To say this is different from the norm would be an understatement. This might actually be the reason for undertaking this task, to see how diverse graphic novels can be. This however is a single issue as it is very short but contains a complete storyline. Where does one start on this thoroughly perplexing read?
The premise is a girl called Envy Saint-Claire who works for a temp agency. Each day she gets given a new job and takes over someone else’s working life for the day. She sits at their desk, drinks their coffee and chats to their friends. For a single day she gets to be someone else. This is such an interesting idea and is in effect the ultimate in people watching.
The office she arrives in is unlike anything imaginable. Everyone’s name badge says “Worker,” the computers are hollow, email is actually a person who delivers post-it-notes for you and the fax machine is a guy hiding in a cupboard saying beep. Her job is data entry but this consists of putting files into the shredder. What is going on? Is this some clever metaphor for how ridiculous our working lives are? Is it a depiction of hell in some form or another? The reveal is a masterstroke as all your questions are answered perfectly.
After her day’s work she goes home to see her sister Sympathy which presents such a dramatic twist you will be compelled to hunt out the next part. I have enjoyed many great stories which have left me wanting more. Like doughnuts I need another rush of literary sugar. But the conclusion here is so jaw dropping that you have to know what comes next.
The art appears incredibly basic like an old newspaper strip. Just 2D black and white with no depth or shading; yet the framing, composition and some of the tiny details hidden about the office are inspired. The dramatic twist at the end relies almost solely on the art making a bold statement. For most people it will be a case of Emperor’s-new-clothes, a vanity project or a lot of fuss about nothing. For many, like me, this will be a comic epiphany. The closest example I can give would be the film “Being John Malkovich.” You might not agree but personally this is a Double Thumbs Up!
I am going to try and track down the full length work for a proper review.