Time Management For Anarchists


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Time Management For Anarchists


  • Words: Jim Munroe
  • Art: Marc Ngui
  • Inks: Marc Ngui
  • Colors: Marc Ngui
  • Story Title: n/a
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Dec 10, 2008

Emma Goldman and Mikhail Bakunin are stuck in a life sucking job. Unbeknownst to them it is time for a change. When Emma has had enough of cow towing to clients in a job she does not find rewarding, she walks out the door. Months later, she runs in to Mike who has also quit his job. Together they seek out a guru of living without work.

Jim Munroe provides the reader with a philosophical bit of escape. Praying on a stereotype that most people are stuck in jobs they either outright dislike or find unfulfilling, he places his protagonists in a position to live life another way.

The writer does a great job of setting up Emma’s dislike for her job. The two leads work for a graphic design firm. The endless and needless changes to a client’s project drives her past the breaking point. This sets off the chain of events that leads the two to was philosophical about unemployment and the nature of the system. This is Generation X at its finest. Douglas Coupland would be proud.

There are various means of narrative utilized from speech balloons to emails. Even the means changes from fantasy websites about anger to self deprecating reminiscence. It is the chaotic nature of both the narrative and the art that makes this book a fun read. The read is never sure what will follow when they turn the page.

Ngui uses many art techniques as well. There is blocky black and white, inspired promotional panels, and cartoon caricatures of his own designs. However much of the story is told with a fine swooping line.

The prominent style is somewhere between photo referenced rendering and cartoon Schultz like minimalism. It is as chaotic as the rambling existential subject matter. The colors are done with what appears to be a mix of water colors, colored pencils and possibly crayons. This gives the book a feel that it is a static version of Waking Life.

In most respects it is just that. However, this narrative and its singular focus works better then the wide berth in Linklater’s film. It somehow keeps from the pretentious nature of giving the reader an distinct view of how work should be. In the end, this is achieved through the books decidedly tongue in cheek approach and the wise choice to keep from universals.

As any work with the word "Anarchists" in the title, this is a dangerous book. It is the kind of thing that could cause the collapse of a country’s economy if it were to fall into the hands of the disgruntled minimum wage worker. However, the niche of the comic market and the indie nature of the book will probably keep the global economy from any further woes. This is a fringe as any title from one of the major independent publishers as one is going to find. It could just as easily have been a Drawn and Quarterly or Fantagraphics book. One wonders if IDW is looking at a different market then the heavily licensed product it typically puts on the shelves of the local comic shop.

The most one can hope for is that this book stimulates readers to hunt out similar titles. There are quite a few of this kind of thought provoking titles on the market, but readers aren’t always looking for them. If this is a push from this particular publisher to be taken more seriously in the literary world of book store graphic novels, they could not have likely found a better entry. This is a fun, smart and provocative book. Creative malcontents everywhere be warned.

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