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Patrick Wirbeleit
Hell of a job

My job is hell! – that's probably what everyone has thought at one time or another. In a comic book by Patrick Wirbeleit, a pubescent actually finds work in the realm of the devil.

By Holger Moos

Wirbeleit: Was zur Hölle?! © Kibitz Jonas adores Annika. But she doesn't want to know anything about him. So he dreams of a Vespa to impress his crush. Since Jonas' parents are poor and he doesn't even get pocket money, he looks for work to fulfil his dream. But side jobs are rare. Then Jonas discovers a strange job offer on the notice board in the town hall: "Ash sweeper wanted!" To make contact, you are supposed to dial six three times with a bloody finger.

This is how Patrick Wirbeleit's children's comic Was zur Hölle?! (What the hell?!) begins. Jonas quickly ends up in the underworld, where he is greeted by two little red, somewhat chubby devils who lead him to their boss. He looks exactly the same, only much bigger, and explains to Jonas what to do: namely, actually sweep up the ashes that fall out of the 1000 ovens. When another poor devil burns himself to death out of desperation, a talking pile of ashes is left behind, that promises to show Jonas how to conquer his beloved even without a Vespa. So Jonas takes the pile of ashes back to the world of the living after work. He is pursued by the boss's two aides, who are supposed to bring the fugitive back. For there is so much to do in hell that the boss devil cannot afford to lose even one worker.

Bright red devils

After that, a lot of things go wrong. The little devil turned into a pile of ashes is unfortunately of little help in conquering Annika – no wonder, since in its last life it was not a human being but the lapdog of a much courted countess! To make matters worse, Annika is also kidnapped by the two dimwitted little devils who hope to get to heaven this way. Finally, God shows up to put things right. This much is revealed: God appears in a somewhat unexpected form and does not act as one would expect from the supreme being.

Was zur Hölle?! is a funny, somewhat quirky comic book that was first published in 2014, but only in black and white at the time. The panels come into their own even better thanks to their colourfulness, and the bright red of the devils is particularly fitting.

Logo Rosinenpicker © Goethe-Institut / Illustration: Tobias Schrank Patrick Wirbeleit: Was zur Hölle?! (From 10 years)
Hamburg: Kibitz, 2022. 96 p.
ISBN: 978-3-948690-20-5