Toronto Cartoonist Matthew Blackett is best known around town as Matt B, who (until recently) chronicled life in the T-dotÂ in his weekly comic strip for Eye Magazine, http://mattbcomic.com/. More recently though, he’s become known as the founder of Spacing magazine, and hisÂ contributions to city life have just recently been recognizedÂ by The Canadian Urban Institute.
Matt B has been awarded an Urban Leadership Award in the “City Soul” category, and whileÂ I’m not entirely sure what that actually means, itÂ sounds pretty impressive (particularly when you look at the company he’s keeping). It’s not surprising though, as Matt and Spacing have really changed political discourse in the city, and alongsideÂ organisations like The Toronto Public Space Comittee (which he’s also on)Â they’ve made a positive impact on ourÂ day-to-day. All because in his 3-panel comic strips many years ago, he really loved the city he lived in (or at least loved it enough to want to make it better).
Matt B is also one of the best self-promoters I’ve ever met, and please believe me when I say that’s meant as a compliment. He used to organise these great big launch parties every time he released a new issue of his self-published comic strip collections (you might call them “mini-comics”). Bands would play, money would be raised, comics would be sold, and it would all go back into building his brand, which would then help us as a retailer sell his graphic novel collection. It’s amazing, and a course of action that I wish more… if not every… self publisher or small press would follow themselves. Hell, it’s what we as a store have started doing with our own events (see: the Scott Pilgrim/Dinosaur Comics Launch).Â Matt also helped us launch the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in 2003, helping to secure the best bit of press we received. (See also: above, right).
So, yeah, I’m really happy to see the work that Matt’s doing recognized, even if it isn’t in cartooning. I think there’s a similar mindset of really wanting to reach people with his message that’s carried through all of his projects, and he certainly worked hard enough for the success he’s achieved. Congrats, sir!