This is a "Mature Readers" title, so any of you that are younger shouldn't be able to buy this. Sometimes, you'll find this titled listed as "adult," but this particular issue is labeled as "Mature Readers." In the case of this issue, that means profanity, nudity and adult situations. I keep my copies of Minimum Wage on a spinner rack I traded a drawing for about ten years ago. As always, at least until I can get around to making a banner that says it, spoilers abound.
Rob is moving out of his apartment into a new place that he'll share with his girlfriend, Sylvia. His roommate Jack isn't helping, possibly out of some passive-agressive resentment of Rob's leaving. Rob's annoying friend Matt shows up to pick through Rob's collection of comics and videos and be generally loud and annoying.
At the new apartment, Sylvia arrives with one of her brothers, Urbano and his wife, who are helping her move her things. They discover that the super's wife, Edna inhabits the apartment that smells like cat urine and she is quite possibly more annoying than Matt. The move gets done somehow, and Rob and Sylvia head off on vacation to the beach with Urbano, his wife and their teenage son Josh.
Rob suspects that Josh is spying on him and Sylvia getting it on in their room, and his suspicions are only strengthened by Josh's over eager attention of Sylvia and her thong bikini at the beach the next day, including a hilarious moment where Sylvia forgets that her bikini top is undone while she's sunbathing.
Rob and Sylvia get some quality time and Rob confirms his suspicions before they return to the city and the apartment full of boxes that they have waiting for them.
This is one the comics that pulled me to the alternative comics genre. The characterization is dead on and each of the characters that Fingerman highlights is the type of character that everyone knows. Fingerman's use of profanity and adult situations can be argued based on your views of the comics medium, but this story is meant to be enjoyed by adult readers and those readers that it's intended for can very much identify with the situations Fingerman puts his characters in. The beach scene can hardly be depicted without nudity and the thought of being spied on cannot be accurately conveyed without the motives behind that spying or the actions being spied on. Fingerman's art can hardly be described as naturalistic, but all characters are definitive, easily recognizable, and capable of conveying emotion and "acting" capably, which is all anyone can really ask of a comic that depicts "real life."
This comic has been collected in Minimum Wage Book Two, still available from Fantagraphics. Fingerman retooled it a little for his graphic novel, Beg The Question, also still available from Fantagraphics. As far as finding the individual issue goes, it may be a bit of a challenge, given its relatively low print run. If you do find it in a back issue bin, I would caution against paying more than three bucks for it, since Fingerman's comic output hasn't been too prevalent lately, but does show promise, judging by his blog, which you can see a link for over on the side with the other blogs that I watch.
FINAL RATING: 7.5 (out of a possible 10)
This would be higher except that I compare it to the reworking he did for Beg the Question. I'd definitely recommend buying that in addition to tracking down the individual issue.