Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 6 (October 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #6

What an issue. I mean. Damn. Fingerman takes all the readers’ built-up affection for Rob, all their built-up hope for him and puts them through the ringer. By the time Fingerman gets the reader cleaned off–and this issue of So Many Bad Decisions is easily the least funny, it’s downright depressing and bare–Rob might be in a terrible place.

Only, logistically, the seriousness of Rob’s situation is only there because how of Fingerman put the readers through the ringer. It’s beautifully constructed. In a lot of ways, it’s Fingerman’s best issue, just for how he’s able to control the readers’ attention through the comic. It’s precise, but never constrained. He’s always encouraging readers to look for more and not pay as much attention to what’s actually going on with Rob’s life. It’s fantastic misdirection.

The issue’s intense. Fingerman fills every page with finality and doom. Seriously, there’s really almost nothing funny about the issue. The one notable time Fingerman goes for laugh relief, he uses it to introduce a new character and then a realization for Rob.

So Many Bad Decisions ends wonderfully. Fingerman shows off, flexes, schmaltzes; it works out.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

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Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 5 (September 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #5

What the heck is Rob doing? I mean, Minimum Wage has become the most gripping comics narrative I’m reading. More than anything else, I want to know what happens next because I care about Rob. Reading Wage is caring about Rob; liking Rob (most of the time), because it feels like Rob’s Fingerman and you like them both.

And Fingerman puts Rob in an unexpected situation. An unexpected, incredibly dangerous situation. I can’t even imagine how it must read for people familiar with the first series of Minimum Wage–and I’m now upset I didn’t go and read that series in between the previous revival series and So Many Bad Decisions.

Fingerman takes the Bad Decisions to an epic (for Wage) level this issue. It’s crazy and awesome. And, after I was dreading the series only running four issues, I know it isn’t going to run past six. So Fingerman’s got one left, then whatever kind of break.

He sets it up beautifully.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 4 (August 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #4

It’s an (almost) all dream issue. Rob wanders through a lucid dream, filled with his recent conquests and his fears and hopes, all of it very slimy and grotesque. Or absolutely gorgeous cheesecake. Fingerman has a great time with the art on this issue. It’s fully colored too.

But the comic, which eventually deals not just with Rob and his ex, but also with Rob and his ambitions for himself, feels like Fingerman directly addressing the reader. Rob is getting to the point where he’s starting his own Minimum Wage-type comic and Fingerman is finally giving the reader insight into what it’s like to do the comic itself.

It drags a little at the beginning, before the whole dream thing becomes clear, but once Rob is wandering his psyche and aware of it, the issue clicks and sails.

Fingerman manages to make a story about artistic panic entirely assured.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 3 (July 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #3

It’s another awesome issue. So Many Bad Decisions is just a bunch of great ones from Fingerman.

This issue has Rob going through some problems with his new girlfriend. Fingerman follows his familiar plotting–Rob and the girl, Rob and his friends, Rob and the main plot (in this issue it’s “guest star” comedian Marc Maron), Rob and his character development.

Fingerman follows that pattern over and over and is still able to make Wage seem fresh every month. Maybe it’s because of the problems in Rob’s love life (or just the women he meets), but it’s also how the comic acknowledges itself. How it acknowledges the New York setting and the amount of time spent in the city. Fingerman’s panels are full of information, often valueless, always intriguing.

This issue has something of a good conclusion but I’m really hoping Decisions has at least one more issue to it.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 2 (June 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #2

Rob gets a new girlfriend this issue but he also starts doing an autobiographical mini comic. It’s not called Minimum Wage. It’s also not Minimum Wage. It’s very different, though clearly Fingerman doing an “in-world” comic book.

The new girlfriend is a different story than most just because Rob’s not really into her. He’s just broken up over Sheila breaking up with him over Sylvia. Will he someday be sorry he so quickly went from Sheila to the new girl? Undoubtedly.

Fingerman’s using some of his built up good will with this issue just because Rob’s so shallow and mean. But it’s intentional, so Fingerman’s going somewhere with it. Presumably.

It’s a good enough issue, with some real high points, but it never reaches the sublime levels. Considering the series is subtitled So Many Bad Decisions, maybe Fingerman’s giving Rob a new one each issue.

The comic timing’s great.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions 1 (May 2015)

Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions #1

Bob Fingerman and his alter ego, Rob Hoffman, return in Minimum Wage: So Many Bad Decisions and it’s a wonderful return.

Fingerman throws Rob through some more hoops as things look up, down, and all around with his new girlfriend, but more importantly, it’s Rob’s birthday. No one remembers except his mother, of course. And even though Rob is getting a revised supporting cast–Fingerman forces a mentor on him–the issue feels very much Rob’s. Fingerman does a great job with the characters this issue, whether it’s the girlfriend, the mother, Rob’s friend who has a whole speech about crapping, but Rob gets the best moments. Fingerman takes the time for him.

As usual, the art’s great. There’s a Richard Corben reference in the dialogue, which seems so appropriate given Fingerman looks like Corben through a Disney-grinder, and some great shading for tone.

Great stuff. Glad it’s back.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage 6 (June 2014)

Minimum Wage #6

I’m not sure if there’s a better formula for Minimum Wage; Fingerman might have found it. It balances out all the content between humor, outlandish humor and self-observation. There’s some time spent on Rob’s love life, then a lengthy comedic subplot, then some stuff with his male friends. Not too much with them, but enough for the pop culture references (though Fingerman opens with a great one and it’s Rob and the girl) and manly one liners.

This issue continues with two of Rob’s ladies–almost called him Bob, maybe because one has to wonder how much of Wage is non-fictionally inspired–with Deputy Deedee successfully transitioned into being Rob’s buddy’s girl. Instead, there’s an idyllic main girl plot with Sheila, Rob’s boss. But Fingerman keeps up the humor and character work to make the idyllic hilarious.

There’s also a great homage to various artists Rob (and Fingerman) like.

Wage is fantastic.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage 5 (May 2014)

Minimum Wage #5

Fingerman achieves a nice, lyrical quality with this issue of Minimum Wage. The issue has a couple repeating elements. Rob isn’t working on his licensed comic job, he’s hanging out a lot with his old roommate, he’s sweating. There’s a lot of sweating to this comic. It’s very hot in New York during this comic.

Rob’s friend keeps trying to help with Rob’s love life, which puts Rob back in bed with Deputy DeeDee. She’s a really fun character, especially since she never gets flustered or mad. Makes her appearances consistently enjoyable.

Not so with the ex-wife, who shows up in the color dream sequence. Fingerman’s trying too hard with her.

But then Rob does get another lady friend and it’s a previous acquaintance and Fingerman makes up for the evil ex-wife who’s dressed like Vampirella. Something about the issue, maybe the way elements keep repeating, really connects. Good work.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

Minimum Wage 4 (April 2014)

Minimum Wage #4

Fingerman finds a nice calm with this issue of Wage. He doesn’t try for much–most of the issue involves protagonist Rob and his two friends out for a night on the town and running into awkward situations. None of the situations are uproarious, but all of them are pleasing enough.

The first part of the issue deals with moving things along plot-wise. New job, new apartment. Rob has so many different friends it’s hard to imagine how the guy has time to do any work whatsoever; Fingerman really likes drawing scenes in dining establishments.

As I said, the calm is nice–there’s a definite lack of ambition to it. The story can’t do too much with Rob doing nothing but talking to his buddies and Fingerman never puts them on high adventures together.

Hopefully next issue will have more activity, but it’s unclear how much comic really needs.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Bob Fingerman; publisher, Image Comics.

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