Just another day at the office for the demons and human of “Hell, Inc.”

We’ve all either experienced or have a pretty good idea of the monotonous goings on at an office—shifting from pale cubicle to pale cubicle, using a reluctant photocopier, small talk between coworkers that just take up space, the things that make you regret having to enter the building at all. 

The same goes for Doug, a disgruntled demon who works for Hell, Inc. in a comic of the same name that currently has a campaign running on Kickstarter—which you can check out HERE.

Along with his other demon coworkers—Bridgette, Steve, and a human intern, Sara—Doug does everything in his power to avoid work and his tyrannical douche boss B.L. Zebub. 

“Most of the characters come from an archetype and have qualities of people I know,” says award-winning cartoonist, Jeff Martin, who writes, draws, colours, and letters the comic. “So Steve is that coworker that’s too happy to be there. Doug is the guy who doesn’t want to be there and wont try. The boss is the shitty boss that no one likes. I mean it’s in Hell so he’s more cruel and powerful.”

Martin—who has other comics like HEAT, Hockeypocalypse (which we reviewed HERE), and Where is Zog? (originally published in Heavy Metal magazine)—actually released two black-and-white issues of Hell, Inc. back in 2009, but being a comic artist for hire, other projects kept popping up so he put it on the back burner. 

“It was always something I wanted to come back to because of the stuff I’ve created, it really connected with people very easily,” he says.  

Martin calls Doug the everyman character that readers can mold their own personalities into. The world of Hell, Inc. is almost a character as well—here, souls are currency, the office has an elevator of screaming heads, and everyone in the office is gaga for candied sheep day. 

Nobody likes the office Steve

“The hell-evator is my favourite thing that I also kind of hate. I love the effect of the souls screaming at you during the only time you’re alone, but they also take really long to draw,” he says.

Hell, Inc.’s story is a pretty simple one that anyone can get a few laughs out of, but where it really shines is in the art. All of the characters pop out of each page and their emotive faces, while cartoonish, are perfect metaphors for the human experience. 

One sequence has Doug being on hold with Heaven for an hour while the droning hold music slowly digs into his ears. The receptionist for Heaven also poses no help after finally picking up so Doug smashes the phone into smithereens. It’s a situation that anyone who has called their insurance, bank, or the government can relate to. 

The ol’ butts speardsheet … classic.

“Sometimes you don’t have to do a lot of writing, but the art does it for you. I bought a house in the last year so I’ve been on hold for a thing that I don’t super care about but needs to get done many times … I had a lot of fun drawing that sequence. It was therapeutic,” Martin laughs. 

And while the whole hell-as-an-office allegory is something we’ve seen before, Hell, Inc. has a lot of heart to it in the comedy and world building. Martin knows the perfect amount of information to divulge about his version of Hell to make each read fun and engaging. 

“The way I world build is making sure everything connects for me and whether or not it connects with the reader is entirely based on the story function. Sara dies and then has to work for Hell Inc. So does everyone have to do that? Well no, but the more stuff you have to explain, the less time you have for the story,” Martin says. 

He’s currently happy with the way the Kickstarter is going which is at around 52 percent of its current goal. 

“My backup is to release the comic and print both volume one and two either way,” Martin says. “Best way will be to get them through me directly, but there’s a handful of indie stores that are very supportive. Variant Edition is one and it should be available at Wonderland Games in the future.”

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