Read This: Excellent Movie Comic 'Matinee Junkie' by Jordan Jeffries
by Alex Billington
April 27, 2015
Welcome to Another Year at the Movies with Jordan Jeffries. Just a few weeks ago I stopped by the 2015 MoCCA Arts Festival (hosted by the Society of Illustrators) in New York City, sort of like Artists' Alley at Comic-Con minus the rest of Comic-Con and only the artists. There I stumbled across and discovered one amazing, unforgettable comic book dedicated to a love of movies, titled Matinee Junkie. It was written and illustrated by cinephile Jordan Jeffries from New Jersey. I bought a copy of year one and the sequel, Matinee Junkie 2 (for 2014), which recaps each a year of his life as connected to the films he saw - including a full-size scan of the ticket stub. This is a must read comic book for any/every last movie lover out there.
"I keep a comics journal for every movie I see in theaters, and this lil' book collects all my entries," Jordan writes in the beginning. Matinee Junkie is essentially just a year-in-review movie journal for Jordan, but he includes a few caveats: each ticket must be scanned and included fullsize (no shrinking), then he draws the comic panes around it; and he only writes about movies he went to see in a theater. Each page has a story from his life, but isn't necessarily a review of the film (though it may include comments), rather he often discusses something about life or whatever was going on while going to that film. "This is a specific pastime that has been woven into my understanding of friendship, more and more tightly, for over half my lifetime now," he says, which makes me smile with joy realizing how much he really gets the cinematic experience.
It only took a few pages for me to realize how unique, how special this comic was and how much I wanted to share it with everyone else. I returned the second day to MoCCA just to talk more with Jordan about it. Can you buy copies online? Yes, in his store now. Is he working on a 2015 version already? Yep. "I just took my stubs to the coffee shop and started sketching out some entries this morning," he wrote in an email last week. "So I guess that means Matinee Junkie 3 has been greenlit!" Excellent news. It was such a wonderful discovery that I only noticed because of the cover, featuring a ragged, popcorn-covered Jordan and some hazy ticket scans in the background. My first question was "why the sequel?" which started our conversation and eventually lead me to buying these comics and spreading the word about how awesome they are. Click:
Jordan has been printing and publishing these comic books himself, they are a true labor of love from an illustrator whose life has been influenced by and connected to seeing movies. At the end of the second book, there's an entire section about his life, sort of a mini-atuobiography discussing why he wrote this book and specifically how movies have played an important part throughout most of his life. This whole section really connected with me. Reading what he wrote, about how much movies have defined his friendships, his ups & downs, his fondest memories, his relationships, it made me emotional. Get a copy just to read it all in full.
If you are my friend, and you want to hang out with me, most likely you will end up on my couch, watching a movie with me. This is just how it goes.
Jordan has touched upon the ultimate power of the cinematic experience and its ability to connect everyone in an appealing and extraordinary way. His work speaks so much about the importance of movies. All I want to do is buy a copy of this comic and send it to everyone I know, just so they can read it and be enriched and inspired by his passion. Luckily, Jordan is easily accessible online as he runs a Tumblr blog, plus a website where he sells all of his comic books and illustrations, and is on Twitter as the @SnackAddict. And yes, he's selling copies of Matinee Junkie 2 online, but the first edition with color comics is still sold out (at least as of posting this) - but you can find it all online on his Tumblr. Here's a tease of that part from the very end:
I spoke with Jordan via email after meeting him at MoCCA to follow up and make sure he was working on the 2015 edition. It sounds like he's just getting underway, and it's probably too early to be asking since it's April anyway, but I'm excited to know it's in the works. We also chatted briefly about Star Wars returning this year and the new teaser trailer with Han & Chewie. "It's definitely crazy to think that a new Star Wars movie might end up being one of the last entries for this year. I'm trying to approach it with caution and not get my hopes up, but boy, hearing Chewie's voice and seeing him with Han really does awaken something primal in you, doesn't it?" Yes indeed. I also asked him about his favorite films + his favorite NYC theaters:
If I had to choose a number one, it'd probably be Goodfellas. I've loved it since the first time I watched it and it's endlessly rewatchable. The scene where Joe Pesci describes his mom's painting is one of my favorite things ever: YouTube
Other favorites would be Robocop, The Royal Tenenbaums, Beyond the Valley of Dolls, and pretty much anything from John Waters.
I have different favorites for different things– every theater having its ups and downs. The Lincoln Square AMC is my favorite for blockbusters, especially as its the only true IMAX game in town. IFC Center, the Sunshine, and the Film Society of Lincoln Center are all excellent for independent/art film with nice theater spaces/seating. (BAM, too, but I don't get out there as much since moving to Jersey.) Film Forum has fantastic art house & repertory programming, but you gotta pray no one over 5'7" sits in front of you. I go to the Hoboken Bow Tie a ton because it's convenient, and it's actually a nice, new theater with great seating, but they never show anything but the biggest movies, so for anything beyond the top five biggest Hollywood movies of the moment, it's on to the PATH train with me.
Here's an early tease at his 2015 book, and a look at the work that goes into creating one page of this comic:
Please read his comic and please support Jordan. He's one of us – a real cinephile with a deep appreciation for all the incredible glory of the big screen cinematic experience. And he has captured his experiences so beautifully in these comic books, that I consider myself honored and lucky to have come across them. Some of my favorite entries from 2014 include: his this-movie-theater-sucks-so-much rant during Guardians of the Galaxy, the time he got sour shoelace licorice all over himself during the Whiplash screening, the fact that he went to see Chuck Jones cartoons in a theater, plus his freakout over John Waters. His most recent comic book sells for only $8, self-published. "Entries for all 34 movies I saw in theaters plus a bunch of bonus material. 8.5" x 11", 48 pages with Risograph covers." Buy it here and support independent artists.