Adventures of a System Admin: The Sniffer” by Juan Espinosa Review: A Slice of Life

Some indie comics catch a hold of you, not for outrageous plots or shock-effect storylines but because they capture moments you resonate with. That coworker who has their computer protected password on a post-it on their screen. Or that one guy who is the micro aggressive jerk, whose mess you always have to clean up since they’re not pulling their weight. Oh, and by the way, he also happens to be dating your sister. Juan Espinosa’s “Adventures of a System Admin” has weaved these narratives throughout several previous issues. Sometimes the best stories are the kind where you instantly relate.


Looking at the latest issue subtitled â€œThe Sniffer,” an older looking man with amazing grey hair stares pointedly at the reader. He is surrounded by the glowing green of computer screens, opened soda containers, holding something in his hand. The cover of this comic book tells the entire story, a puzzle for the reader to figure out. Most of this issue’s setting is in an office where the computer server is glitching. Soon we find out what sniffer means but the drama continues.


There are also subplots happening where two from the IT crew have to be fired, JJ, the protagonist of “Adventures” is in a blossoming romance. While he and his would-be girlfriend text, JJ is sitting on a set of steps, outside a building. The characters who surround him look like real people as you see a child on either side of him, while others move about their day. That’s a major bright spot about this medium. The artwork by El Santa is stellar as we continue to notice this in the following panels withthe woman on the other side of JJ’s text. The reader sees an older woman standing in line, she’s wearing glasses where you can tell she has prescription lenses and a smart haircut. That attention to detail gives reread value and makes the experience of this indie comic remarkable.


The drama, near fisticuffs and tender moments are allover this well-made comic book. There are also the panels where we see Sandro’s snacks. From the donuts on his desk to his bags of chips he has at home, you will start feeling for a little something to munch on. Alongside the stress of Sandro having to get rid of people it shows the everyday lives of these characters. When JJ visits his mother to tell her about what’s been going on at work, you feel the hug she gives him. It’s that reassurance that in this world there are still people who care about you, and you can rely on. 


Overall issue 6 of “Adventures of a System Admin: The Sniffer” from Bearded Man Comics is that slice of life story that is a respite from the madness of the times surrounding us. While nothing is perfect, it’s also not hopeless.

About Donna-Lyn Washington 634 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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