First off… is it OK to call you Dan? Probably not. We’re not close friends. We’re not really even acquaintances. At best, I know some people you know really well, and you’ve come by my little table in Artist Alleys now and again, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Yeah, Dan seems a bit too informal. So, I apologize. Mr. Didio, I felt it necessary to write to you a complicated mélange of thoughts today. I’d seen — thanks to my blown-up social feeds — of your recent (likely undesired) conscious uncoupling with DC Comics. Admittedly when I’d seen the news, it came on the back of Ethan Van Sciver claiming he knew someone who knew someone at AT&T who was threatening to blow up all of DC publishing if 5G doesn’t go over well. That bit of foil-hattery on top of your release was a bit too much for me. I logged off, and moved along.
And as it happened, my feed stayed choked with DiDio Dictations; lovely words shared by the multitude of industry veterans I’m lucky enough to have known long enough to be worthy of personal Facebook friendship with. And each of these creators detailed both their love and respect of you, and the work you did. It began to gnaw on my subconscious a bit. And here I sat, looking over a picture of Pop Culture Squad’s Bob Harrison posed with you, and it — combined with the words of Scott Snyder, Gail Simone, Art Baltazar, Will Pfeiffer, and more — finally able to come to grips with what all I wanted to add to the mounting mass of mentions and manifestos. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #060: Dear Dan”
It’s been a while since I’ve written to you, my adoring public. But rest assured, I’ve been knee deep in content saturation; trying to find a specific hook to yammer on about on my little home on the interwebs. Well, since it’s been long enough since my last wrestling run-down, I felt it was time to return to the squared circle and once again wax poetic on the virtues of Cody Rhodes and company. Let’s do the thing:
The win/loss record makes inconsequential matches actually matter
When AEW gets into their mid-card, their simple system of tracking wins and losses (and soft resetting at year end) means every match has a purpose. By telling us presently-not-on-the-top-five Jungle Boy is facing off with 5th ranked Superbad Kip Sabian, even without a lengthy backstory, the match suddenly matters. A win over Sabian might mean Jungle Boy gets on the ranking board. But if Kip nips Jungle Boy in the bud, he’ll hold more wins than #4 on the chart, and suddenly his stock is skyrocketing. This makes every match have ramifications. It forces us, the viewers, to think of the predetermined contests as holding a narrative built around the sport between the ropes. This suspension of belief is what pro-wrestling used to be rooted in. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #059: How AEW has the WWE in a Rest Hold”
The other morning, my bff in comic books, Jim McClain (who is not part of Unshaven Comics, but exists perhaps as our ”big brother” in comic bookery), met me for brunch. As we’ve done in the past… we kibitzed about life, love, kids, and all things nerd. We dished and gossiped about Alley Folks we’ve rubbed shoulders with. We waxed poetic about what we liked, loved, and loathed across the Star Wars galaxy. Fun was had by all. Great conversation and amazing egg dishes aside, Jim was meeting me so that he might rid me of my comic book collection.
You read that right.
Every book I’d amassed since college had been piling up — some bagged and boarded, others less so — and I recognized that I’d not needed a single floppy copy for the better part of nine and a half years (the time in our home, which the wife and I are cleaning up a bit at a time to contemplate a springtime move). In the interest of no longer keeping treasure that could otherwise be of value back in the marketplace, I gifted to Jim two long boxes, seven or eight short boxes, and a tote-bag of comics.
Jim has already started sorting and valuing them. I wish him, and those who purchase from him, the best. There are a few real gems to mine there, too.
So, the real question then is why. Why was I so cavalier in gifting a collection away at a whim (for what added up to a delightful breakfast)? The answer is fairly straight-forward:
I’m still not over feeling played by the big two. Continue reading “So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #58: Comics, No More.”
A long time ago in a galaxy far away… a nerd convinced a studio to give him money to make a visual effects masterpiece with significant merchandizing appeal. He mashed together the tropes of the science fiction and fantasy serials he loved growing up, and put together a wonderful homage to the hero’s journey. It made a lot of money, and soon thereafter, Star Wars became an empire. But you already knew that.
As I’ve detailed before: my personal Star Wars fandom was mild to possibly salsa verde at any given point. As an only child of parents not into pop culture, I didn’t actually sit down to enjoy the original trilogy in earnest until the late 90’s special edition releases. And while I’d been inundated to all the significant moments through delightful pastiches abroad, as well as avidly played through any number of Star Wars licensed video games (Tie Fighter, Rebel Assault, and Dark Forces)… in the battle between the light and dark side, I was quite the mercenary. That’s to say that I was a fan only when it suited me to be. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #057: “The Mandolorian” Broke Me of My Star Wars Malaise”
Greetings smart-marks! I’m back one last time in 2019 to put together a list of my personal bests-and-worsts that ran afoul in the pro-wrasslin’ business. The highs were higher, the lows perhaps never lower. And while I’m no doubt cross-pollinating with a large swatch of other smarky writers? I don’t care. I learned to not care from my cousin Maxwell.
Best: MJF. Just everything about this guy this year tracks positive. Admittedly, like most of AEW stars, I had nary a clue who Maxwell Jacob Friedman was prior. But ever since that Burberry scarf sporting scallywag snarled on screen, I was hooked. He’s young. He’s cocky. I’ve yet to even see him in a full-on match. That I honestly don’t care I’ve NOT seen him in long-format yet is a testament to the worthy work he’s putting in. Part Million Dollar Man, part Internet Troll… he’s awaiting several beatings I can’t wait to see.
Worst: Sasha Banks. Let me preface my micro-rant: I did not watch her WWE Chronicle documentary about her taking time off. I didn’t because it’s unnecessary. Banks — a victim of WWE’s awful creative team (more on them later) — was dropped into a tag team program with her best friend around Wrestlemania season, and has yet to recover. Once seen as the rising heel star of NXT’s amazing women’s division… this year reduced to changing her hair color as a sign of reinvention. Honey? Call Chris Jericho. Take some notes. And maybe head back to NXT for some in-ring pointers while you’re at it. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #056: 2019 Year-End Wrestling Wrap Up!”
A while back, I’d admitted to having never seen Top Gun. I was commanded to rectify the situation. I did, and capturing my hot takes on a virgin viewing. I presented said takes here on Pop Culture Squad. My friends? I’ve never seen a bigger reaction to my reactions. I’ve written a few pieces on the ole’ interwebs over the last decade or so I’ve been truly proud of. Pieces that unearthed old friends, made me new friends, or defriended bad friends. Well, none of those pieces apparently came close to the engagement gained over declaring:
I love how Johnny Exposition sets us up about a dozen times throughout the movie. “Welcome, all you Top Gun Fighter Pilots, today is day 4 of your 12 day schooling. It’s clear that Maverick is in second place to Iceman because he’s just too cocky for his own damn good. Today your assignment will be to fly planes again, but this time Maverick needs to be a team player, except when the mission demands he become a cocky cock-sure cock who’d cock up the mission to see us win. America!”
Well, the interwebs demanded I deep dive into the litany of flicks I’ve yet to see, due to my sheltered suburbanite over-protective-Jewish-mom-upbringing. So here goes. My hot takes on Caddyshack. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #055: Hole In Won”
When I was growing up, I was never for want. I was an only child with parents never guilty of spoiling me, but equally never guilty of letting their sole scion suffer. As my mom would like to remind me, often, I was never for want. That out of the way, there was a lone rule to abide by:
No Nerf guns. Ever.
While my childhood was devoid of viewings of A Christmas Story, apparently the universal law of toy guns held true; that ownership of one ensured the owners loss of an eye. And with that, a spark lit an ember that would grow into a problematic firestorm as soon as I became a homeowner, a decade and a half later.
My name is Marc Alan Fishman. To date, I own 61 Nerf Guns. There’s no sign I’m stopping anytime soon either. Nerf guns are relatively inexpensive. They make amazing props in comic books. They can be modified to shoot harder — which allows collecting to become something more akin to a hobby. As such, I consume a large amount of content on the internet related to the flinging of foam. Be it reviewing of existing products, sneak previews of guns to come, or viewing tutorials on modification… nary a week passes without me taking in a few minutes of dart play. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #054: Nerf-Herder”
I had consumed nearly every show I was told I’d love on Netflix as I’d contemplated transitioning to Amazon Prime — Orange is the New Black, GLOW, Living With Yourself, Big Mouth, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, The Kominsky Method, Bojack Horseman, F is for Family, Maniac, and Master of None to name a few. And in the case of all of the above (with about 8 or 9 more I decided not to list)… I did in fact love them. Some more than others, but all appropriately dynamic and enjoyable.
With everything seemingly checked off my bucket list for the time being, I was about to sign off, and one last series peaked its head around the corner. I’d been recommended to look into it several times, but something about it seemed bland. Every still shot of the show was set in some rural-ish small town, with an obvious fish-out-of-water placement of Eugene Levy or Catherine O’Hara looking befuddled. I’d told myself it wasn’t worth my time. I hovered over the preview and watched. All the tropes were there: a wealthy family no longer wealthy, Eugene Levy being… Eugene Levy, Chris Elliott being… Chris Elliott, small town vs. big city. Whatever. But, an inadvertent click popped the preview into a pilot, and I took my seat. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #053: Oh Schitt!”
It’s about to be that time again. I know it’s likely my article drops after all y’all done gorged yourselves all day on good foods. But it’s still time to reflect on the year that is almost over, and figure out the bests, the worsts, and what-have-you. As I’ve written on other sites, I like to assemble a list of those things I am most thankful for at the time of writing. A time capsule of positivity, if you will. Except we live in cynical nasty times, so, well, this is what you get. Enjoy it. Hate it. I don’t care anymore!
(Because some people will like to throw stones… this list is purposefully built in random order, and should not be dissected for importance. Jerks.)
1. I’m thankful for Bill Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch, Alexander Vinman, Jennifer Williams, Kurt Volker, Tim Morrison, Gordon Sondland, Laura Cooper, David Hale, Fiona Hill, and David Holmes. As of this writing, we’ve no idea if Donald Trump will be impeached or removed from office. And while his blatantly obvious scheming would have me personally hurl the book at his orange mush so fast, it’d break the sound barrier… I am not in the House of Representatives. So, I digress. I am thankful that those above testified openly and honestly about what they saw, heard, and felt about this whole Ukraine situation. Because as it was plainly (and brilliantly) put: “This is America… Here, right matters.”
2. Schitt’s Creek, GLOW, Orange is the New Black, and The Good Place. Somewhere between my terrestrial cable subscription (it’s retro chic, don’t you know) and my Netflix account, I’ve enjoyed an amazing smattering of peak sitcom joy. And those shows listed above all have, at their core, belief in joy. Despite our joyless world, these shows have all touched my heart, and remind me of the good in the world.
3. AEW and NXT. Well, no doubt you knew this one was coming. AEW and NXT have both reminded me what good professional wrestling can be when it wants to. Well-crafted in-ring stories paired with over-the-top-but-still-plausible storylines are literally incomparable to the standard dreck dealt to me by the still-Vince-driven RAW and Smackdown shows. And make note: I will be doing a best-and-worst list of wrestlers / storylines in 2019 before the end of the year. You’ve been warned.
4. My wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. While we’ve been a couple now for nearly 19 years, it’s the last ten that have been the legally sanctioned ones. This year, I went all-out gifting the love of my life into a complete stupor. A custom-made Funko (err, Fishko) Pop figure was paired with a cameo video message from my wife’s true bae, Joey Fatone (of NSYNC fame). How did I know I did well? My wife said plainly “Well now I feel a little bad, cause I can’t compete with those gifts.” Damn straight. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #052: Things I’m Thankful For – 2019 Edition”