Working for a living

analAmong my various comics partialities, I really like stories that rely heavily on specific workplaces or careers. From advertising agencies to cafés to bakeries to afterlife bureaucracies to manor houses to airlines to quasi-legal think tanks to voice-over studios off-the-books medical clinics, I find it hard to resist comics characters who are on the job. Since there are so many comics about them, I tend not to count teachers or officers of law enforcement in this category; they virtually have categories of their own.

So in honor of Labor Day and in hopes of finding more careerist manga, here are some jobs that I feel are underrepresented in comics:

fakeRealtors: Thanks to HGTV, there aren’t many untold aspects of the real-estate profession, so I’m thinking of a weirder take on the topic. It occurs to me that fictional vampires and demons and sorcerers always have great old money pits in which to reside, but how do they acquire them? It then occurs to me that there must be specialists in finding just the right dilapidated pile of stone for just the right supernatural or other-dimensional buyers. They might even have interior designers on staff to make sure the cobwebs are just so and the wallpaper is suitably stained and peeling. And they certainly track the crime reports to find properties with the kind of history that might make them unattractive to the average mortal. (Stubborn bloodstains lower resale value!)

Park Rangers: I just love national parks. They’re beautiful and varied settings, and all kinds of things happen there, from sentimental moments to dangerous moments to teachable moments. Take your pick.

shoutoutloudTravel writers: This is basically the urban version of the previous entry, but with a focus on cityscapes rather than canyons or forests. If I were forced to pick, I’d probably go with a murder mystery angle since the setting would change frequently. Then you could avoid the whole question of why everyone didn’t move away from Cabot Cove since it had such an astonishingly high homicide rate for a small town in Maine.

Wedding planners: This actually triggered this train of thought. I went to a wedding over the weekend, and I have to say that I always find them weird, whether high-end or on the cheap. The subject seems like an endless source of episodic story fodder, what with all the bridezillas and groomalons, and the flowers, gowns, food and décor seem like a veritable buffet of illustrative possibilities. In my dream version, it’s a smutty, subversive take on the subject with a decided yaoi bent, starring gay wedding planners to agitate for marriage equality in their spare time. As for the smut, few settings inspire ill-advised trysting like celebrations of undying fidelity.

That should do for a start. I promise not to sue if you decide to make a comic about any of the above.

6 Responses to Working for a living

  1. lys says:

    Ha! VB Rose gets close to wedding planners with its wedding-dress-makers. It’s decidedly more fluffy and sweet than your take on the subject, though.

    How about manga about manga artists? I know there’s a few of them out there!

  2. davidpwelsh says:

    That’s why I left them out! I’ve been scarred by some comics about cartoonists. They’re kind of like first novels about low-level publishing functionaries.

  3. [...] David Welsh celebrates Labor Day by musing about professions that are underrepresented in manga. [...]

  4. Sara K. says:

    I don’t know of any manga about travel writers, but there are quite a few Western comics which *are* travel writing (Carnet de Voyage, Red Eye Black Eye, and Guy Delisle’s works come to mind).

  5. davidpwelsh says:

    I almost always enjoy travelogue comics. Carnet is particularly gorgeous. And I really need to pick up a copy of French Milk sometime soon.

  6. Sarah says:

    Have you read Gimmick? Shonen meets special effects work!

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