A new Minimum Wage comic is always cause for celebration, and with his new home at Image, Bob Fingerman has found a publisher who is quick to collect the individual issues into reasonably priced editions. I picked up Book 2, “So Many Bad Decisions” on a Thursday and had blown through it by Friday. That’s not to say it’s a skimpy volume, as Fingerman’s art continues to be detailed, stylized and intricate enough to really spend time poring over. And his tales of neurotic, slightly self-obsessed yet infinitely relatable characters continues to be compulsively readable.
“Bad Decisions” picks up at the exact moment “Focus on the Strange,” Volume 1, ended, with Minimum Wage “hero” Rob Hoffman, on the receiving end of some shake up worthy news by current paramour Sheila. Although not exactly the dreaded news he was nervously expecting, the situation quickly spirals and Rob once again finds himself single in the city of New York, eagerly yet apprehensively trying to get back into the dating game. After a brief and embarrassing fling with a “Gothmedian” (a hilarious combination parody of both a Goth waif and a comedy nerd), Rob ends up in bed with his ex-wife and the main cause of his existential angst, Sylvia. Not to mention his ongoing work trial and tribulations. To say any more would spoil all the fun.
Also great in this volume is Fingerman’s continued experimentation with his art. The story features multiple dream sequences in color, contrasting the usual black and white pencils, which border on Lynch and Cronenberg (the two Davids!) induced weirdness and body horror. And of course there’s the return of the great Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles parody “Prix” (mutated horse-shoe crabs) that continues to be a an obstacle on Rob’s path to artistic self expression.
But my personal favorite moment was the surprise appearance of one of my favorite celebrities, real life podcaster/comedian and avid indie comics fan, Marc Maron. In the course of the story Rob attends one of Maron’s early comedy performances and the meeting leads to the beginning of a friendship and to some of the best advice the eternally indecisive Rob has gotten regarding his art. (In a bit of synchronicity I was listening to Maron’s exellent WTF podcast episode featuring another indie comics mainstay, Daniel Clowes, as I biked home with the fresh Minimum Wage book in my backpack).
As usual with the Minimum Wage collections, the book includes several nifty extras. You get several of Fingerman’s sketches and story/character notes. Also included are all of the original single issue covers, and a plethora of guest artist pin ups by the likes of Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison), Chris Wahl (Mad Magazine), Joseph Michael-Linsner (Dawn), Collen Doran (A Distant Soil), and many more.
So if you’re a fan of funny slice of life comics, Woody Allen movies, or Larry David shows, then give this comic book a try. You’ll laugh, cringe, and obsess with Rob. And you’ll also relate to him the whole time.
You can get the book at your friendly neighborhood comics shop or directly from Image Comics here.
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