“Battle not with monsters,
Lest ye become a monster.
And if ye gaze into the abyss,
The abyss gazes also into you.”
Hi there. My name is Matty Boy Anderson. I’m a cartoonist!
If you’re new to this site, thanks for coming, I’m glad you’re here. If you’re not, consider this a refresher course! This one’s for the noobs!
I was born in Manhattan in 1972, and I grew up in Glen Rock, New Jersey. I started drawing when I was two years old, and in school, I was classified as “gifted”, and placed in special programs designed to nourish my artistic self. My mother was an artist, but her career was cut short by severe multiple sclerosis, when I was very young. My father worked as a senior ad executive on Madison Avenue, and brought home reams of paper, pens and sheets of Prestype for me to use. Sometimes he brought me fancy bound blank books with gilded edges, so I could fill them with scribblings and feel like a real published author.
Shyness and apathy kept me from doing well in math and science. All I cared about was drawing. I drew comic pages and passed them around class, until they were taken away by the teacher. By senior high school, I was allowed to slide through based on my abilities, rather than be held back. The teachers and principal knew that my energies could not be diverted. Field trips to the Museum of Modern Art only made things more obvious.
My birth initials were “MMA”, which I decided was a cosmic connection to that great museum. If I was born more recently, I might’ve gone into mixed martial arts.
My hometown of Glen Rock was so idyllic, a kid like myself could wander around and explore with no problems. In nearby Fair Lawn, Nabisco was headquartered, which meant that for the first eighteen years of my life, everything smelled like cookies baking. Our houses all stank on the inside, because our moms all smoked like fiends, and got “home permanents”, driving us out into the woods on our dirt bikes.
I had a dirt bike until a jealous classmate punched the number plate on the front and cracked it in half, beginning a lifelong mistrust in others. I’ve never felt comfortable locking up and leaving a bicycle since, and in fact I don’t like people who ride bicycles at all. Hobbies are tiresome when they’re all about status and money (and shoving pedestrians off the sidewalk).
In sixth grade, I would draw pencil renditions of banned Garbage Pail Kids cards for fifty cents. In 2003, I would use these skills ghosting for Jay Lynch on the backs of “all-new series” GPKs, for much, much more than fifty cents.
In 1984, I became obsessed with Hasbro’s Transformers toys, and started drawing them. Currently I sell drawings of new Transformers for fifty dollars and up. My collection of Transformers numbers somewhere around 2,000 (educated guess). They vary in sentimental value from “some” to “overwhelming”.
Since childhood, excepting a few years here and there, I have had a hamster as a companion. I become very attached to these little creatures, despite my awareness of their limited lifespan. I grieve deeply when they pass on. I don’t like to hear people’s horror stories about hamster ownership, which they tend to bring up as soon as they learn I have one. Hamsters are tiny Zen gardeners. Sometimes the bright eyes of a hamster are all that keeps me going when I wake up in the morning.
My artwork is not my job. It is my religious calling. Laughter is my god.
I was raised Methodist Protestant. My first name is in the Bible; it means “gift of God”. The community church in my hometown was enormously supportive and helpful of myself and my ailing mother. I have seen in the people of my town a moral fibre and emotional healthiness that I feel is lacking in today’s society. Many of my classmates married young and had children, becoming strong, admirable families. I was the “black sheep”, and still am. Despite this, and my teenage transgressions, I was generally accepted by my peers. I still maintain friendships with many of them today.
Having witnessed first-hand the positive aspects of Catholic, Jewish, and Christian communities, I tend to mock those institutions less than some humorists might. At the same time, I am intolerant of any “bad apples” in those barrels, and I believe strongly that politics and religion must be separate. I favor pragmatism and communication over regression and indoctrination.
At eighteen, I loosely formulated my own religious ethos, being careful not to trample any toes. I called it “Poddism”; the Science of Practical Hedonism. The core idea is the pursuit of one’s own happiness, without infringing upon the happiness of one’s neighbor. Here’s a sample tenet:
You are alive right now.
If you weren’t, you couldn’t be reading this.
I am heterosexual to the point of priapism. My obsession with women is a complex and painful one. I am accepting of gays and lesbians but expect that same acceptance of my heterosexuality. My relationships with females are, on average, volatile and frustrating for them. Women are the only organisms I will endure a physical beating from, because I am hard-wired never to hit them back. I say this as a man who has punched through the wall of a house in a rage; I don’t hit girls.
Due to my trust issues, I tend to produce work on my own, regardless of mass or complexity. I have been published as a cartoonist for more than half my life. I made a “grass roots” animated feature film from 2005 to 2008. I’m not really a team player. It takes a very special type to work with me successfully. I know what I want, down to the last detail, but I can’t always explain it or delineate it properly to others. I struggle with severe manic depression, much as many of my artistic heroes have. My vices are pot, plastic toy robots, and candy. I do like to drink, but my tolerance for alcohol is stratospheric, because my hometown is also known for underage drinking. Technically, I started drinking at 8 years old. As a result, I can take booze or leave it. My dad represented Bacardi, so I have a special affection for rum, and the inside of a fine liquor store. I was brought up in a grander era.
My relationship with music has always been simple; I want to understand why some of it makes me happy, and some of it makes me mad. Since I was a child I have waged this internal battle. Music I hate gets stuck in my head. Music I love floats away from my mind like a cloud of moths. I am tormented by music I despise every time I walk into a grocery store or doctor’s office. For decades, I’ve been told that I’m overreacting. That I should just “tune it out”. I shouldn’t let it “get to me”.
But here we are. Welcome to Bands I Useta Like. Enjoy the show.