So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #042: Sticks and Stones

So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #042: Sticks and Stones

Not long ago (as in, a little over a week or so), Unshaven Comics tabled at a would-be decently attended Comic Con near the home of our resident writer and sell-o-matic Kyle Gnepper. Due to his proximity to said con, versus both Unshaven Matt and I being several hours away — and because the show wasn’t slated to demand a full court press by our little studio — we as a company agreed to let Kyle fly solo. Color me a shade of confused then, when checking in with Kyle after the first day of said show, that the unflappable Mr. Gnepper called me in a state that could only be described as quite flapped.

“I really wish you guys were here…” he started — with an unmistaken quiver to his normal timbre. At first I figured (nay, hoped) that his desire for backup was due to insane amount of demand. But alas, the now-shook-salesman reported that the show itself was more than a little problematic. Low attendance due to a then-moved metropolitan festival perhaps led to a lack of local fan support. It happens. But Unshaven Comics has suffered through a constrained con every now and again. Kyle continued. “It’s our neighbor. He… uhh. Well…”  Continue reading “So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #042: Sticks and Stones”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #041: YouTube Groove-On

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #041: YouTube Groove-On

YouTube used to be an infrequent destination in the grand scheme of my internetting back-in-the-day. A must-see movie trailer? Sure. A few clips of kittens being kittens? Of course. Having a laugh at the numa numa guy, the Star Wars kid, or that one dude practicing his karate? Who doesn’t love a good chortle! But one thing I’d never considered YouTube to be for… was music. Flash forward to my surf-habits now, and I’m not the same person I once was. My subscription list is at least 3 long scrolls — including comedy channels, beauty gurus who somehow snag my attention, cooking shows, pro wrestling news and scuttlebutt, and of course: musicians.

While YouTube of course houses the professionally produced music videos of my all-time favorites (Barenaked Ladies, Guster, They Might Be Giants, and so on), a cursory glance over my internet history — YouTube only, ya pervs — would showcase a litany of indie crooners and rockers alike. Each one tripped over due to some kink in the algorithms and eventually saved into my subs box like a hoarder with stacks of vinyl. You know, except I don’t honestly pay often to enjoy these artists work; save of course for whatever fraction of a cent they earn when I let their pre-and-post video advertisements run.

This week, I thought I’d feature my top 5 musical artists I found because of YouTube. I’ll showcase the first video that hooked me, as well as a piece of whatever of theirs recently I’m grooving to. Slap some cans on your ear-holes, kiddos. Let’s rock this joint. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #041: YouTube Groove-On”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #040: PRIDE and Prejudice

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #040: PRIDE and Prejudice

So, if you’re like me — always a day late on the pulse of what the kids are in to— no doubt you just stumbled into Taylor Swift’s newest earworm, “You Need To Calm Down”. Like all of her work… its cotton candy made audible. Lyrics, if you don’t pay attention to them, are superficial and trite as an eight grade girl trying to be edgy. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find the song nauseatingly catchy.

But, as with most things in the post-millennial age, Swift’s single here is more than just audio saccharine for the summer. It’s also a companion music video that takes the lyrics to literal heart, and regurgitates the track as it’s clearly meant to be directed: a pride anthem for the LGBTQ community. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #040: PRIDE and Prejudice”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #039: Eulogy for Gotham

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #039: Eulogy for Gotham

Oh Gotham, we hardly knew ye.

A bit late perhaps for someone to wrap up thoughts on a show that left the zeitgeist on April 25th, but who are we kidding… Gotham left the fans a few episodes into the first season and never looked back.

I myself have slogged through all 100 episodes (exactly! Who knew…) of the life and times of the denizens of one of pop cultures most well-known fictitious cities. Gotham itself was a 5-season experiment in schizophrenia. At times, it was a mostly realistic mafioso crime drama. At other times it was a CW tinged drama of angsty romantic desires. In the best of times, it was self-effacing dramedy with marvelous production designs and a few decent ideas. And in the worst of times, it was a supernaturally-charged proto-action cop drama / espionage / military / comic book nightmare of plot holes, character reimaginings, and dialogue that had to have been written by autocomplete set to mellowdrama. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #039: Eulogy for Gotham”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)

Let me jump ahead here to be clear: I wasn’t in a place financially to allow the indulgence of AEW’s “Double or Nothing” pay-per-view. And whatever leaked dirt-sheet reports from the smarks bellowing on how amazing it was preceded this article or my decision to no longer contribute to the WWE Network subscriber base. Cool? Cool.

There’s a large part of me that wants to write directly to the smark community right now. To drop all traditional pretense to mansplain in the nicest way possible, the brief history and factual evidence that led my decision and what built this article in the first place. I want to set it aside so I can fill my column inches with pure vitriol and spite.

But I’m older, wiser, and the bitterness isn’t such that I need to level a rant that sadistic anymore. Because while I freely admit I hate-canceled my WWE Network subscription… it was done with a whimper and a sigh. Let me tell you all a tale. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #038: I quit the WWE (Mostly)”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #037: Charitable Contributions

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #037: Charitable Contributions

Photo by Carole Sharwarko of the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle

For those that know me well? I am a big fan of the long game. It’s why after Unshaven Comics took the better part of a year and a half working on our very first graphic novel (The March: Crossing Bridges in America, thank you very much…) my inclination wasn’t to immediately cut ties to the insanity of comic book production and just focus on my video game skills. No, I sat down with my brothers-from-other-mothers and said “we need to do this again!”. I dated my now wife for over eight and a half years before popping the question (and at least five years after the gem in her hand started glowing red!). And we waited to have our first kid several years after getting hitched. So, yeah. Long game.

Which is why it was so satisfying after sitting on the news for the better part of a year, I was finally able to share with my community a charitable donation I shilled for, to the tune of $1000 donated specifically to my home school district earmarked only to be used for the visual arts. Let me take you back… Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #037: Charitable Contributions”

And now for a bit of humor from the Fish, man.

And now for a bit of humor from the Fish, man.

Sometimes, I make the jokes. This would be one of those times. Since I am here in New Jersey, getting ready for the East Coast Comic Con… I couldn’t attend my regular open mic night. So, they played this instead. Enjoy it…. Or don’t (in which case this becomes perfect anti-comedy)!

 

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #036: Spoil the Spoilers

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #036: Spoil the Spoilers

Teenage angst has paid off well,
Now I’m bored and old.
Self-appointed spoilers spoil
More than they have told.

If they gatekeep online now,
Plot-holes that they found?
All to piss off and to troll
And needlessly expound…

Bonus points if you get the reference. No Googlin’ either, kiddos.

It seems now that spoiler culture is abound throughout social media. With the Russo’s (of Endgame fame, don’t-cha-know) declaring specific rules as to their accepted window of spoilativity… my feeds have been choked to the nines with needless repetition and condemnation of those who seek to ruin the experience of a piece of pop culture by virtue of their ability to consume it first.

To be clear to all who I am friends with? Not a single soul said a serendipitous spoiler in any sense of the word for Endgame, Game of Thrones, or even The Price is Right. And trust me, I was on high alert. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #036: Spoil the Spoilers”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE

As warned last week, I’m gonna get knee-deep in some WWE opinionatin’. Strap in, slapnuts, we’re about to break it down.

Wrestlemania (35, but who’s counting) was a sordid affair that outstayed its welcome by a little over 2 hours. The never-ending pay-per-view delivered one match for the ages (Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston), a few we’ll certainly remember (Brock Lesner being taken to dick-punch-city losing to Seth Friggin’ Rollins and Becky Lynch kicking ass and chewing bubblegum), and the rest a mostly-forgettable mash of who-cares. Following Mania came the always-odd RAW and Smackdown post-shows; each delivering their fair share of follow-up angles, new debuts, and ultimately (a week later), a pair of “superstar shake-up” episodes to reset the rosters and kickstart the next year of programming. Rather than figure a way to create a single cohesive thesis to tie my waning thoughts about all the back-and-forths… I figure it behooves me to listicle out each errant bon mot and wax poetic before moving on. Allez cuisine!  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #035: WTFWWE”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #034: End Game

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #034: End Game

Sup, nerds. I know I’ve been away for a tic, but you’ll forgive me right? I changed day jobs — and I’m sure you’d love to know all about that — and it put me in Austin last week. But I’m back in the saddle here in my newly upgraded Man-Cave/Actual-Adult-Office and ready to populate your brainstems with pop-culture thoughts and prayers.

I could wax poetic on Wrestlemania and the subsequent superstar shake-ups, but I’m saving that until next week. You’ve been warned. I could compare and contrast Captain Marvel to Shazam, but frankly it’d wind up being very mean to Shazam — because comparing the two flicks would be akin to comparing a fine meal at an upscale farm-to-table fast-casual restaurant… and Arby’s. I could detail my recent love affair with the binge-worthy Santa Clarita Diet but I just started season 3, and I don’t want 100 people to spoil things for me.

So, what does that leave me? Oh, how about the whole reason I have a column here in the first place? Independent comic bookery!

At the tail end of March, Unshaven Comics (my lil studio, don’t cha know) had a decent showing at the annual C2E2 comic con in our “home” city of Chicago. The con itself was plenty enjoyable. Our neighbors on both sides were fun, genial, and downright friendly. Our friends and fans came out in droves to give us well wishes and high fives. I personally minted a minor fortune (see also: gas and food money for a whopping 2 weeks, baby!) selling my PokeVengers cards. Please don’t alert The Pokemon Authority I’m making parody art. The best thing to come out our con experience though, was a sobering declaration. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #034: End Game”