Nicholson, Jeff – Through the Habitrails
WebsiteÂ (or not, unless he went crazy.Â It’s all non-comic mad ramblings over there)
Anybody out there remember Taboo from Spiderbaby Graphix? I didn’t think so. This was done mostly in that series, and I guess a lot of people never saw it. This is the same guy who did Ultra Klutz, does anybody remember that? Anyway, I haven’t seen anything he’s done since that has been very good (Father and Son was godawful), but this book is still an amazing piece of work. The story of a man trapped in a shitty job and the adventures he tries to have to make things more bearable. If you’re ever had a corporate job where you feel trapped and that you’re rewarded for mediocre to crappy work, this is the book for you.
Reading this over again for the review, I noticed how disjointed the whole thing is. This is the first edition from ’94, so maybe he polished it up for later editions or something. I hope so, because that’s my only significant problem with this. Too many “that’s a story for another time” without going back to the actual story that he’s talking about. Do you feel drained at work? The people at this mythical corporation are literally tapped of their creative juices through the day. A sense of utter hopelessness and inevitability pervade this book and reaffirms my belief that getting a job that sucks me dry just isn’t the way to go. Whether or not I can make a living off of something like this page is another story (as he said several times in his book, but only time will tell if this’ll work out), but I’m damned sure going to give it a try talking about something I love rather than killing myself 9-5. And you don’t kill yourself physically, which was another of his points, you just take every ounce of desire and hope out of your body and give it to the weekend, which is a losing proposition from the start.
The art in this book fits the mood perfectly too. Most people don’t have any faces, and that leads to everyone being basically expressionless. Add that to the glasses that a lot of people have (and a glassy-eyed effect in general) and it increases the despair of the whole thing noticeably. I wish he had done more of note besides this series. He has a series out now (I can’t think of the name. Anyone?) that I haven’t seen yet, Ultra Klutz was OK (but I only read a couple of issues, so it could have gotten much worse or much better), and Father and Son was a piece of shit. He still has the potential to be a major talent, and I have high hopes that he will one of these days. Until then, this is by far his best work to date.