Working in retail has its ups and downs. Although the ups are still to be scientifically proven, the downs are very well known. In all seriousness, working in retail is very difficult because you have to deal with many different people, work long hours and all that for a low wage.
Sometimes, the way to cope with dire circumstances is humor, and if that is the case, the retail workers have plenty to joke about. Stephen Beals obviously thinks so, so he created a series of retail comics that show how wonderful it is to work in retail.
He likes to illustrate situations from our everyday lives, so his work is not restricted only to retail situations. He created the “Adult Children Comics,” an endless supply of fun for all who like to laugh at themselves.
When asked to tell us more about his work, and his inspiration, Stephen said: "I've been drawing comics forever out of pure love for the art form. My degree is in animation, but I drifted towards print and graphic art.
I worked my way through college and actually loved working with people. Unless I was tired. Or sick. Or if someone was being an uppity raccoon. Sometimes customers are uppity raccoons and love has left the air.
My comics were something I made after work to let off steam. They were filler until "The Big Idea" came along. "The Big Idea" was to be a concept so enthralling that it would take the world by storm, whatever that means.
Storms are something most people generally avoid, but if a product becomes super successful it's apparently wise to pack an umbrella. I don't get umbrellas, either. Umbrellas are useless in high winds. Manufacturers want to sell umbrellas, right? So what do they do?
They make them supported by a metal-colored piece of linguini, and any actual storm will break them into the pasta strands that they are. Then you have to buy another umbrella. Smart. Very smart."
"My "letting off steam" comic shoved aside my "big idea" idea comic like a linguini umbrella in a storm. I titled it "Adult Children" because adulthood seems to be a myth we tell children in order to get them to behave. Sometimes it works and a child will master the art of pretending to be responsible. They become politicians, incarcerated, or potentially both.
To my delight, GoComics digitally syndicated Adult Children and you can find it on many newspaper websites. I make enough money with it to buy the occasional umbrella or pasta meal, but not both."
"The characters are me divided into parts. Harvey (named after my grandfather) is me as I present myself to the world. Berle is my complete ID. Penny is my small sliver of responsibility. Claremont is the best of me, which is why he's a dog. I will never be as good as my dog, even after that time she knocked over my framed Van Gogh print and smashed it into a million pieces. I know she loved that Van Gogh print as much as I did and her sorrow was written all over her face. She deserved a treat."
"Lately I've been writing about retail because I took my graphic art skills to a standing position. Graphic art can be very fulfilling, but you're not talking to anyone. Sitting and snacking all day, you can literally hear your rear end getting wider as your Levi's split open.
I now work for a print shop where I get to make things for people in person. Some days are very rewarding while other days make me want to stitch up my Levi's and sit back down. However, people are endlessly fascinating and I can't give it up."
"My comic took a turn during the pandemic because I was working six days a week and there was a lot of steam to be let off. People who refused to wear masks, those who wanted an audience for their conspiracy theories, and those who loudly shared their political preferences filled my day. I put it in the comic. Of course, I got COVID, so I put it in the comic. I got a very small raise for my troubles, so I put it in the comic.
My "Big Idea" now is to simply write a book on retail. No matter what you are buying, the person you are giving money to is not being paid enough, but probably likes you anyway. Otherwise, they would go lift boxes and earn more money."