Work is a death trap, and we all know it. If your job doesn’t kill you directly, it’ll likely kill you indirectly — either by means of stress-related conditions such as ulcers, repeated-motion fatigue and attendant joint decomposition/arthritis, heart disease, various work-induced cancers or, in a pinch, maybe you’ll get yourself killed in a car accident going to work, from work, or to or from some other place, such as a bar, hoping to forget about work for a little while. However you slice it, the minute you start punching a time clock, that clock is ticking against you.
In some cases, however, the connection between employment and death is a pretty straight line — like, what if your workplace literally sits atop a portal to hell? Which brings us to the first self-published mini (that I’m aware of, at any rate) from Michigan-based cartoonist Chris Russ, Eddie The Office Goblin #1.
Physically, it’s an impressive enough little specimen — full-color, fairly nice paper — but it’s Russ’ unhinged imagination that really helps this stand out from the pack, as he unfurls the contents of his id to give us an office that includes such accoutrements as talking statues, doorways made of skulls, multi-eyed and Cyclopean demons, lava sharks, and blank-featured wraiths. He renders all of these in a crisp and inviting style, complete with colored pencil- and Crayon-style hues, and while pretty much every figure he conjures forth is humanoid in appearance, none of them appear to be strictly human, per se.
Still, even for all the ghosts and goblins (including, of course, our ostensible hero), it’s the ever-present spectre of the clock and the schedule that is the most frightening monster of all here, as is the case with any workplace. After all, whoever is in control of your time is in control of your life — and anyone who wants that degree of power over you is a true ghoul, whether they look the part or not.
So, yeah — points for originality here, even if much of it is originality in service of pointing out a number of fairly obvious truisms. Where Russ runs into a bit of trouble, however, is with his pacing and narrative flow — these are skills that take any cartoonist some time to develop, so I’m willing to sit back and see how his maturate over time, but we’ve got splash pages here that would be better off as smaller panels on multi-panel pages on the one hand, smaller panels on multi-panel pages that would be better off as splash pages on the other, and some curious choices in terms of depth and perspective in certain images. None of these are “deal-breakers,” as the saying goes, but taken in total they make for something of a disjointed reading experience that’s likely a few pages longer than it needs to be — even if it’s fairly short as is. Still, in the end (for now, at ay rate) he does get us from A to B and leaves us with a reasonably juicy cliffhanger.
So what the heck? I’m down for more, and fully expect that “more” will continue to improve. I’ll also be reading subsequent issues while I’m on the clock at work, just as I did with this one.
I’m not sure how much Chris Russ charges for a single issue of Eddie The Office Goblin, but you can ask him — as well as check out some more sample pages — by going over to his twitter page, which can be found at https://twitter.com/ChrisJRuss
Review wrist check – Monta “Atlas” blue dial model riding a BluShark green and red “Pajama Stretch” strap.