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Lunch Hour Comix
posted March 21, 2005

Creators: Robert Ullman
Publishing Info: Alternative Comics, 64 pages, $4.95,
Ordering Numbers: 1891867865 (ISBN)

imageOn the evidence of the work provided here, Robert Ullman has become a more effective cartoon artist than the last mini-comics of his I've read. Every entry in this short cartoon diary proves readable on one level or another, and fewer of his outright shortcuts are on display in ways that distract. Ullman's art is full of fat, pleasurable lines and flattering, stylized figures. The best work in Lunch Hour Comix, a series of comics done as an immediate reaction to a daily event, traffic in short observations as opposed to experiences processed through the artist as a character. There's a no-fuss feel to the entries about dog poop or the one that simply shows his new house that is sorely missing when we get to see how Ullman feels. Those strips seem posed and affected in a way the others don't.

In addition, sometimes the moment selected greatly disappoints. There's no better contrast as to the cartoonist's strengths and weaknesses when you have one page with a really evocative drawing of a polling place and then the next page has a burning flag saying "Fuck You, America!" The first provides a unique perspective and injects a certain peaceful feeling into the right to vote; the second just seems silly and strident. Lunch Hour Comix also feels incredibly slight as a publication, like this was a project Ullman kind of ratcheted down from much grander beginnings. It would have made a fine mini, and although it's nice to now how much the cartoonist's skill set has improved I'm not sure I needed a whole book of this stuff to figure that out.