Episode 593 – Bob Fingerman

Virtual Memories Show 593:
Bob Fingerman

“My artistic goal before I die is to have one complete book to look as loose as the way I draw background characters. Then I’ll feel like I’ve achieved Feiffer-hood.”

With That’s Some Business You’re In (Zoop), cartoonist-humorist-author Bob Fingerman has created a career retrospective to celebrate (lament?) his 40th year in comics (with an intro by Bill Sienkiewicz!). We got together in LA to talk about that milestone, what it meant to him to bring together decades of his comics, art, and illustration into a single volume, the challenges of writing the narrative to his work-life, and what he learned from looking at the arc of his career. We get into the ‘maybe someday’ vibe of the big projects he wants to tackle, the process of getting over his younger shame at making comics for, um, ‘lower-prestige’ (but well-paying) magazines, the distance he needed on his best-known comic, Minimum Wage, the artist’s retrospective he really wants to see, why he enjoys creator-owned work instead of someone else’s IP, and his true artistic goal. We also discuss the life-changing stuff — like addressing the tension between narcissism and imposter syndrome, the nature of change, the toxicity of NYC, and the need to leave a better memory — while we talk about life in LA, the writers who blew him away and how he can’t begin to emulate them, the way his characters changed from punching bags to people, the joy of hummingbirds and small dogs, and a lot more. Give it a listen! And go read That’s Some Business You’re In!

“Looking back with kinder eyes than I’ve had, for most of my life I’ve been a very — not just self-critical — self-excoriating person. The older I get, I see less and less value in that.”

“We live in a golden age of preserving stuff, but it’s not all the stuff I wish was being preserved.”

“I never realized New York was to me until I got out. Because I thought feeling shitty and anxious and depressed all the time is just how I am. Getting away from it I started to feel physically different.”

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guest


Internationally published and critically acclaimed cartoonist, illustrator and author, Bob Fingerman, is best known for his cult comic series Minimum Wage. In 2018 he realized his childhood dream to become one of MAD’s “usual gang of idiots.” Alas, MAD was soon thereafter essentially euthanatized. Bob accepts only partial blame for that. His latest books are the comical graphic novel Dotty’s Inferno (Heavy Metal/Virus) and the radically revised “author’s edition” of his novel Pariah, now Pariah Redux.

His clients include Dark Horse Comics, Fantagraphics Books, DC Comics, Marvel, IDW, Image Comics, Tor, Les Humanoïdes Associés, Fluide Glacial, Tapages Nocturnes, Sony/Columbia Pictures, RiffTrax, Heavy Metal and Z2 Comics.

Follow Bob on Instagram.

This one’s by Bob

Credits: This episode’s music is Fella by Hal Mayforth, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at Bob’s home on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 microphones feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4 digital recorder & interface. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Zoom PodTrak P4. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Bob & Bugs by someone else. Photos of Bob, Sherlock, et al. by me, except where indicated. It’s on my instagram.

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