This book collects the first year of “Jimbo” Hillin’s webcomic Wireheads. The strip is entertaining, a clever workplace comic strip, but what I really enjoyed most in this book were Jimbo’s side comments.
Jimbo has been involved in the visual effects field in Hollywood for 24 years. He’s been around the block a few times, heard a few stories about the industry and the people who work there, and he obviously really enjoys telling those stories. This book reflects Jimbo’s joy.
The comic strips take place in a fictional special effects house where a group of interesting characters work. There’s Dave, the tools wizard who refuses to write documentation because he likes anarchy; Chuck, the demolition expert; Sierra, who Chuck mentors to follow in his rubble-filled footsteps; and there’s Willis, the man with the iron butt who all the pretty women lust after.
I work in the software industry, so I really enjoyed the jokes about how projects never run on time and how nothing ever gets documented. Thankfully, though, there aren’t too many strips that focus on the tech side of things–there are also strips that focus on normal work stuff like regular old lust for the opposite sex.
The strip is never too outrageous, but I did find the Wireheads strips to be consistently entertaining.
Oddly, the part I thought I’d enjoy the least about the book became one of my favorite features of it. This book reprints Jimbo’s commentaries on the strips in the book, and I often found his comments more interesting than the strips.
One page, chosen completely at random, ponders the question of “What do you do if you find yourself in a tough spot? One where you normally don’t find yourself?” and ends with “Take the path that best suits you, but be wary where it leads.” Obviously Jimbo was going through some issues at work that day, and this note was written to help him get through it.
It’s an interesting sort of autobiography. It’s a detailed piece all about someone who we don’t know well at all. I thought his insights were interesting and relevant to my own career; your mileage may vary.
More importantly, though, the strips really ended too quickly. I wanted to see more of these characters. I wanted to see more workplace fun and more young lust. Hopefully we’ll get a second volume of Wireheads, as long as we also get some more of Jimbo’s autobiographical commentary.