November 2, 2010

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Lunch Hour Comix 1

Written by Rob Ullman
Illustrated by Rob Ullman
Alternative Comics

A few years ago, my wife picked this one up for me after she made a trip to see friends in Richmond. I didn't read a lot of mini-comics at the time, so I don't think I appreciated it as much as I did on this recent re-read when reorganizing my mini-comics collection.

Lunch Hour Comix is a diary strip by Rob Ullman, a man who draws some of the most attractive women in mini-comic land. In this experiment, Ullman spends only one hour drafting a comic more or less as things occurred. It was designed as a sporadic diary, but ended up becoming a random collection of his thoughts for that particular day. The results are candid snapshots of a guy who's just like his audience--assuming they have a thing for hockey, drawing, winning little contests, and making ends meet.

One of the things I like best about diary strips is that they allow you to see how human the person behind the pen is. While it's always fun to read fiction in four-color fun, I find that I like autobiographical comics just as much, and definitely better than I like prose memoirs. There's something about the act of picking out moments in your life on a regular basis that lets us in more than looking back on an entire life--or even an entire day.

Ullman's line work, even in this quick-draw format, is slick. His females are still extremely pretty, and Ullman's self-portrait gets a lot of great facial features. Unlike some other diary strips, he even seems to be happy more often than not. This may be a bit of self-censorship, but it doesn't feel like Ullman is hiding. The results of the comics in this collection feel more like he's just the sort of guy who thinks about the positive.

There's a lot of moments that I enjoyed in this collection, such as when Ullman fixes a sink, watches a hockey game, or tries to get rid of old records. (His exclamation at old records sounds like me when I dumped all my VHS tapes.) If you flip through, you're bound to find something that keys back to something you've done yourself.

Because of the quality of the art and the interesting nature of the events portrayed, Lunch Hour Comix is one of the stronger diary strips I've read. It does help a bit, I admit, that I talk to the artist from time to time, but even without that, these strips contain a look at just being a regular guy doing some cool stuff mixed in with the ordinary. If you're looking for a diary comic, this is definitely one I'd recommend. You can grab a copy of it from Ullman himself.