Through the Habitrails

 THTH   (Bad Habit, 1994)

ô and © Bad Habit

Indy comic fans may have already taken notice of creator Jeff Nicholsonís current series Colonia, a fantasy-adventure story set in a North America with a very different history. Regardless, fans owe it to themselves to check out this earlier and very different work from Nicholson, also available from Colonia Press.

The first Habitrails story appeared more than 10 years ago in the anthology series Taboo from the late Tundra Press. This volume is a newer edition of the graphic novel that first collected Nicholsonís stories from Taboo a couple of years after the anthology folded. The short stories were a series of bleak, interconnected tales about Nicholsonís nameless (but autobiographical) protagonist and his draining, dreary job in an art studio for a similarly nameless corporation.

Anyone whoís ever had utter hatred and disdain for their job will most certainly relate to Nicholsonís Kafkaesque vision of this claustrophobic office, filled with despair and drudgery. In this workplace lies a maze of habitrail tubes and cages, where gerbils scurry about and serve to remind the workers of their own harried but ultimately meaningless assignments. In one surreal and disturbing story, workers are shown to have spigots attached to their bodies, where co-workers and management regularly and freely drain their creativity and motivation.

Itís hard to believe that the mind behind the whimsy of Colonia could have survived such an experience, much less created such a gloomy, yet engrossing, story about it. But those who can relate should check out this graphical novel. And get a new job.

ó Jim Johnson

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Book #1

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