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Time Management for Anarchists #1

Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2008
By: Dave Baxter

Jim Munroe
Marc Ngui
IDW Publishing
The Concept and Point: Time Management for Anarchists isn’t your usual comic book, but more to the point it reads like one of those mini Christian Bible comics (what are they called?...Google searching…oh, yes), Tijuana Bibles, that you can buy for ten cents a pop. Make it a regular mainstream sized mag and charge $3.99 cover price and have it hold a far more intriguing and palatable subject matter, and you’ve got Time Management for Anarchists. Written by independent creator Jim Munroe (Flyboy Action Figure Comes with Gasmask) and art by Marc Ngui, the book is Munroe’s manifesto on how “anarchists” -- which in this case means “those who wish to work sans boss and create independently for a living -- must contradictorily find discipline, organization, and steady dependable work ethic in order to succeed. Anyone can be an "anarchist." But that doesn’t mean you get to be anarchic.

Does This Thing Work as a Comic?: The comic is definitely one sweet read, but not if you’ve come looking for a story. Or actually, I did come looking for a story (I really didn’t know what the heck this comic was) and I was nevertheless pleasantly surprised. The issue flows, following political radical Emma Goldman and her boss Mikhail Bakunin, as they both find themselves jobless and boss-less and wondering what to do next. Writer Munroe takes them through some twists and turns as they discover the possible truth behind the “liberation” of being one’s own boss and finding a work niche that suits.

Munroe could certainly have vied for a more concrete story, rather than the after school special it is. The comic, as mentioned before, is obviously a simple set-up to argue a point, to show an important parable of self-employed living. That said, it’s an effortless read, and while it is literally preachy, it never feels harshly so. The message isn’t a demand, as no one has to live the life of the self-employed, so it’s a soft recommendation, and a slight slice of caution. Think about reading Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, only with a touch more veneer of plot and a different point. That’s the book. Intuitive and oddly entertaining, even though it isn’t, ultimately, about entertaining you all.

Marc Ngui’s art is very natural, pleasing on the eye and iconic in form, his colors so well fitting that the whole experience is pushed toward the subliminal. Between him and Munroe, TMfA is a thought provoking, visually captivating one-off.

Passing Sentence: Everyone should read this. There’s nobody I know that picks up a comic or novel and doesn’t think (even if only in passing) that they could do the same, and for a living. This is a great primer for the kind of life and mental approach that tackling such a lifestyle change would demand. Use this book alongside Munroe’s website, and you’ve got yourself a great beginning to seeing the world in a different light. An “Anarchist’s” light.

You Can Read My Own (and Similar) Take On This Subject Matter By Reading: Killing the Grizzly #1: A Bold New Era

And come have a pint o’ blog with me: The Gillian’s Heart Blog



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