By Luke J Halsall and Chris Manson
The world of work. Our relationship with it has changed over the past eighteen months. Some of us are sat at our kitchen tables, or in our spare rooms if we are lucky, interacting with our bosses and co-workers by Teams, Slack and Zoom. But the rhythm of the working week has not necessarily changed. The same meetings, the same mandatory online training – ‘someone offers you free tickets to the cup final to accept their bid, should you a) accept or b) refuse and inform your manager?’
It’s a tough one. But I can see why you might want to give the whole thing a bodyswerve. Mind Hacker is a comic that appears to be about super surgeons with mind altering powers weaving their way through bullets and moral dilemmas alike. But even brain-sawing ultra medics need KPI’s, weekly team meetings and performance reviews. And so this comic focuses more on the workplace than on car chases and cocktail preferences.
The comics format is thoroughly played with, especially the narrative form. The fourth wall is not so much smashed as buried under 40 tons of molten lava and replaced with an MDF sheet. Like some comics version of the Gary Shandling Show we receive heavily flagged exposition from our authors from a studio set complete with live audience (not canned laughter.)
This is certainly not a typical workplace in many senses, after all it contains Egyptian gods, talking animals and elderly ravers. In other ways it is very typical and the mindless routine of the everyday is relentlessly parodied from the colleague so boring he could put entire planets to sleep to the inescapable bureaucracy of the mandatory training course.
Chris Manson’s art brings life and personality to characters like mind-hacker (and talking cat) Dr Clive Eagles and nonagenarian party animal Marisha. He makes great use of colour with bold pinks and yellows whilst adventuring contrasted with the darker browns of the office.
Mind Hacker is playful and experimental whilst never taking itself too seriously. The combination of the weird and the mundane works well and it has an approach to narrative which is refreshingly different. So don’t be close minded…check out the Kickstarter details below.
The Mind Hacker Kickstarter is still on with some cracking alternate covers available.