Even in post-apocalyptic world where men can transform into human resources bears and brain slugs can edit out disturbing memories, you can't escape the mindfuck that is office politics. In the webcomic adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's darkly comic story The Situation, a lowly fish designer is thrust into a world of traitorous brain-linking coworkers and steampunk automaton managers who just want his love.
We originally discussed the text version of The Situation way back in 2008, when the entire story appeared on GeekDad. The webcomic version was posted this week on Tor, and features lovely and strange watercolor artwork by Eric Orchard.
Wick lives in nameless, rundown city where he designs bioengineered animals for people in wealthier cities. His team is working on an educational fish for children, but nothing seems to be going right. His best friend Mord transferred to human resources, where he is now a bear. Wick's project manager, a giant heartless automaton, has no idea what's going on, but that doesn't stop her from changing the design of the fish to make it in her own image. And the only question she ever asks him is "Do you love me?"
In comic form, The Situation is especially watery and absurd. We're thrust into an alien world filled with spy beetles and edible bonuses and creatures with many eyes lurking everywhere. But they're no more strange than the overpowering isolation and confusion Wick feels. A scheming coworker starts to undercut his project, and he's gradually cut off even from the people he thought of as friends. In truth, Orchard's unnervingly surreal illustrations are a far more logical complement to the incomprehensibility of office politics than white boards and track lighting.