Spring 2003

Bob rethinks the graphic novel

Beg the Question

By Bob Fingerman
Fantagraphics, £17.99

This graphic novel is one of the few, if not the only, recent American works of comic art to take on successfully the mantle of a realist novel – structure, detail and all. The story follows Rob and Sylvia as they try to figure out their lives and careers, deal with their parents, their friends, New York City, and, eventually, their wedding. Rob is a cartoonist making his wage drawing pornography and Sylvia is a hairdresser; their friends are a motley assortment of pop culture-obsessed twenty-somethings on the margins of culture. Sound appealing? I didn’t think so either. But Fingerman’s talent is drawing the reader in and making him care – his characters are so well depicted that they transcend their annoying pop-culture trappings and particular attitudes . . .

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