The finest comics, zines, music and more!

Sparkplug Highlights: Service Industry, by t edward bak

Though Service Industry came out of the last years of George W. Bush’s time in office and deals in part with the fear and anger of a rational man living during an irrational war, this oversized comic feels as fresh and important today as it did upon its release. Bak uses his job in the service industry (as a dishwasher, predominantly) and his Bukowskian exploits to frame his autobiographical narrative, which floats in and out of the real world as he thinks about race, identity, fractured families, and the soul’s response to drudgery and insanity. His art is in turns ultra-detailed, brilliantly colored, fantastical, and somber. Some of the most startling pages come at the end, when suddenly everything is shown as negative — white-on-black. Certain images permeate the entire book: robots, angels with visible skeletons, clouds, trees, and an ever-present black cat who leads the narrator back and forth between worlds. Service Industry reads like a dream; it follows its own logic. Elements are pulled here and there from life and fantasy to create a bizarre plane of existence, somehow both like waking life and not. It is an existential, melancholic, contemplative piece of work that will make you think about the paths you’ve taken — and which one you will take next.

“Bak the cartoonist is possessed by his past. What we see are the inner musings of a man in his late twenties/early thirties, biding time at his dishwashing job. He rehashes his history in straight narration, sometimes leaving little room for actual drawings. Then he’ll cover the same territory as a nearly wordless allegorical adventure comic featuring a “Lil” (as in “Lil Archie”) version of himself, a black cat spirit guide, and chattering demons. Then back to a political screed that blots out the drawings again.
Part of the comic’s beauty is that Bak printed a page a week in Flagpole magazine in Athens, Georgia, so you get the feeling that much of what you’re reading is off the cuff. The story is leading Bak, and he’s dredging up stuff from his past that surely surprises even him, but the result isn’t haphazard. Bak slowly builds to the heartbreaking sixteenth page, then leads us away quietly as we’re still reeling.” -Tom Devlin, The Believer

Bak
the cartoonist is possessed by his past. What we see are the inner
musings of a man in his late twenties/early thirties, biding his time at
his dishwashing job. He rehashes his history in straight narration,
sometimes leaving little room for actual drawings. Then he’ll cover the
same territory as a nearly wordless allegorical adventure comic
featuring a “Lil” (as in “Lil Archie”) version of himself, a black cat
spirit guide, and chattering demons. Then back to a political screed
that blots out the drawings again.
Part of this comic’s beauty is that Bak printed a page a week in
Flagpole magazine in Athens, Georgia, so you get the feeling that much
of what you’re reading is off the cuff. The story is leading Bak, and
he’s dredging up stuff from his past that surely surprises even him, but
the result isn’t haphazard. Bak slowly builds to the heartbreaking
sixteenth page, then leads us away quietly as we’re still reeling
.” Tom Devlin, The Believer – See more at: http://sparkplugcomicbooks.com/shop/comic-books/service-industry/#sthash.JYwlFKSc.dpuf
Bak
the cartoonist is possessed by his past. What we see are the inner
musings of a man in his late twenties/early thirties, biding his time at
his dishwashing job. He rehashes his history in straight narration,
sometimes leaving little room for actual drawings. Then he’ll cover the
same territory as a nearly wordless allegorical adventure comic
featuring a “Lil” (as in “Lil Archie”) version of himself, a black cat
spirit guide, and chattering demons. Then back to a political screed
that blots out the drawings again.
Part of this comic’s beauty is that Bak printed a page a week in
Flagpole magazine in Athens, Georgia, so you get the feeling that much
of what you’re reading is off the cuff. The story is leading Bak, and
he’s dredging up stuff from his past that surely surprises even him, but
the result isn’t haphazard. Bak slowly builds to the heartbreaking
sixteenth page, then leads us away quietly as we’re still reeling
.” Tom Devlin, The Believer – See more at: http://sparkplugcomicbooks.com/shop/comic-books/service-industry/#sthash.JYwlFKSc.dpuf
Bak
the cartoonist is possessed by his past. What we see are the inner
musings of a man in his late twenties/early thirties, biding his time at
his dishwashing job. He rehashes his history in straight narration,
sometimes leaving little room for actual drawings. Then he’ll cover the
same territory as a nearly wordless allegorical adventure comic
featuring a “Lil” (as in “Lil Archie”) version of himself, a black cat
spirit guide, and chattering demons. Then back to a political screed
that blots out the drawings again.
Part of this comic’s beauty is that Bak printed a page a week in
Flagpole magazine in Athens, Georgia, so you get the feeling that much
of what you’re reading is off the cuff. The story is leading Bak, and
he’s dredging up stuff from his past that surely surprises even him, but
the result isn’t haphazard. Bak slowly builds to the heartbreaking
sixteenth page, then leads us away quietly as we’re still reeling
.” Tom Devlin, The Believer – See more at: http://sparkplugcomicbooks.com/shop/comic-books/service-industry/#sthash.JYwlFKSc.dpuf
Bak
the cartoonist is possessed by his past. What we see are the inner
musings of a man in his late twenties/early thirties, biding his time at
his dishwashing job. He rehashes his history in straight narration,
sometimes leaving little room for actual drawings. Then he’ll cover the
same territory as a nearly wordless allegorical adventure comic
featuring a “Lil” (as in “Lil Archie”) version of himself, a black cat
spirit guide, and chattering demons. Then back to a political screed
that blots out the drawings again.
Part of this comic’s beauty is that Bak printed a page a week in
Flagpole magazine in Athens, Georgia, so you get the feeling that much
of what you’re reading is off the cuff. The story is leading Bak, and
he’s dredging up stuff from his past that surely surprises even him, but
the result isn’t haphazard. Bak slowly builds to the heartbreaking
sixteenth page, then leads us away quietly as we’re still reeling
.” Tom Devlin, The Believer – See more at: http://sparkplugcomicbooks.com/shop/comic-books/service-industry/#sthash.JYwlFKSc.dpuf
Bak
the cartoonist is possessed by his past. What we see are the inner
musings of a man in his late twenties/early thirties, biding his time at
his dishwashing job. He rehashes his history in straight narration,
sometimes leaving little room for actual drawings. Then he’ll cover the
same territory as a nearly wordless allegorical adventure comic
featuring a “Lil” (as in “Lil Archie”) version of himself, a black cat
spirit guide, and chattering demons. Then back to a political screed
that blots out the drawings again.
Part of this comic’s beauty is that Bak printed a page a week in
Flagpole magazine in Athens, Georgia, so you get the feeling that much
of what you’re reading is off the cuff. The story is leading Bak, and
he’s dredging up stuff from his past that surely surprises even him, but
the result isn’t haphazard. Bak slowly builds to the heartbreaking
sixteenth page, then leads us away quietly as we’re still reeling
.” Tom Devlin, The Believer – See more at: http://sparkplugcomicbooks.com/shop/comic-books/service-industry/#sthash.JYwlFKSc.dpuf