When I Read Matchmaker, Everything Feels Right in the World

It’s 2022 and nothing really feels like it makes sense anymore.

To be honest, I try not to have that thought very often. And I usually succeed! I live a life that’s lucky enough that I can forcibly distract myself from the horrors of the decade. The world, well, sucks…but if I lock myself inside and play games and stuff I don’t need to think about that! Maybe I can just pretend it’s 2005 again and the internet feels like boundless fun.

And yet, even when I push it away, the feeling won’t stop lingering. Maybe you’ve felt it too? It bubbles up in my chest. A mixture of anxiety, loneliness, and longing nostalgia that makes it feel like these past few years just aren’t…real. Like this is all some bad dream and I’ll wake up soon, to the sound of my alarm clock, ready to eat my cereal and go back to school. Back then, I was privileged enough that escapism was a treat for me, maybe even a hobby. Now, it’s a hazmat suit I put on every morning. Everything is happening so much, we’re exposed to so much horrifying reality, it’s like our brains weren’t built to live in a world like this. And it’s not just “too much bad news,” it’s an oppressive reality of systems of power who won’t hesitate to let millions suffer instead of help them. An absence of love at every conceivable turn.

Fortunately, for me, this is also the world where I can read Matchmaker, by Cam Marshall!

Matchmaker is a slice-of-life strip about a couple of best friend roommates who are lovable little goofballs.

And to be completely honest: when I read Matchmaker, everything feels right in the world, even if for a fleeting moment.

Mason and Kimmy are best buds. Mason needs a boyfriend. Kimmy’s gonna be his matchmaker. They both need a new apartment.

Like all good things, Matchmaker is simple at its core. They’re funny comics and they make you smile. The art is amazing and the faces make me laugh. It’s like ice cream, it’s just good, y’know? Even writing a “review” like this is probably too pretentious for something that doesn’t need to be over-analyzed by a dude on the internet. Whoops!

Just go read it! Bye byeeeeeeeeeeee!

THE END

Okay, ten minutes passed and I have more to say so I crawled back. I’m sorry.

I love these strips!!!

They’re very snackable, if that makes sense. Cam pulls off the perfect tightrope-act of strips that are episodic and self-contained, while also having continuity and satisfying arcs. The first few Matchmaker strips I found on Twitter I read completely out of order and out of context, and still loved them! Then I went back to the beginning and read in order like a normal person. Loved them again! Both styles, even just skimming up and down until you find a panel that jumps out at each you, worked. See? Snackable!

The characters also jump right off the page and (please don’t say it) live in my head rent-free. Everyone in the main cast seems like a funny and recognizable gag at first (Mason is down-to-earth, Kimmy is chaos, Marlowe is chill) but each character unfolds in new delightful ways over time. Mason is creatively burnt out, and wishes he can be more spontaneous in general. Kimmy feels things strongly, so their life can be an overwhelming rollercoaster. Marlowe is, it turns out, not actually chill at all. Also, everyone is super gay.

Matchmaker is a comic that knows exactly what it is. It knows exactly what each strip, and each panel, is meant to do and it pulls it off with finesse and with a smile that’s downright contagious. It isn’t shy about depicting the current era we live in: the pandemic serves as a sobering backdrop to most scenes, while never pivoting into the type of somber introspection that is nice but would feel out-of-place here. Mundane bigotry still wafts through the air like a fart in an elevator, as annoying customers whine about “political correctness” while our queer heroes just want to get through a shift of work in peace. This is definitely the real world, even though we’re getting a fun slice of it.

All of these elements make the series unmistakably of the 2020s, while the style and form feel timeless.

Back in 2005, webcomics were the biggest thing that sucked me into the internet. Since then, I spent years reading webcomics (do we still call them that?) and making them myself. Webcomics led me to become an artist, full stop. Slice-of-life strips have always had a particular sort of power to me, from American Elf to Octopus Pie. Whether they’re autobio or fictional, something about slice-of-life always feels poignant and seems especially suited to the pace of the weekly internet drip-feed. Seeing life through the lens of a cartoonist, framed through panels, has always resonated with me strongly. Much more than any Twitter feed or Youtube video can. Matchmaker juggles all of these sensibilities, for me.

Even the way the comic presents itself is a convenient blending of everything 2000s and 2020s. You can read the comic by purchasing the volume PDFs for your device or eReader (https://littlegoodfrog.itch.io/), you can read it on its own dedicated site (https://matchmakercomic.com/), or you can just straight-up read them in one long Twitter thread (https://twitter.com/littlegoodfrog/status/1474104488172548098)!

This scattershot approach to making the comic available for all styles of reading is perfect, and something that I honestly wish every comic could pull off.

The art is fantastic, and immediately made the comic stand out among thousands of tweets on my timeline. Everything is simple and round, leaving room for a massive amount of expressive cartooning, which is always a plus for me. There’s no strict stylistic rules on how faces or limbs need to be drawn, giving Cam the freedom to hit us with literally whatever would be the funniest or most effective for that particular moment. The grayscale tones are really pleasant, giving the whole series an (ironically) warm sense of color and life. Cam clearly has a keen sense of comic-making, knowing what’s important and what isn’t. In a bizarro different timeline where every page had super-detailed backgrounds, I don’t know if I would have had the energy to marathon through these strips. Luckily, the art cuts straight to the chase, giving you only what you need and exactly how you didn’t know you needed it.

Cam follows in a legacy of great slice-of-life cartooning while adding their own flavor and, as far as I’m concerned, easily standing shoulder-to-shoulder with every classic that’s come before. Their comics look the times we live in straight in the eye, and then find the moments where we can’t help but break eye contact and laugh our asses off with friends. To me, each strip overflows with a sense of buoyant joy, a matter-of-fact queerness, and a reminder of the simple joys we can all give each other when our circumstances are extremely shitty.

Put simply, Matchmaker is an expression of love. Love for our friends, love for our siblings, and love for the partners we’re seeing. It sounds silly to say it out loud but friends are people who love you, protect you, push you to be the best version of yourself, and respect your identity and your boundaries. Reading these comics has been a reminder of all of that, as well as just a great outlet for laughter in a stressful day. I would say it “takes me back to my childhood, reading comics for hours in the 2000s” but the truth is, this is so much better than any of my corny nostalgia. It’s a reminder of where we’re at right now, and the future we can make by being there for each other.

I highly recommend Matchmaker. Go check it out! This world can be hellish, and there’s so much work for us to do, but we can start with cherishing the love we have for our friends.

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