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Beg the Question
Words by Bob Fingerman - Art by Bob Fingerman - Published by Fantagraphics - First published 2005 - Originally published as Minimum Wage
You'll find the down to earth drama of everyday lives all over mainstream media like a rash. Television viewers love soap operas and sit coms. Movie and theatre goers flock to the latest romantic comedy or drama. And even your standard novel tends to be more highly regarded in most literary circles if it has an edge of absorbing realism to its fiction. Comics, on the other hand, have a reputation for shirking reality; laughing in its face before leaping the nearest tall building and saving the world. Beg the Question breaks free from the constraints of such tiresome preconceptions and presents a comic that could sit comfortably in virtually any other medium.
It follows the lives of Rob Hoffman (a character based on the author) and his girlfriend Sylvia Fanucci, two New York twenty-somethings navigating a path from singledom to settling down. Along the way we meet their friends and families, are introduced to their fledgling careers, and watch them pass their spare time (much of which is filled with sex).
Fingerman's drawing style is simple and straight-forward. His characters are caricatures, but they leap out of the page and become perfectly formed people courtesy of their natural dialogue. While some remain larger than life for dramatic effect, the key players remain grounded and ultimately likeable.
But perhaps its real beauty lies in its optimism. The characters in this book are growing into their lives. They spend most of their time happy. Life hasn't dealt them a terrible hand of cards and they're enjoying their moment in time. They don't have the best paying jobs but they work hard at what they do and reap the rewards that a rich and fulfilling life can offer.
Beg the Question is a slice of life in the 21st century. Although more down to earth and, in our opinion, superior to television series like Desperate Housewives or Sex in the City, it's kind of related and should appeal to that kind of crowd. Sit in front of this instead of watching re-runs and you won't be disappointed.
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