Monday, October 12, 2009

Jobnik

According to the online Urban Dictionary a “Jobnik” is:

Israeli slang for a non-combatant soldier who serves his nation by doing secretarial work, clerking, counting inventory, or some other "job"-like function. Generally used with a hint of derision, as if the jobnik is lazier than a fighter.
Female form: jobnikit.
Plural form: jobnikim.
You want to be a jobnik? That's gonna be so boring, doing that for three years.


However, for the purposes of this post, Jobnik is the name of a thoroughly engrossing comic that tells the story of a US-born gal named Miriam Libicki, who emigrated to Israel, and then enlisted in the Israeli military.

The slice-of-life story that Miriam tells is honest, and, well, often unflattering to Miriam herself. Part of this is due to Miriam herself, many of her qualities seem to make her unsuited for Israeli De fence Forces (IDF) life: her Hebrew isn’t that good, she is very shy and passive, and she has a tendency to fall in love with anyone with a pulse that pays attention to her. If that weren’t enough, the Al Aqsa uprising, (A.K.A the second Palestinian Intifada), erupts a few weeks after she is stationed as a secretary in a remote Negev base. The story follows Miriam as she attempts to survive threats of terrorism, the rough IDF culture, and not least, her horrible taste in men.

I first learned about this comic when my Father-in-Law showed me an article about it in a Jewish newspaper, and then I met Miriam at a MoCCA convention and purchased some of her comics. Well, at this year’s MoCCA, I met her again, and bought more. The comic is well worth the investment and the story is both compelling and highly readable. Miriam does not sugar-coat what happens in her life, and that is what makes it even more compelling.

If you are Jewish, or if you just like autobiographical comics, then you should seek out Jobnik. There is now a graphic novel collecting the first six issues (she is up to seven issues in the series), as well as a number of “ancillary” comics that Libicki has published, that also make for good reading, and I highly recommend them all.

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