[Just out this week, Bob Fingerman’s Maximum Minimum Wage is a grungy, uncomfrotably honest look at life in the playground known as New York City. It follows a young couple, Rob and Sylvia, as they try to survive crazy friends, cheapskate bosses and apartment hell—long before Friends and Girls, this is how it went down. Loosely based on elements of Fingerman’s own life, the story has a long, somewhat complicated publishing history—it previously published by Fantagraphics in several formats—but all you need to know is that this is THE final version of the story thus far, as Fingerman originally intended it. The new book from Image includes a pin-up gallery—by artists from Mike Mignola to Gilbert Hernandez—and many extras and oversized pages for a handsome edition.
Fingerman has forged a busy, eclectic career, working on everything from an early stint on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Star Wars to Archie to the more recent post-apocalyptic saga From the Ashes. He’s also branched out with two novels, Bottomfeeder and Pariah. I was eager to quiz Fingerman on some aspects of career building, as he’s managed to survive in the business on a mix of creator owned and WFH work long before it become fashionable.
Disclaimer: as you may guess from the somewhat loose structure of the following interview, Fingerman and I have been friends for a long time. In fact if you squint real hard in Maximum Minimum Wage you might see an earlier version of me appearing in a few panels. It was great catching up with him and talking about the history of the book.]
The Beat: I was hoping to reread the whole book before this interview, but it is amazingly dense, Bob. This is a book you read night after night with a bookmark and set on your nightstand.
Fingerman: I’ve been accused of being dense many times.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.