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Saturday Webcomic: Corporate Skull is a foul-mouthed, skull-faced pharmaceutical salesman caught in a global conspiracy

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If Jhonen Vasquez (of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Invader Zim fame) wrote about the horrors of working a cubicle job, he might have come up with something along the lines of Corporate Skull. Jamie Smart's webcomic stars an unassuming office drone whose face is ripped off in a freak photocopier accident. He becomes the hard-drinking, misanthropic Skull, who, despite his tendency to destroy everything he touches, happens to be his pharmaceutical company's best employee. He also may be the only one who can stop the coming apocalypse—if his bosses can keep him from quitting his job.

Alan Buttons was a sad-sack salesman at the possibly nefarious Curb Pharmaceuticals. He had a job he didn't particularly like. He's got a dog that leaks from every orifice. And he doesn't like people. At all. The one exception is Veronica, a sweet but dim girl who proves his undoing. After failing to overdose on Curb vitamins, Alan goes into work sick and bleeding from his nose, only to come to Veronica's rescue when she has a problem with the copier. But then Alan's tie—and eventually his face—gets caught in the paper feed and Veronica is too flaky to turn off the machine.


That's when Alan Buttons dies and Corporate Skull is born. Skull may have Buttons' memories and his misanthropy, but where Alan was quiet and depressed, Skull is boisterous, violent, and wildly inappropriate. He's perpetually drunk, constantly insults his coworkers (though, to be honest, they give as good as they get), and when he's not riding go-karts through the office, he's building himself a throne or redecorating a coworker's desk with cow's blood. However, he still manages to outperform every other salesperson in the office.

But that's not the only reason Skull is important. Strange things are going on at Curb—strange things involving the pantless IT guy, the giant monster that roams the halls at night, especially violent corporate headhunters, and a plot to destroy all of humanity. For Skull, the question is: Which side is Curb Pharmaceuticals on? And does he really care enough about the world to save it?


Smart gives us a high-energy black comedy, one filled with despicable characters who are nevertheless endless fun to watch. Skull is a winning protagonist not because he shows any sort of compassion (he doesn't) or has any redeeming moral qualities (he has none), but because he's endlessly inventive with his capacity for destruction (both deliberate and accidental) and he shows plenty of genuine curiosity about his current situation. In fact, Skull may ultimately do the right thing and save the world, but he will probably do it less from any heroic impulse than out of spite.

[Corporate Skull]