REVIEW: Minimum Wage #3
A great slice of life story, great interior black and white artwork
The protagonist is constantly unsatisfied with his place in life.
Bob Fingerman’s slice of life comic Minimum Wage returns to Image Comics. Inspired by real-life events, the comic’s protagonist, Rob, is a twenty-five year old freelance artist working for a porno magazine in the city. After a pending divorce from his wife, Sylvia, Rob moves in with this mother. With the help of his friends, Rob tackles issues of love, money and job security. His dissatisfaction with his place in life is a refreshing take on the struggles of our modern society.
Previously in Minimum Wage: Rob and Sylvia are getting divorced and Rob is trying online dating to get his mind off her. After several duds, he meets May, who, like Rob, is getting divorced at a young age. After several dates, they hit it off. May even invites Rob over to her place for some late night sex. However, Rob is apprehensive of the relationship begins to nitpick about her to his friends. During the second night he stays over, he is confronted by May’s drug dealing ex-husband.
ROB’S SO CALLED LIFE
Bob Fingerman continues Rob’s struggles with life in Minimum Wage #3. Things go downhill for Rob as May, who has been lying all this time about her divorce and age, has her ex-husband move back in with her, ending her relationship with Rob. To get his mind off May, Rob goes to work as a puppeteer on a public access television show. There are several dated references in Minimum Wage, such as Playstation 1 and a homage to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles re-imagined as Pubescent Radioactive Ikko-Ikki Xiphosarans. These references set the tone of the comic, which is geared toward an older audience. Much of the focus of the comic is on Rob, a conflicted and thought-provoking protagonist. He is constantly seeking the advice of others, and takes his blessings for granted. Rob is often focused on the negative in his life: getting divorced, working in a job he hates, growing increasingly irrelevant because of technology. Through his thought bubbles these pressures become apparent to the reader. Rob’s life is a very human and realistic story, filled with funny moments and awkward situations. Bob Fingerman does a good job writing a great narrative that is sympathetic to its audience. It is the classic American tale with a realistic twist.
THE FLAWS OF ROB AND HIS FRIENDS
Bob Fingerman also provides the artwork for Minimum Wage. His style reminds me of a less horrid version of Robert Crumb’s comics. His caricatures can be somewhat crude, accentuating Rob and his friends physical flaws. However, it makes them unique and easily identifiable, even without color. I love the black and white, a medium that is severely underused in today’s color filled comic books. It is a simple design but successfully emphasizes the dreariness of Rob’s life. The inking has some subtle detail that might be overlooked, but does not take away from its artistry.
BOTTOM LINE: A GREAT COMIC MEMOIR
In a medium that is overrun by superhero comic books, Bob Fingerman’s Minimum Wage is a great slice of life story that veers away from industry standards. In the vein of American Splendor and other similar comics, Rob’s journey into single life adds another dynamic to comics based on real life. His insecurities make for a compelling tale. I recommend this comic book to anyone looking for something new and refreshing.