Lunch Hour Comix #1

By Robert Ullman
64 pages, black and white
Published by Alternative Comics

I love the idea of the “journal” comic, from extensive travel journals (like Rick Smith’s Baraka and Black Magic in Morocco) to the strip-a-day-format (like James Kochalka’s American Elf). Robert Ullman’s new comic, Lunch Hour Comix, has a nice take on the latter concept. His comics are about his day and what’s going on, but they’ve got to be completed in one hour: the amount of time he gets for lunch. So these really are, well, lunch hour comics.

Ullman’s life is in many ways a pretty mundane one; he and his wife are trying to get a mortgage to buy a house, Ullman’s lost his coffee mug, he has to walk the dog. What’s important in Lunch Hour Comix is not so much what happens, but the telling of the events. Ullman’s got a laid back, humorous attitude that comes through in the writing, letting us feel his glee about something as simple as not having to go to Kinko’s, or listening to himself be interviewed on a radio program. The normal becomes exciting in Ullman’s hands because he approaches each incident as if it’s an event to be shared, and that’s what makes them special to the reader. You’re getting a private insight into his life, and he’s showing you what’s so fun about it.

No doubt because of the original dimensions of the illustrations, Lunch Hour Comix is a small book, one you could push into a back pocket and care around with you. Maybe it’s because of the smaller size that it helps the reader feel comfortable with its stories, in such an unpretentious format. (And yet, at the same time, perfect for leaving on your coffee table for guests to pick up and idly read.) Regardless of the size, though, Ullman’s art is straight-forward and attractive here. You unfortunately don’t get the nice slick ink line that I’ve grown used to in his art from books like Grand Gestures, but there’s still a lot to like. One could almost make a “guide to Robert Ullman” out of the drawings here, as he shows himself in all sorts of states from befuddled to confident, from happy to angry, and all other points in-between. In stories as small and personal as Lunch Hour Comix, it’s important that Ullman’s able to convey emotions quickly and effectively to the reader, and he does that perfectly through the faces and expressions of the characters.

Lunch Hour Comix #1 is a fun little book, the sort that you can pick up and re-read and still get the same level of enjoyment the twentieth time as well as the first. Hopefully Ullman hasn’t given up on the idea of drawing diary comics, because if he wants to take people into another journey through his days, I’m sure the audience is ready for more. A fun little diversion you’ll be happy to take again and again.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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