Comic Non-Sans: “Our Valued Customers”

Once again, we (that is, I) will be delving into that lovely gray area of maybe-webcomic maybe-blog creations making their way out into the readership.  In this particular case, the blogcomic (because I need to be able to call it something and I’m a lazy typist) in question falls into a fairly established “genre” when it comes to online content.

Our Valued Customers, the work of one “MRTIM,” is of that fairly popular breed of blog that outlines wince-worthy true stories from the workplace — a more and more common theme, ranging from teachers to the ever-popular IT department.  MRTIM, though, works at a comic book store — a setting rife with bizarre anecdotes when it comes to customer interaction (with the staff or with each other).  Every day, he presents us with a gem from one of his shoppers.  Unlike the majority of similar blogs out there, though, he  shows rather than tells.

Right, so it should be fairly obvious, just from the concept, why our artist works under a pseudonym.  “Our Valued Customers” is, by its very nature, pretty candid.  As it says on the site itself, “These are real people.  This is what they look like and this is something that they actually said.”  MRTIM’s style is all about the bold, angular lines — the sort of thing one could easily see a disgruntled employee drawing on the back of a Post-It between sales.  But it’s also just that evocative.  Odds are if you’re enough of a geek to read this column, you’ve run into the sorts outlined here.

I hesitate to call “Our Valued Customers” any sort of mixed media, though.  It is fairly straightforwardly a one-panel daily comic posted up in a blog.  Each panel pretty well carries itself — beyond an occasional title explaining context, there’s no peripheral writing.  (To be honest, looking at some of the people the artist encounters, one gets the feeling that extra explanation wouldn’t help matters.)

From an archiving standpoint, putting an anecdotal series like OVC in a blog format is actually really helpful, mainly because sorting and surfing by keywords is just that much more intuitive.  Want to see jerks talking about Batman?  There’s a tag for that.

Our Valued Customers updates every day of the week, and it’s a quick morning read to toss in with your other feeds.  No storyline or continuity, just short and sweet bad-customer stories.  And, at least in my case, a sudden urge to watch my behaviour when I go to comic book stores.  Just in case MRTIM is there.  Not that I’m paranoid.

Posted on March 29, 2011 at 01:05 by Kara Dennison · Permalink
In: Columns, The Written Word, Webcomics · Tagged with: , , , ,