MATT HOWARTH'S ATTIC
Perhaps best known as the writer/artist of the "Those Annoying Post Bros." comic book series, Matt Howarth has many outlets for his twisted creativity. And all of them are notoriously "strange".
During his career of four decades, Matt has authored and drawn a variety of unconventional comic books and graphic novels, and contributed graphic fiction to numerous publications in the field of comics and science fiction...and music. For, among all of Matt's creative outlets, there runs the influence of alternative and electronic music. He has found several ways to achieve this crossover of diverse genres.
From 1987 to 1994, Matt did a comic book series called "Savage Henry" (about the wacky adventures of a guitarist from an alternate reality). Most issues of this series featured authorized guest appearances by real musicians; among them: the Residents, Hawkwind, Moby, Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze, Nash the Slash, Foetus, Yello, Wire, Steve Roach, Richard Pinhas, Ron Geesin, David Borden, and more. Conrad Schnitzler (an original member of Tangerine Dream and Kluster) was a regular guest in this series and several graphic novels.
In the early 1980s, Matt did a minicomic series entitled "The Comix of Two Cities", based on lifeforms created by the Residents in the band's "Mark of the Mole" trilogy of albums. In the late 1990s, these stories were reprinted as a comic book series.
In 1979, Matt collaborated with Gong's Daevid Allen on a short comic strip which was published in the Planet Gong Newspaper, a free giveaway in conjunction with Gong's debut USA Tour.
Perhaps one of his strangest creations is Matt's "Konny & Czu" series, chronicling the antics of a pair of interstellar con artists. Besides Matt's innovative storytelling and meticulous art, what makes these strips unique is that they feature absolutely no human beings or any remotely terrestrial lifeforms. Even in this hard science, deep space science fiction tales, Matt's musical predilections creep in, witnessed by the names of the two protagonist characters: Konny being derived from the name of German electronic music producer Konny Plank, and Czu being inspired by Can's bassist Holger Czukay.
Another of Matt's sci-fi creations is the "Keif Llama: Xenotech" series, featuring the adventures of a plucky troubleshooter coping with problems between mankind and alien civilizations.
Matt has done cover art for numerous independent musical releases (cassette tapes, albums, and compact discs); among them: Conrad Schnitzler, the Nightcrawlers, the Muffins, Scornflakes, and the University of Errors.
In the early 1980s, Matt began doing music reviews in comic strip form for Heavy Metal magazine. Soon after, he began a weekly music review comic strip for a local newspaper, which evolved into his Sonic Curiosity comics. These comic strip reviews were widely published and internationally reprinted during the 1980s and 1990s, gaining him quite a reputation. Some time in the 1990s, Matt switched over to doing straight text music reviews, claiming that prose allowed him deeper opportunities to describe the music in question. In 1998, the Sonic Curiosity website was created to distribute Matt's relentless music reviews. From 2000 to 2001, Matt wrote a weekly music column for Space.com.
A culmination (in Matt's opinion) of his desire to merge comics with music has been a series of collaborations he's done with a variety of internationally renowned musicians: in which a comic strip by him comes as a PDF file on the CD, while the band's music is a loose soundtrack inspired by his story. So far, he has done this type of collab with: Arthur Brown, Michael Chocholak, German synthesists Fanger & Schonwalder, Galactic Anthems, ex-Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper, Legendary Pink Dots, Mental Anguish, Bill Nelson, Ozone Player, Quarkspace, Radio Massacre International, Conrad Schnitzler, Klaus Schulze, and Syndromeda, with more in the works. Matt has also written a collection of short stories (Enriched Visions) inspired by the ambient soundscapes of Robert Rich.
It is plainly evident that Matt Howarth is obsessed with strange music, and he is not about to stop incorporating such things into his creative efforts.
In 1992, Matt's work inspired a thesis which was published in a Semiotics textbook by the University Press of America.
Among Matt's notable non-musically related works are: two issues of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (the adult edition); scripts for DC Comics' "Justice League of America"; doing comedy comics for the International Star Trek Conventions in the early 1970s (before the fans coined the term trekkies); doing illustrations for several novels by SF author Philip K. Dick; crafting several horror strips for Steve Bissette's "Taboo" anthologies; work on Harlan Ellison's "Dream Corridor" series; illustrations for Warren Ellis' "Transmetropolitan" series; fiction for Amberzine, a publication devoted to Roger Zelazny's Amber series; an original graphic story collaboration in 1977 with SF Grand Master Hal Clement; numerous illustrations for the 1984 Dune Encyclopedia; a short strip for Donna Barr's "Desert Peach" series; "Tryxxx", an erotic SF graphic novel; strips for the SubGenius Church; a collaboration with award winning horror author Nancy A. Collins in his "Those Annoying Post Bros." series; work for Phil Foglio's "Xxxenophile" series; Several adaptations of classic literature (by H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allen Poe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, and The Cabinet of Dr Caligari) for Graphic Classics; cover art and numrous interior illustrations for the textbook series "Strange Tales from Liaozhai" by ancient Chinese poet Pu Songling; graphic adaptations of stories by award winning authors Greg Bear and Vernor Vinge for the World Science Fiction Conventions; and--believe it or not--even more.
Since 2000, Matt has self-published over 100 digital publications, ranging from Post Bros comics to Keif Llama full color graphic novels to text novels to one-shot sci-fi pubs (all of which are available from his online catalog at www.bugtownmall.com).
Recently, two print volumes have been published which collect three deacdes worth of Matt's short graphic fiction (with new material): "My Name Is Lesion" (collecting his horror work), and "Western Promise" (collecting his sci-fi work).
He is currently working on a variety of new projects.
It may stop, but it never ends.