Written by Jackie Wohlenhaus
Art by Jackie Wohlenhaus
Original Release Date: March 19, 2007
New Strips Released: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
What’s the Pitch?:
Have you ever worked retail? This webcomic is for you. Between Failures is an endearing look at the relationships people develop with the people at work. It takes place at a poorly managed big box, corporate entertainment superstore. The author expresses: “I was lucky enough to work with some very exceptional people over the years. They made it possible for me to survive in the hellish landscape of retail sales. In some ways Between Failures is a message of hope for anyone still trapped there. There is a light at the end of that tunnel.” And it’s that message that keeps me coming back.
From the Reader’s Perspective:
I must confess that I never worked a retail job (construction worker instead), but I had a lot of friends that did and met a lot of their work circles. So while I can’t say firsthand that this comic mirrors the experience perfectly, it mirrors the experience perfectly. We are initially introduced to the main character Thomas as he rises for work and you get a glimpse into his worldview and lifestyle. We are then introduced to the rest of the cast through the eyes of Ed, the new guy who learns the ways of the store under Thomas’s rather unorthodox mentoring methods.
This strip is a deep look at its well developed characters and how they interact with each other. These interactions are extremely authentic, and you feel like you get to know the characters personally, which makes it very easy to relate to. And the writing is full of just great stuff – excellent plot development, true-to-life romance, workplace antagonism, nerd references – it’s all very satisfying to the reader.
The art is inspired by the anime aesthetic, albeit a more Westernized version, and I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it matches the writing style really well. It helps evoke that emotion you get about your group of friends, the one that goes “these people may be a bunch of weirdos, but they’re MY weirdos!” I really get into sequential art that is a graphical representation of that feeling of friendship, and this one (like Questionable Content) is one of the best in the business at it. Which is why it will remain one of my favorites.
In the words of Thomas, “As I see it, life is just something that happens between failures”