Interview: Bob Fingerman Pt. 3 [of 3]

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Of course Bob Fingerman is kidding when he suggests that the title of this article ought be “Bob Fingerman: Portrait in Self-Defeat.” Well, mostly.

Fingerman doesn’t go out of his way to please all the people all the time—after all, that’s what syndicated Sunday funnies are for. In the most simplistic terms, his work often reads like an adult What If? comic. What if zombies took over an elementary school? What if a black man’s brain was transplanted into the body of a white teenage girl? What if vampires had a conscious about the whole killing people thing?

The results are strange, warped, hilarious, occasionally disturbing, and, above all, aggressively unique, which is no doubt one of the main reasons why the artist’s short-lived stint on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven.

But, while Fingerman has seemingly been less than eager to compromise his work for the sake of wide-scale acceptance, over the years, the industry has largely come around to his unique vision.

In this third and final part of our interview with Fingerman, we discuss the artist’s brushes with the mainstream.

[Part One][Part Two]

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Interview: Bob Fingerman Pt. 1 [of 3]

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In 2003, Fantagraphics released Beg the Question. The 240 page hardcover book collected the entire run of Bob Fingerman’s mid-90s series, Minimum Wage—which, to this day, remains the author’s best known work. The mini-series follows the story of cartoonist and part-time pornography enabler, Rob, and his girlfriend Sylvia. While the book’s thinly-veiled autobiographical aspects shed a good deal of light on both the artist’s early career and, perhaps, a healthy dose of neurosis, Minimum Wage is hardly typical Fingerman fare.

From his first graphic novel, the science fiction satire White Like She to the recent short Dark Horse book, Recess Pieces, an elementary school-based zombie splatter fest, Fingerman’s work is largely concerned with the social and comedic implications of juxtaposing the fantastic with the mundane, a formula that has played out in both his first prose novel, Bottomfeeder, centering around a neurotic vampire, and his year-long run on The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the early 90s.

Published in late 2006, Bottomfeeder was Fingerman’s last major release. The artist is gearing up for another big year in 2009, however, with releases from both Fantagraphics and IDW. We caught up with the Fingerman just before the Christmas holiday.

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