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Barbara Slate Week! – Yuppies From Hell

yuppiedisplay

Barbara Slate Week continues, which is a (work) week’s worth of spotlights on the work of Barbara Slate, an underappreciated comic book creator who I’ve long been a fan of.

Today we take a look at Slate’s 1989 one-shot at Marvel Comics titled Yuppies From Hell…

This one-shot (written and drawn by Slate) is a mixture of one-off satirical examinations of life among the world of young urban professionals (“yuppies”) and a few characters who we follow throughout the book as they make their way through the world.

Slate sharpens her satirical wit in this one-shot.

Here’s one of the one-off bits…

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And I love the usage of “To be continued”s in the piece, as Slate uses a “soap opera” style to add a nice level of faux drama to the life of yuppies that works really well as a statement of the absurdity of it all. Like here, as a young couple look to buy an expensive apartment…

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That couple shows up a lot during the issue.

Two characters who fare a little better in the story are two women, Jane and Beth. Slate still mocks them, of course, but she definitely intends to show these two as examples of what the world is like for single women in the city.

Here, Jane, an actress, makes her way through the indignities of trying to get cast in a dog food commercial…

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and then the further indignities of trying to buy condoms (she recently was divorced)…

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Meanwhile, we have followed Beth through the story from being aloof and distant to a guy friend of hers named Rusty to, well, sort of stalking him…

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What I love about this work is how much empathy Slate can maintain for her characters while still mocking them at the same time. She understands that there’s a little bit of this bad behavior in ALL of use, whether we’re yuppies or not, so she tends to keep the really rough portrayals for people who aren’t really yuppies (like the jerk boss of a secretary character).

4 Comments

I remember seeing “Yuppies From Hell” in a comic shop when I was a kid. It may have been the first time I ever saw the word “yuppie”. It was next to another topical-satire comic that starred cartoon versions of George and Barbara Bush.

What a weird memory to dredge up.

Most of these are pretty funny! It’w easy to forget that Marvel used to publish oddball things like this… it seems much more DC/Vertigo territory.

Thanks Brian! A whole week dedicated to me!!! And I thought May 9th, my birthday, was the highlight of my week! BTW, I did three Yuppies from Hell for Marvel. The second was “Son of Yuppies from Hell” and the third, “Sex, Lies and Mutual Funds of the Yuppies from Hell”.

Kudos to Tom DeFalco,editor and chief of Marvel, for trying out these non super hero graphic novels for women.

Oh yeah, sorry, I should have been more clear when I said “one-shot” that two more one-shots followed!

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