Tuesday, 9 August 2011

I don't like people : Corporate skull

Jamie Smart was always the hyperactive clown in the dismal array of Slave Labor Graphic's stable. His inclusion into the niche comic publisher that emphasized a gloomy self-consciously Gothic aesthetic seemed initially a misnomer but on closer inspection his gibbering violent fables add up into something more than a light-weight goof-off.

If  Jhonen Vasquez is the sardonic luminary of SLG's roster then Smart's violent and scatter-shot approach in Bear was the antic trickery of the court jester.

Nothing is serious or sacred for Smart and the basis of Corporate Skull stems from extremity. If Bear was a disconnected series of snippets of ludicrous violence then this is an anti-corporate obvious entry point for gen-Y that manages to capture the quiet wretched lower-middle-class desperation of the cubicle-slave.

 The eponymous main character, Corporate Skull,  is reborn after his mishap and subsequently finds freedom in ignoring all of life's strictures and bringing the motherfucking ruckus. This issues is it's not altogether certain how such a rebellious 'bad-ass' is going to progress into a well-rounded

As such, there's little internal logic to the transformation to the main character, a knowing 4th wall breakage and if this is going to be implemented as a long-term storyline that might be a problem. The need to guide a story about a 'too cool for school' skull-headed rebel means he'd need to create a long-term schemata for the strip.

That said, I'm always a sucker for a pretty face and visually this strip oozes cool and chutzpah in its frantic disassembling of our addled western lifestyle. The cutified scale of this strip perversely sets it up as a modern-day morality tale by intimating that the world of work is a childish pursuit with most people as status-obsessed imbeciles who obsess about arrant shiny nonsense until we devolve into a slurry of greedy abject slavery.

So...uh...my obscene gibbering aside, this is a slick and visually gorgeous attempt to mindjack the reader with a political slant and a restless roving eye for dumb-fuckery. Anti-establishment poses are usually glib knowing acts of self-awareness and this is no exception.

For all its obvious constrictions this longer format looks like an attempt to answer the questions about human nature Bear occasionally posed in between the congealed blood and inhuman laughter.

Any misgivings aside this is still something different, the initial riff on suicide isn't anything most slice of life or gamer webcomic creators would ever touch and Smart's background in indie 'dark' comics means he can easily work around in a wry and bleak moral underpinning to his humor. His background in print tree comics has put him miles ahead of the pack and even if this strip isn't established as a webcomic presence it deserves to be on the ideas present here.

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