Wednesday, September 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW! OFFICE HI-JINX by Jimmy Hatlo (Ace Books, 1961)

THEY'LL DO IT EVERY TIME was one of those comic strips (or in this case "panels") that I really enjoyed peeping at back during my plunge into the double-digits days. Naturally I liked this 'un if only because of the old-styled art and grown-up attitude to be found that you just couldn't get outta most things the hippoid generation was pushing at'cha at the time. For me it was a comic that more or less reflected the ideals of the older-than-old generation, that of the uncles and aunts who came of age in the twenties and thirties who pretty much spent a whole lotta time in offices like the ones seen in the various sagas featuring boss J. P. Bigdome and his subordinates like Cheddar,  Angleworm and of course Tremblechin, the long-employed underling who never did get that bigtime break inna biz. Of course that world is (sadly) now gone for good but at least this collection of Jimmy Hatlo workplace-related gags remains, albeit in a battered old paperback that I musta gotten nth-hand but so WHAT!!!

These comics really do capture that whole office mileau of passed up promotions, collections for retirement gifts and football pools, stenos who just sit around gossiping until you have a paper for them to type THEN they're busier'n all heck and other (I guess) real-life office practices that I guess go on in offices (at least from what my father, who worked in one, told me). Well, it does seem a whole lot more real'n the glimpses of what I've seen on various tee-vee series (whenever I pass by a set that is) which I think might reflect the miasma that is modern living more than what real life has to dictate, but then again it's come to the point where EVERYTHING I see on tee-vee comes off more a reflection of today's dystopia but the again what else is old???

The artwork is what really appeals to me, what with that fine pen work and style that seemed to go our forever once artists like Hatlo passed on to that big syndication office in the sky. From the looks of it Hatlo, unlike most of today's funny page delineators, actually took some comic art courses and produced an effort that looks as if it took more than five minutes to create or wasn't drawn by a half-blind suburban slob pimplefarm on leftover lined out school paper. In a day where meaning and intent beat talent and end results out all hollow it's sure grand giving these old comics (which capture the angst of modern workaday living honestly) a good eyeballing.

And as far as that "workaday living" goes OFFICE HI-JINKS sure beats that other comic about office life DILBERT all hollow. (And sheesh I hate to keep complainin', but they used to criticize Ernie Bushmiller's art for being "primitive"...Scott Adams makes the creator of NANCY look like Da Vinci!) Not only that, but it sure conjures up memories of what working a desk job meant (and perhaps means) to many a bummed out scrounger trying to make ends meet and keep up with the bills while having to endure all of the shame and degradation that Tremblechin did merely to keep on going. You know who I'm talking about...people like YOU.

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