Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Minimum Wage, Volume 1: Focus on the Strange by Bob Fingerman Review


Set in the late ‘90s (or early ‘00s, it’s unclear), Rob’s 25 and going through a divorce. He’s a porn cartoonist for men’s mags which are dying off thanks to the internet. Rob decides to try internet dating and meets several women. That’s the “story”. 

I think this is supposed to be a comedy but reading Minimum Wage is about as funny as a death march. The only reason I think it’s a comedy is because it’s the only possible reason scenes this random would be included. For example, Rob and his fellow cretins, I mean “friends”, go to da club. They gibber at one another while hitting on some girls. The scene ends. Rob goes to the porn mag’s offices where his editors gibber at one another. The scene ends. Rob meets some more cretins where they objectify women over hamburgers, blathering on in a dreary verbose manner. The scene ends. I get the feeling my sides were supposed to be splitting during these scenes but I wished all the characters would die instead. 

This is a painful comic to read, it’s so bad. Bob Fingerman’s cartooning style is horrible. The panels are crammed to bursting with far too many characters (all drawn in a caricature style for some reason) with way too much dialogue, most of it redundant and awful to read. Here’s an example. Rob’s rat-faced friend asks him to come over to help him find a missing piece from a model kit (another pointless scene that has nothing to do with anything) which, again I’m guessing, is meant to amuse the reader but instead annoys with brain-thuddingly awful dialogue. This is all one monologue from rat-face:

"DUDE! Dude? Dude. Calmness. I said I need your eyes. I have nae wee glasses, laddie and cannot see where the missing pieces went. I felt around like Blind Pew. Oh. Feelin' around. Oof. Those ABS. Is Kobba ripped? I bet you're ripped, six-pack stylie. Eight-pack. Am I right? Let's get nude and wrestle. Joshing. Only. Just fuckin' with Kobs to get a rise. Anger rise, not bone-yobba-pork sword rise. Fuck it. Whatev's. I can buy another kit if you no wanna look-see for the missing pieces." 

It’s written like this for 130 pages. The character is also apparently not dain bramaged like I was after reading this comic. 

A story would’ve helped but I’m not sure Fingerman’s capable of such a thing. Instead scenes happen for no reason. Bob Fingerman, I mean “Rob”, out of nowhere gets a job working a hand puppet at a public access show leading to him boffing an actress he liked when he was a kid. Maybe the puppeteers job is established in previous books as I gather this book is part of a series but this is my first (and last!) Fingerman comic so I couldn’t tell you. Later he gets a gig drawing Prix, a pathetic parody of TMNT. But mostly this book is about sex sex sex as Rob sleeps with one “kerazy” woman after another. Yeah, they’re weird, Rob, not you, you repulsive sod.

This book feels like a relic from the ‘90s and not just because that’s when it’s set but because the way the characters stand around making pop culture references feels very ‘90s like a weak Kevin Smith parody. There’s also the glorification of “the slacker/loser” crap that was so “in” back then. Fingerman’s not only nostalgic about the past when he was a young man and presumably drawing porno cartoons himself (that would explain the overt sexuality of this comic and cornball depictions of the sex), but he hasn’t developed as an artist/writer. He’s perpetually stuck in the ‘90s. This book was published in October 2014. 

Reading Minimum Wage: Focus on the Strange was a singularly miserable experience. Obnoxious characters/dialogue/non-story/art-style, it’s just terrible on so many levels, I’m not sure who on earth would find this drivel entertaining or funny. Absolute garbage – avoid!

Minimum Wage, Volume 1: Focus on the Strange

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read this, but it's a rare day that I enjoy stories that mix an author's sex/porn lifestyle with pop culture references and subjects usually attributed to youth. This combo usually signals that a creator never moved past the connection he had with his penis at age fourteen.

    There is some "slacker" oriented comics (from the 90s no less) that have their moments. "Buddy Does Seattle" by Peter Bagge is alright. But with that said, Bagge's more contemporary stories about Buddy's married life, living in a trailer park with kids are much more humorous and even insightful at times, though not as popular.

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