Worth, written and drawn by Jeremy Treece, is about the struggles of being a creator. It is a story that everyone in the creative industry can identify with. The story is an autobiography specifically about Treece’s troubles with a minimum wage job. He attempts to juggle this on top of his family and creative life. He expresses the weight of all this pressure through words and also through his intensely unique art. The abstract quality to it gives the story life, and also perfectly expresses the pain Treece feels every day. While the story is very sad, there is still some comedy to it, which is mostly visual. Treece does not pull his punches when it comes to showing how hard it is to be a creative—especially when life and society gets in the way.
There really is no easy way to tell your own stories; not when the world and the mechanizations of people who do not know you, and never will bother enough to care, turn against you. Worth talks about the part of the creative life that does not often get discussed; being a creative in a world only interested in money is hard, especially when you add mental health on top of that! Treece’s story takes him to the brink of mental collapse, which is never easy to see. Often, it is the people most capable of making beautiful things who suffer the most internally. Treece expresses this through his art.
One other thing Treece explores in Worth is a lot of creative frustration; trying to balance between making something which society deems productive, and something which the creator themselves deem productive. As creatives, there are often no similarities between these two things, and that only contributes to making life harder. Worth works very well as an autobiographical comic, and the story it tells is very personal, giving the reader an inside look at something which artists and writers often hide. It ends on a cliffhanger, which definitely leaves the reader wanting more. When a story with this many stakes still manages to reflect reality; it’s not easy to put it aside and wait for more.
While Worth concludes part of Treece’s story, it does not end on a precisely positive note. Despite #1’s resolution, other problems crop up, as they often do in real life. This story strips away all the mystique, leaving everything for the reader to discover. In some ways, this is uncomfortable; it feels like the reader learns a lot more about this man’s life than they necessarily have the right to. But it is all part of how the storytelling is structured. There is a lot to unpack with Worth, but it all plays with revealing a very necessary part of the creative industry. Sometimes, people forget that real people make the media they consume; people who have their own lives and problems. Autobiographies like this one remind the audience that creative enterprises are not made in a vacuum.