Review by Ian Keogh
Bob Fingerman is a cartoonist whose work falls awkwardly between two stools. On the one hand he’s a smart social observer with something to say about how we live our lives, yet his exaggerated cartooning, which would look great as animated comedy, never quite meshes with his serious side.
You Deserved It gathers a selection of 1990s satire, largely from anthology submissions, the longest strip detailing the rise and fall of New York slaughterhouse worker Otis Pedblocker. He’s a sensitive sort is Otis, despite his bulk, strength and temper, and has artistic inclinations of the sort that find inserting yams up the poop chute incompatible with true art, indeed disrespectful of it. Otis is shipped out to Hollywood, his brave deeds and rugged good looks having pre-empted him, so never mind art, the movies await. What would be the odds of him finding his long lost brother working in a porn studio? While Fingerman’s cartooning is great, with Otis he takes heavy-handed swipes at obvious targets. For all the sex and violence, it might as well come with a 1970s sitcom laughter track.
Opening strip ‘Missing Pieces’ is also strangely subdued in working to a heavily hinted-at ending, thematically connected to Otis via atrocity with decapitation a sideline. Could the officers have been investigating Otis all along?
The closing content is the funniest. Subtlety is no concern here either, but it comes with its own introduction, Fingerman layering the joke about what are a bunch of comically obscene strips. That pretends Finger Funnies was to be the first issue of a series where novelists of the first rank provided scripts for Fingerman to draw. The disturbing content of ‘Mr. Hypnogoogoopizzin’ Man’ will stay with anyone who reads it for far too long. These fifteen pages hit the spot, and considering what a great cartoonist Fingerman is, a cover price of $9.99 for this digest covering just shy of 90 pages of his work renders any complaining almost moot.