Joey Comeau

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Joey Comeau
Joey Comeau in London, England, April 2008
Joey Comeau in London, England, April 2008
BornJoey Comeau
(1980-09-26) September 26, 1980 (age 38)
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
SubjectTransgressive fiction, horror
Notable worksA Softer World, Overqualified, Lockpick Pornography

Joey Comeau (born September 26, 1980) is a Canadian writer. He is best known for writing the text of the webcomic A Softer World, and for his novels Lockpick Pornography and Overqualified.


Comeau's work is difficult to classify by genre. Of his eight books, two are comic collections, one is a "genderqueer adventure story", one is an experimental novel told through job application letters, two are collections of short stories, and two are horror. In 2003, Comeau co-created the webcomic A Softer World with Emily Horne, his first novel, Lockpick Pornography, was serialized on the A Softer World site prior to publication in book form by Loose Teeth Press. Excerpts from his novel Overqualified were included in the 2010 Best American Nonrequired Reading; the first 20 chapters of his novel One Bloody Thing After Another were serialized on the National Post's book blog[1] and the book was nominated for the 2010 Shirley Jackson Award.[2] One Bloody Thing After Another was also nominated for the 2011 ReLit Awards.[3]

In 2012 a sequel to Lockpick Pornography titled We All Got It Coming, was released for free on the Internet[4] before being published together with the original in The Complete Lockpick Pornography.

His writing often includes themes such as homophobia, life after death, and realistic portrayals of sex. Many of his characters struggle with identity; this manifests as characters with fluid gender identities and sexual orientations as well as characters who put themselves in dangerous situations on purpose. Much of his work is sex positive, including descriptions of safe, consensual intercourse that are nonetheless very passionate, his collection of short stories, The Girl Who Couldn't Come is described as "a book where sex is fun and good and people are kind to each other."[5]

He lists his influences as including Morley Callaghan, Patricia Highsmith, Jane Bowles, and Shirley Jackson. There is a Tupac quotation at the beginning of Lockpick Pornography.

Online Projects[edit]

As well as the webcomic A Softer World, Joey Currently has several other ongoing online projects. Oh me Dort is a photo essay about his friend Maggie Dort. Pinball with my mom is a story (with accompanying photographs) that explores his views on his mother who is a hairdresser for television shows and movies.[6] Me and my friend Ryan is a list of experiences Joey has had with friend and comic creator Ryan North, it also includes a poem he has written about their relationship. He is a fan of horror movies and also writes a blog about gender roles in horror movies called I'm Into Survival.

I am other people is a series of long form interviews he has conducted with people who are important to him, they include with Ryan North, Adrian Comeau (his brother), Helen Dewitt, Hamilton Chu, and Derek McCormack. The interviews are always accompanied by a picture, and are often very two sided, reading much like casual conversations and including many instances of the interviewees asking questions of Comeau.

In addition he maintains an active accounts on the social media platforms Twitter[7] and tumblr.[8] Many of his books are available to read for free online.[9]

Starting in 2018, Joey has begun creating YouTube videos in which he plays online chess, posting competitive games and strategies on the channel Tom_Ripley. He also streams chess matches on the Twitch channel Hauntedsink.

Kickstarter Campaign[edit]

In 2013, Comeau and collaborator Emily Horne ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to publish the fourth print volume of A Softer World, titled Let's Do Something Wrong;[10] the campaign raised over $78,000, on a goal of $25,000. The project was described as being "A book about dead moms, queers, sexy extremism and sad feelings. In photo comic form with words on the photos, like, over top of them!".[10]

Personal life[edit]

Comeau is openly queer,[11] has a degree in linguistics, and is an avid chess player, he currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[12] He has three younger brothers. One of them, Adrian Comeau, is also an artist.[13]


  • Lockpick Pornography (Loose Teeth, 2005)
  • Truth and Beauty Bombs (A Softer World book 1) (Loose Teeth, 2006)
  • It's Too Late To Say I'm Sorry (Loose Teeth, 2007)
  • Overqualified (ECW, 2009)
  • Second Best Isn't So Bad (A Softer World book 2) (Topatoco, 2009)
  • One Bloody Thing After Another (ECW, 2010)
  • Bible Camp Bloodbath (self published, 2010)
  • The Girl Who Couldn't Come (self published, 2011)
  • Everybody Gets Got (A Softer World book 3) (Topatoco, 2012)
  • The Complete Lockpick Pornography (ECW, 2012)
  • Bravest Warriors Vol. 1 (Comic series collection) (KaBOOM!, 2013)
  • The Summer is Ended and We are Not Yet Saved (ChiZine, 2013)
  • Let's Do Something Wrong (A Softer World book 4) (Topatoco, 2014)
  • We Are Become Pals (Topatoco, 2013)
  • Bravest Warriors Vol. 2 (Comic series collection) (KaBOOM!, 2014)
  • Bravest Warriors Vol. 3 (Comic series collection) (KaBOOM!, 2014)
  • Ninja-rella (Capstone Press, 2015)
  • Overqualified 2: Overqualifieder (ECW, 2015)
  • Anatomy of Melancholy (A Softer World Best-of collection) (Breadpig, 2016)
  • Ben Size Fazlayım (Turkish translation of Overqualified) (Tefrika Yayınları, 2016)
  • Lockpick Pornography (German translation) (Luftschacht, 2016)
  • Surqualifié. Lettres à des sociétés sans visage (French Translation of Overqualified) (Mémoire d'encrier, 2017)
  • Malagash (ECW, 2017)


  1. ^ "One Bloody Thing After Another". National Post Ampersand, July 12, 2010.
  2. ^ "2010 Shirley Jackson Award nominees". Shirley Jackson Awards, April 2011. Archived from the original on April 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "2011 ReLit Award Shortlist". Relit Awards, August 26, 2011.
  4. ^ Comeau, Joey. "We All Got IT Coming". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Comeau, Joey. "The Girl who Couldn't Come". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Comeau, Joey. "I am other people – Hamilton Chu". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  7. ^ Comeau, Joey. "Joey Comeau Twitter". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  8. ^ Comeau, Joey. "Joseph Dreamboat Levitt". Archived from the original on December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Comeau, Joey. "Joey Comeau Home". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Comeau, Joey. "A Softer World 4 Kickstarter". Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  11. ^ Dupuis, Chris (March 15, 2006). "In Print: Joey Comeau". Xtra!. Retrieved September 9, 2013.
  12. ^ Comeau, Joey. "Blogger".
  13. ^ Comeau, Joey. "I am other people – Adrian Comeau". Retrieved December 13, 2013.

External links[edit]

  • A Softer World Comeau's webcomic, created with Emily Horne; also hosts some of Comeau's other work