those of you who go to comic shops to a couple of this week's releases.

A few people have remarked how honest my journal is. I've never been nor will I ever be as honest as Joe Matt whose Peep Show #13 came out this week. Drawn in a nice, fluid clean line, Peep Show is the most unpleasantly self-revelatory comic since Harvey Pekar created the genre with American Spendor back in the 70s.

A few years back he published an account of how wildly he was in lust with one of his girlfriend's friends. The story cost him his girlfriend. He recounted the breakup as well. In this issue you can read about how he pees in a jar, spends hours editing his porno collection, how unscrupulously he treats his few friends. There's never a hint of self-celebration, he never strikes a pose. He's pretty disgusting.

Peter Bagge is in the small group of haute comic book cartoonists who started in the 80s and early 90s: Seth, Chester Brown, Richard Sala, Charles Brown, Daniel Clowes*, and (who may be the greatest comics cartoonist since Robert Crumb) Chris Ware. As their readership continues to decline Marvel and DC have tried turning their heroes over to small-press cartoonists. This doesn't often work out. The cartoonits admirers aren't going to read Bat-Man no matter who writes and draws it. And the conventional comic book junkie is baffled that such weird things happen to his heroes.

Bagge is best known for Hate which he suspended when he decided he'd done all that was worth doing with the material. This week brought The Megalomaniacal Spider-man. Since it doesn't compare with the best of Bagge's Buddy Bradley stories I wasn't wholly happy with it. But some of you who visit comic shops might enjoy seeing the Spiderman mythology laughed at and thrown in the trash can.

* The recent indy movie Ghost World is based on a story line from his comic book, Eightball.

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