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The Envelope Manufacturer

2.82  ·  Rating details ·  95 ratings  ·  15 reviews
An account of obsolete machinery and outmoded business planning

Chris Oliveros's The Envelope Manufacturer documents the hardships and gradual disintegration of the career of the owner of an independent small business. The book begins as the head of the manufacturing company is already deep in financial straits: he struggles to deal with a series of late payments and dwindling orders
Paperback, 104 pages
Published January 19th 2016 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published January 12th 2016)
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Average rating 2.82  · 
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 ·  95 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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David Schaafsma
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
A short graphic novel set in mid-century USA. An envelope manufacturer is going out of business, and he is desperate to stay afloat, increasingly desperate. It also feels like the advent of the Depression, with people throwing themselves out of buildings as the banks fail and money is lost, or like now, which I imagine he has in mind, as people are going crazy trying to survive, with fewer safety nets in place. The (small-business) owner faces all of the inevitable sad spiraling-out-of-control, ...more
Nov 27, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a tough one. It's blackly humorous, focused on a pair of men who are determinedly not facing reality in their lives, artfully delivered with a dashy line that shows a sketchy reality. It's not funny or overly dramatic - but it has moments of humor and pathos. I liked it. I'm curious how others will take to it.
The Envelope Manufacturer was definitely not for me. I wasn't keen on the art, and I thought the characters were hard to tell apart. The story itself was kind of bland and awkward. I thought the premise was interesting, but it wasn't well represented. Overall this was really not to my taste.
Stewart Tame
Aug 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an odd little book. I'm more familiar with Oliveros' work as a publisher than as a comics artist. This book comes off like a cross between Ben Katchor and Richard Sala. It feels like something that could have run in RAW back in the day. It's nominally the story of a failing business. The three remaining employees try to keep things running, but it's no use. The owner, Mr. Cluthers, is in deep denial about how bad things have gotten. The ending is very much 1980's RAW. Odd. It's a word t ...more
Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
I didn't get it.

I couldn't keep track of the characters. I didn't understand the drama except in a vague, depressing sort of way.

There seemed to be a lot of miscommunication - I think that might have been central to the plot - but since I couldn't figure out who was saying what or shouting at whom, it was lost on me.

The illustrations were consistent, but didn't help me out in the "who's talking now?" department.
Aug 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
What an odd book. Three stars for making me re-read to try and follow the story...until I realized nit knowing what was real was part of the story. Depressing, yet unique, both in the story/art, and in its originality. A fast read, so worth the time if you can get a copy at the library. Don't expect to love it, just to have yourself challenged by the style.
Josephus FromPlacitas
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
We talk about this book in podcast #56 of Comics For Grownups:
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adults.
Recommended to Helen by: No-one.
I thought this was a fabulous graphic novel - a pleasure to read, maybe exceptionally so.

This novel really "occurs" in the recesses of the reader's imagination and collective memories, as well as in that area of nagging concern that a whole world of work, established custom/routines/occupations - is disappearing. The book takes place in a time and place of people who were more carefully dressed, in suits and dresses, and life was more "predictable" thus perhaps comforting. It was a world where
Joseph Young
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what this book is supposed to be about, but it seems to say that if you have insurmountable problems, either go mad, or off yourself and hope you've paid up on your life insurance. The schizophrenic envelope manufacturer spirals into madness because he can not break free of his old patterns. If given the choice, I don't think I'd read this again.
Dark and witty portrayal of depression. Eould recommand but I warn you it's very depressing.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I still don't know. I enjoyed the art, but the story was bleak and "insistent" as another reviewer mentioned. I will probably read this one more time to try and solidify my feelings about it, especially since it's so short.
A dark graphic novel about the ways people live in denial (mostly related to work). I really liked the pacing of this in the last third of the book, though I think the story might have pulled together more tightly as a mini.
Mark Victor Young
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Great artwork, but weird story. Oddly repetitive, or *insistent* as Gertrude Stein might say. Definitely surreal. Not sure it's the kind of thing I recommend reading for pleasure, but I think it's worth a read for fans of the medium.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Damn! This book sucked. I kept hoping it would get better...that there was going to be some unexpected twist.
There are many pornos with better plots.
Ed Erwin
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
More of a 'mood' than a 'story'. Pretty nice, though.
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Jan 31, 2017
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Jessica Haider
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Jul 18, 2017
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Jan 10, 2018
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