Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Working Daze: You win the bet. Dana can read minds.

I'm really looking forward to the installment of Working Daze in which one of the male characters is drawn without any clothes on.

What is that you say? You don't think that's ever going to happen? Interesting.

So, yeah, there's a double-standard at work here. On the other hand, Dana does kick the daydreamer's ass. So maybe Working Daze is feminist! Well, probably not.

John Zakour sells Working Daze as a geek strip, and the way he presents his female characters is clearly informed by that. The past couple of weeks have featured stories in which Rita and Dana each literally have superpowers. They are each drawn sexily, in general, and occasionally blatantly objectified, as in the the cartoon above. As such, they bear a striking resemblance to countless female science fiction characters/sex-symbols: Princess Leia, Xena, Buffy. I think it's fair to say, of course, that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is more feminist than Star Wars, but science-fiction and fantasy shows constantly deal with and often exploit the tension between objectification and empowerment.

Working Daze isn't really a fantasy, though. It's a work-place sitcom with elements of fantasy. All the male characters are geeks, and they relate to the women of the strip as geeks relate to sci-fi sex-symbols, because in the world of the strip the women basically are sci-fi sex-symbols who just happen to work in an office. It's a fine conceit, if a bit too overly broad to be smart exactly. The way the stereotypical geek relates to the fictional female archetypes in his stereotypical comic book does say something about the way socially awkward men relate to women in general. But Zakour doesn't really explore these relationships all that much, and instead just chooses to use his conceit for cheap gags. The result is that his comic leans more towards the objectification than the empowerment.


  1. Ed was shown naked once before I was the artist. But yeah, the guys are pretty much geeks and the women are frequently seen through their POV. These are males who are non starters with females. I'm not too lucky with women myself, and I don't speak a word of Klingon. I pretty much draw the gags John sends, but I do make suggestions, and have opined that we might cut back a bit on the sexy babe gags.

  2. Hey Scott,

    Thanks for dropping by. I actually like WORKING DAZE quite a bit; it's a big, big step up from most of the stuff I write about around here. I just find the objectification mildly objectionable and a bit too easy. One thing I do appreciate about the depiction of the women, though, is that they are more or less realistically proportioned and not cartoon supermodel thin.

    In any event, I enjoy your work. Contrary to the way this blog may make it seem, I actually love comics, and seeing a comic that contains themes and drawing that I can actually analyze, rather than just mock, is kind of nice.


  3. Feedback heard and taken. It is amazing though the number of our fans who love Dana and Carolina.

  4. Hi John,

    I don't *dislike* Dana. I just think she represents a very particular type--the sci-fi/fantasy babe, as described in the post proper. I'm not sure if that was you're intent--I make no claims to Dana-like telepathy--but I do think it's a valid reading. And with that comes the tension between objectification and empowerment, which the above comic illustrates really well, actually. Remove each of the panel from the context of the other and they become purely, in the case of the upper, objectification; and in the case of the lower, empowerment.

    I'm not at all surprised that fans like those characters. On the contrary, I'd be surprised if fans didn't like them. They are very likable sort of characters.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to stop by.