Pondering Death With ‘Your Favorite Mortician’ [New Blood Drops]

Your Favorite Mortician

Y’know, I hung out with a mortician once. A few of them, actually. They were having a get-together and I was lucky enough to be invited, for some reason. After draining the sanguine juice from a bottle of Jack Daniels and a six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade (these were my pre-beer days), our discussions turned to their line of occupation. About what it’s like to work with the vacant meat husks that waste their breath no more, fucking off from our world and into the next… If I’m sounding rather unsympathetic to the dead, it’s only because I’m being true to the words of the morticians. 

When you’re surrounded by death on a daily basis, you tend to become desensitized. It’s just another job to them, with all the routines and complaints of any other. Which brings me to this article’s topic. A friend of a friend sent an interesting comic my way that details just what I’ve been discussing — the daily life of a mortician. The perks, the struggles, the weird things that happen when dealing with cadavers, all the fun stuff. With all that said, let’s take a look at Chris Shelton’s autobiographical series — Your Favorite Mortician!

The story follows Chris, a recently laid-off record store clerk obsessed with death, as he takes a job working at a mortuary. As he works there, he meets a colorful cast of characters whose feelings about him range from pity to contempt, ensuring this job will be unlike any other he had before. Oh yeah, and there’s also the dearly departed he has to take care of, specifically by using the crematory. It’s a slice-of-life tale by way of John Waters, which should immediately catch your interest if you’re like me.

About the series, Shelton said:

“It’s my comic series about working in the funeral industry for the past 16 years and being on basically a death trip my entire life. I’ve worked pretty much every job title you can have in this industry… The comics are autobiographical but, of course, certain details are going to change from the real story for obvious reasons. My inspiration… is the American Splendor comics, mixed with the raw anecdotes from Anthony Bourdain‘s Kitchen Confidential. I can appreciate the pragmatic/no-frills working stiff outlook from both… and it really clicked with me… I’ve read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies about life in the funeral industry and, in my opinion, none of them have ever captured the real experience.”

If you’re a fan of Jhonen Vasquez (Squee!, Invader ZIM), Roman Dirge (Lenore), and/or Aaron Alexovich (Eldritch!), I think you’ll get a kick out of this comic. The grim humor hits similarly, and there’s also a suitably scratchy, grungy caricature-ism to the art. Unlike the other examples, where the stylism adds to the whimsical yet horrific atmosphere, the art in “Your Favorite Mortician” grounds everything down. Honestly, it fits perfectly.

The story is nothing grandiose, with no ghosts or ghouls or corpses rising from the dead to eat flesh. It’s a down-to-earth tale, something closer to home than the stuff that I usually talk about. Sure, some of the events that happen are incredibly absurd, but so is real life. Stranger things have happened in reality than any sort of fiction. As far as this series goes, I feel it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I also say that because there are only two issues out so far, so it’s anyone’s guess what wild things may or may not happen. Well, save for Shelton himself, that is.

The first two issues of Your Favorite Mortician are available for purchase right here.



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