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Graphic Novel Review: Hello, Do You Work Here? by Peter Simeti et al

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This compendium of work-related anecdotes from the ever-intriguing Alterna Comics imprint ranges from the funny to the weird to the downright infuriating, as several contributors offer their real-life experiences of the shop floor. From the pungent opening story of one employee's scatological revenge on his tyrannical boss, we know we're in for a ride that plumbs the depths of human interaction, where customers are rude, if not downright unhinged, colleagues have alcohol and/or personality issues and managers are either ruthless, sadistic, or both.

Posited as a graphic novel, Hello, Do You Work Here? takes the form of a series of first-person testimonies written in prose form and accompanied by illustrations by a multitude of artists including Kevin Christensen, last seen providing the moody visuals to Simeti's previous, The Chair, and Douglas Draper, Jr., who impresses with a photo-realistic ink-and-wash style that owes something to the New York tenement stories of Will Eisner.

A suitably wry introduction from Alex Robinson (whose graphic novel Tricked remains, for me, a high point of the decade) tells us just why his work is so acutely observed as he reveals his past as a bookstore assistant, while Simeti himself provides a nicely self-deprecating tale of burger-joint humility, delineating the gap between people's understanding of what it means to be an independent publisher of graphic novels and the reality of having to make ends meet whilst doing so. Which all goes to show: work is, by and large, sh*t, so best find something else to do in your spare time to make life bearable.

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  • Jeremy Massie

    Hey, I think I’m the guy that did the scatological one!!! WOOHOOO!!