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Davis, California

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Artists of the week: Allen Banez and Jon Wilson

Allen Banez graduated from the University of California system in 1988. After seeing the recent lambasting of UC Davis students by the gauzy orange burn of pepper spray, he was inspired to create Evil Boss, a weekly comic making light of the social slavery surrounding the populace.

“I was totally disgusted with the UC Davis security department,” he exclaims.

As a postmodern critic on everything from the 99 percent to the one percent, Evil Boss breaks routine by utilizing sparse yet effective imagery. Together Banez and Jon Wilson collaborate on Evil Boss to further social commentary and bring awareness to those asunder, in order to bring about solidarity.

The Aggie sits down with Banez to dig deeper behind the social and political statements behind the comic.

You cite that the Occupy movement inspired your comic Evil Boss. Can you explain to me how?
The Occupy Movement is about the 99 percent which are the people who are fighting against the one percent. The one percent has all of the power which is the like the Evil Boss while the 99 percent are the people who are trying to survive financially. The main twist is that the Evil Boss gets punished in every issue. It was our chance to show the one percent losing for a change.

How did the characters in Evil Boss come to be?
The characters are the people that we deal with in the workforce daily. They are the people that are just trying to make a living. I wanted everyone to relate to the good and bad employees in a company. Think about any of your current or previous jobs and you will see characters like ours.

As an alumnus of the UC system, what can you say has changed? And does this reflect in Evil Boss?
A lot of the company benefits have been decreased since I graduated. For example, insurance co-payments and insurance payments from our paychecks have increased. We have also have benefits cut like pensions and tuition reimbursement programs. We cover this in the Evil Boss comic strip. We joke about the benefits cuts that everyone is facing today.

What style of comic is Evil Boss portrayed in?
We are very honest and make fun of what has gone on in corporate America for the last 20 years. There is a lot of truth to what we cover. Truth is always stranger than fiction. People can relate to our comic strips because they deal with these issues on a regular basis.

How does Evil Boss support the Occupy movement?
We show that the Evil Boss gets punished. It is a chance for the 99 percent to feel like the Evil Boss got what he deserved. People deal with these issues on a regular basis and are powerless. Evil Boss lets them live vicariously through our comic strip. In our comic strip, the Evil Boss gets punished and tortured for his bad and greedy behavior. Payback is a bitch and you will see Karma get the Evil Boss which will be fun for everyone. Read, laugh, enjoy and smile through his pain.

What can one learn of the sentiments across America from reading Evil Boss?
We can learn that we are not alone. Everyone can relate to what is going on in the workforce. The main thing I wanted to point out is that even if you are a boss you are just an employee like everyone else.

I know you run a consumer advocacy business called “LetterChamp.” Are you an evil boss? If not, then what makes you different?
I am not an Evil Boss. I treat people the way that I want to be treated. I really believe this and have followed this my entire life. We are all people and we are all created equal. Everyone and their opinions matter. This is how I have managed the LetterChamp.

What do you hope to achieve with Evil Boss?
I want to entertain people and make them laugh. We all have to work so if I can make someone’s day better with a comic strip then I have done a great thing. One of my other goals is to promote our e-book called Greed is Bad and Corporate Bosses are Evil! Staying Ahead in Tough Times and Saving For a Life of Royalty. We show people that they have the power to cut the evil boss bonus check. Revenue less expenses equal profit. Throughout our book, we show the consumer that they can decrease the company revenue and increase the company expenses which cut the company profit. Without the customers there would be no company so customers have the true power. The 99 percent can control the company. Our e-book will show you how to save money, get things for free and get the quality products that you paid for and deserve.

PETER AN can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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