By Bob Fingerman
Back in the late 90’s Bob Fingerman ended his slice-of-life story, Minimum Wage, with what felt like a solid ending that either could be interpreted as a sad or happy ending. No matter your feelings on the ending it still felt like an ending to the story he was telling. When it was announced that he would return to writing the tales of Rob Hoffman with a new Minimum Wage series, there was a mix of excitement but also apprehension. The original run of Minimum Wage felt like a complete story, why mess with it? Well after reading the first issue of this new Minimum Wage series, all apprehensions were abolished.
Personally it felt like Minimum Wage went out on a high note with Rob and Sylvia living happily ever after. However this new run has started off on the polar opposite of that, ending with Rob basically at a very low point in his life, and trying to deal with it all. Even though this is a continuation of an older series, Fingerman writes it very well to the point that a new reader can easily jump in and not feel lost. Sure you may not need to know everyone’s back story but Rob and his group of friends are pretty easy to figure out and also feel familiar like friends you’ve had in your own life at one point in time.
Fingerman’s art has always been very noticeable and on the first series the black and white art still looked very vibrant and live. With a gap of almost fifteen years, Fingerman’s style still has the same feel and it still very much feels like the Minimum Wage you’re used to but you can still see Fingerman’s artistic improvement with many subtleties that just help enhance the story telling. He is able to make all of our favorite characters look aged but still recognizable. Artistically, Minimum Wage still has the same familiar feel fans are used to, but there is a visible improvement on in already great art style.
There is plenty in this first issue of Minimum Wage for readers both new and old to enjoy and also relate to. The great part of Minimum Wage is that even though this series has always felt so personal almost anyone can relate to it. Fingerman is great at making stories that are grounded yet very entertaining. The concept of the “slacker” was a very popular idea that many people used and also abused but not many of those people could follow with what happens next, but Fingerman pulls it off quite well here. Any fans that were concerned about returning to Minimum Wage should have their worries extinguished with this first issue and hopefully new readers will enjoy this enough to continue to read on and even read the older material.