Recently I was at a planetarium and the host asked the audience, “Who here wants to go to Mars?” A number of little kids yelled out, “Yay!” or “Me!” The host then asked, “Why might you want to go to Mars?” and I yelled out, “Because I hate my job!” Interestingly enough, even though I’ve always made decent money and had “professional” jobs most of my post-college life, I just dislike work. I am annoyed at being unable to do what I want when I want. I hate being told what to do, especially by inept managers.
That being said, the fifth volume of Mitch Clem’s series, As You Were was made for people like me. The theme is “This job sucks!” and it’s amazing the variety of tales that can come out of what might seem like a simple phrase. While most artists (Steve Thueson, Liz Boulduc, Steve Larder, etc.) take the common sense approach of bad jobs they’ve had, others (Jensine Eckwall, James the Stanton) go in directions where I’m not even sure what the hell they’re talking about. (Don’t worry. That’s not necessarily bad.)
The styles of these punk artists range from clean and pop-influenced to dark and serious. Their stories run the gamut, too. Some are funny and winsome, while others are sad and reflective. That’s wonderful, though, as it shows the wide range of feelings that various jobs can bring out. A significant portion of the pieces focus on the grind of service work—house cleaner, pizza maker, donut shop employee—and in almost every situation it shows the main character being at the beck and call of the public or the all-too-often useless managers.
One minor complaint: it would’ve been great if at the beginning of each comic the artist’s name would’ve appeared. On occasion it did, but too often I had to flip to the table of contents to see who the artist was. That aside, this is certainly worth checking out, especially if you’ve been ground down by insufferable jobs and managers, as I have. The wide range of stories, artists, and styles means there’s something in here for everyone. –Kurt Morris (Silver Sprocket, 1057 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA 94110)