Bob Fingerman has been working in the comic industry for over three decades, and in that time he’s gathered a lot of material for his semi-autobiographical series Minimum Wage, following a cartoonist named Rob through his professional and personal woes. After a 15-year hiatus, Fingerman revived the title at Image Comics to continue Rob’s story with some big changes for the character, and the most recent Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions scored an Eisner Award nomination this year for Best Limited Series. The collection of that miniseries hits stands today, and it’s an unflinching look at one man’s struggles with affection, alienation, and apathy, rendered with an expressive art style that adds a layer of humor to the narrative at all times.
Comedy is at the core of these preview pages, which feature a cameo from Marc Maron as Rob and his current girlfriend, Bekka, check out one of Maron’s stand-up shows. Rob’s signature self-deprecation shines through in his interactions with Maron, but the deprecation comes from an outside source when the action shifts from Maron’s show to the graduation performance of Bekka’s comedy class. Rob has the misfortune of sitting in the audience while his girlfriend turns their sex life into fodder for her set, and Bekka’s performance gives Rob another reason to think less of himself. The emotional shifts in the script are depicted with sharp clarity under Fingerman’s pen, and the detail of his character work draws the reader further into Rob’s personal experience. Bekka’s stand-up is cringe-worthy, but Rob is used to cringing, especially when it comes to thinking about himself.