Webcomic Wednesday: Five Hour Breakfast

Review by Seán Donnelly

Illustrated by Tim Comrie and written by Mike Heneghan

Though sadly no longer active, Five Hour Breakfast (and its sister comic, Hen Bra Comics) represents an amusing collection of gag strips varied in both content and style. Sometimes darkly hilarious, other times bittersweet, Five Hour Breakfast will leave you laughing and surprisingly affected, sometimes in rapid succession. A common theme of Heneghan’s writing – as seen in the Christmas special – is to explore an absurd idea through a different window entirely, one that is usually much more serious than its subject matter would entail. So when one of Santa’s reindeer is departing to fulfil his role despite the objections of his father, the weightiness with which the scene is played allows it to become the stuff of pure bathos.

Besides that, there are also frequent forays into surrealist and absurdist humour, the ridiculousness of which is bolstered by Comrie’s illustrations. Though often realised in monochromatic colours (with some exceptions for the sake of supporting a joke) Comrie’s expert use of shading and texture, as well as detailed expressions and dynamic poses, bring the strips to life. The pacing and structure of these strips varies wildly, some being as short as three panels while others come close to realising the ‘infinite canvas’ envisioned by Scott McCloud; that is, webcomics that make use of the limitless space provided for them. It is this sensitivity to what makes a good webcomic, coupled with decent art and comedic writing, that allows Five Hour Breakfast to earn its recommendation.