The webcomics blog about webcomics

I Am Not At Work! Yes!

Today’s the first post-Thanksgiving-Friday I’ve had off from work in a very long time. Even while in grad school, Thanksgiving wasn’t so much a break as it was a chance to catch up on grading before the flurry of finals and the semester ending. It’s nice to not be surrounded by research papers; it’s nicer still to have today free with no research papers and nothing which must be finished. I had a recent toe-dip back into academia on Monday, where I guest-lectured a course on comics at UMass; as sometimes happens, we ended up talking a little about webcomics, which was interesting.

Don’t get me wrong; I actually really enjoy my job. I’m finally working in a field where my Ph.D. is an asset, and I’m able to speak with a range of different people about a number of different things; it’s never the same day twice. But it is corporate. It’s my first real foray into the corporate world (which feels really different from the academic/corporate world); I have a cubicle, I work in a department, I wear a badge…so, yeah, it’s a little different from what I’m used to doing for work.

But I’m getting the joke, as it were, about office life. A friend recently sent me a link to We The Robots, Chris Harding’s new ‘thrice-weekly’ webcomic. Now, before you start thinking, “Robots? Another webcomic about robots? Aren’t robots and ninjas and pirates, like over?” let me plug. It’s kind of about corporate life, and it’s kind of about family, and the artwork is done in this vibrant, colorful way which belies the sterility the title might imply. It reminds me a little, weirdly, of Eric Carle and Ed Embley, and I really love the lettering (I’m still kind of a typography nut). Color is used very effectively, and the overall look of We The Robots is fairly different from other webcomics I’ve seen before.

It’s also wickedly funny. On one level, it works as kind of this satire on corporate life and corporate culture, kind of in the vein of (of course) Dilbert and Office Space in that ‘it’s funny because it’s kinda true’ sense. But it also manages to skewer
mass entertainment and compulsory education in some very deft ways. It’s worth just sitting down and reading through the archives, since the archives are very short, as the webcomic just launched in October of this year, with three very entertaining sections by way of introduction.

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