FlameCon 2019 – Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

FlameCon 2019 – Thoughts and Cosplay Pics

Flame Con 2019 was held this past weekend August 17-18, 2019 at the Sheraton Times Square in New York City. We were lucky to be in attendance and had a terrific time.

Flame Con is “the world’s largest queer comic con”, and this was its fifth year. The event features comics, arts and other entertainment, while hosting creators and special guests from all corners of the LGBTQ fandom.

There was a fantastic array of creators from corporate publishers and small, independent, often self, publishers. The atmosphere was intensely joyous. While the show floor was a little tightly packed, the visitors made their way through the aisles with little complaint. The placement of featured guests was spread out around the show floor which was an inspired decision.

Continue reading “FlameCon 2019 – Thoughts and Cosplay Pics”

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #044: “I want to take your guns away.”

“So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #044: “I want to take your guns away.”

I’m done making excuses, personally. I’m done forgiving, allowing exceptions, or offering platitudes to the other side. I have been lucky that no one I know has been affected by gun violence specifically. That even in that assertion I am not fully sure of it — considering all of the recent mass shootings — seals the deal. My name is Marc Alan Fishman, and I absolutely want to take all your guns away from you and everyone you know. Continue reading ““So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man” #044: “I want to take your guns away.””

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name

I’ve known Rose Del Vecchio, and her co-founder Jenny Cheng ever since they participated in my Fangirls Lead the Way panels. Together they run an innovative company called FanMail.com. A forward-looking Geek-focused company with an entrepreneurial streak a mile wide. The things that strikes you immediately about Rose is that she’s the real deal. As San Diego Comic-Con approaches, it’s important to catch up with Rose, a person on the front lines of both entrepreneurism and geek culture.  Continue reading “With Further Ado #049: A Rose By Any Other Name”

With Further Ado #048: Innovation & the Comic Shop Retail Model

With Further Ado #048: Innovation & the Comic Shop Retail Model

This weekend we had an amazing family wedding in Buffalo. Whenever I’m in town, I like to drop in on the local comics shops, especially the funky Gutter Pop and the traditional Queen City Bookstore. (I’ve written about these two shops recently here.)

Just as we were wrapping up all the festivities from our weekend wedding, I tried to squeeze in a stop, and a little retail therapy, at Queen City Bookstore. To my surprise, they were closed in order to devote 100% of their focus Sunday to the Buffalo Comic Con.

Rats!

The Buffalo Comic-Con is a fun show. Captain Action exhibited there a few years ago and we had a grand time. I had a wonderful time getting to know comic artist Kevin Nowlan as we were on a panel together.

But, still… I was bummed out that Queen City Bookstore was closed. So, I used Waze to guide me out of the city and on the way out, was surprised to see a storefront sign that read: Iron Buffalo Comics. Games. Coffee.

Screeeeech! I mimicked an Adam West “Bat Turn” (minus the parachutes emerging from my car) and my wife Kathe and I stopped in for a visit.

Iron Buffalo is a funky, new comic shop. It’s still in its infancy but you can see that this store, like so many new comic shops, is trying something new.

Here’s how they describe themselves: Continue reading “With Further Ado #048: Innovation & the Comic Shop Retail Model”

The Weed of Crime Bears Bitchin’ Fruit

The Weed of Crime Bears Bitchin’ Fruit

Earlier this month the Illinois legislature passed and sent to the governor a bill legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana. Within 24 hours, I had received a half-dozen emails and texts asking me when I was moving back home.

I’ve been gone a third of a century, but – like most obnoxious Chicago ex-pats – the city remains imbedded in my heart. The people, the traditions, music and the folklore, and the highly dangerous but totally fabulous junk food that is all such an integral part of the city’s culture remains remarkably seductive. Continue reading “The Weed of Crime Bears Bitchin’ Fruit”

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”

Brainiac On Banjo #041: It’s Not Easy Drinking Green

Brainiac On Banjo #041: It’s Not Easy Drinking Green

If you’re from the Midwest or you’ve spent some serious time there, you are about to understand why I am expanding the meaning of the phrase “pop culture.”

I had just turned 11. I know this because my Uncle Irv took me to Normie’s deli for lunch, and it was next door to Weiner’s Drug Store where I purchased Superman #149, “The Death of Superman.” Yup, that’s the way fanboys organize our personal histories.

I told Uncle Irv I wasn’t very hungry and he suggested I just order a plate of french fries. I didn’t know you could do that, so I was thrilled I didn’t have to waste stomach-space on stuff that inadvertently might be healthy. He then asked me if I ever had a Green River. I didn’t know what that was, so he ordered me a glass. Green River was – and remains – what we in the Midwest call “pop.” Some southerners call it “co-cola” (even if it’s Pepsi), and folks out east call it soda. That annoys me – in my world, “soda” has ice cream in it. Seeing that New Yorkers look down their nose at all things non-New York, I refer to the substance as “soda pop.” They scowl, but they don’t complain. Not if they know me. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #041: It’s Not Easy Drinking Green”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #042: Queers vs Jews?

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #042: Queers vs Jews?

And the parting on the left / Is now the parting on the right / And the beards have all grown longer overnight – Pete Townshend, 1971

I made my position on the LGBTQ community clear in this space last week, so for a change I won’t repeat myself. However, whenever I write about the Israel troubles I feel obligated to repeat the following, last seen here on March 14: When it comes to the never-ending middle east conflict, I have no horse in the race. This is because I believe in freedom of religion. I’m not in favor of a Jewish state, and I’m not in favor of a Muslim state. I’m also not in favor of a Christian state… You get the idea.

If you’re an American and your response to this, with respect to the aforementioned “troubles,” is “but it’s not their land,” I would ask you for the name, city and tribal designation of the Native American to whom you pay rent.

Once again, some in leadership positions in sundry gay communities have conflated the star of David with Zionism. This past week’s Washington D.C. Dyke March banned Jewish women – and, presumably, all others – from marching under the banner of Jewish gay pride. This flag contains the star of David over the rainbow color background. Continue reading “Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #042: Queers vs Jews?”

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”

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: F-Bombs Away!

Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mind #038: F-Bombs Away!

Frack. Frick. Fug. Frigging. Fenorking. Freaking. Funked-up. Boffing. Boinking. Deuced. The F-Word. The F-Bomb!

Generally speaking, these euphemisms are substitutes for the unholiest of all words,“fuck.” When you hear any of these terms — depending upon the context, of course — your brain understands them as “fuck.” Simply reading the word will send you straight to Heck, so I guess if you made it this far I owe you an apology.

Euphemisms are needless conduits to reality. They don’t work unless the real word already is in your head. Cut the cheese and say what you mean.

This past Sunday, Bill Nye The Science Guy dropped the F-Bomb (seriously; that term is far more banal than the source term) on Last Week With John Oliver something like five times in five minutes. It was hilarious, but the fact that it was just proves the word still has some power. This astonishes me, as it achieved commonplacehood a couple generations ago. Nonetheless, it persists.

We shouldn’t need these words to shock. Pick up a newspaper. Turn on the news. Take a look at your retirement fund. Think about all those people who voted for Trump. That’s the stuff that should shock you. The fact that most of the near-infinite circumlocutions truly are sophomoric shows how impotent the word fuck really is.

Yet these words continue to offend those who make the conscious decision to be offended, to show that they are superior to the riff-raff because they are better, because they think euphemisms show off that superiority. These are people who keep their noses so high in the sky they would drown in a light drizzle. They are elitists who want to delineate their moral dominance. They have no functional belief system other than their own elitism; they haunt the rosters of both the left and the right.

A week ago today, the National Review — one of the comparatively sane conservative publications — published a well-written essay by Heather Wilhelm, who probably is a very nice person with an obvious sense of humor, but who probably wouldn’t like me very much.

The piece was called “The Banality of the F-Bomb,” and she starts with several instances of the use of the word — starting with Maurice Chevalier, for which she deserves serious props. But Ms. Wilhelm establishes her moral superiority by asking “What is wrong with everyone? Have we lost our national “edit” button? (I’ll answer my own question, because the answer is obvious: Yes.)”

No. No, we haven’t. We’ve simply gone honest on your ass. We’ve accepted the fact that times change and some words that previously were unacceptable are now acceptable and other words that previously were acceptable are now unacceptable. Fuck is in common usage, but we now have the N-word to replace a previously common phrase.

Is that progress? Not really. It’s fashion. By 2076 other words will be verboten and some others will get a reprieve. Calm down; I’m not taking a position on which words should be good and which words should be bad. I’m simply pointing out the vicissitudes of history.

If a single word causes you to foam at the mouth and writhe around in an epileptic fit, that’s on you. If that word causes the overwhelming majority of people to foam at the mouth and writhe around in an epileptic fit, that’s on society.

Besides, despite common liberal philosophy words in and of themselves really are harmless. If I say the word fuck to you, you will still be the same person you were the moment before and it will be your reaction that might be childish. It’s concepts that are dangerous. I’m much more concerned about White Nationalists than I am about whether they use the N-Word itself or simply say “N-Word” as illegitimate proof that they are not racist. If they want to call me a kike, that’s fine. Forewarned is forearmed.

I agree with Ms. Wilhelm’s final observation that “Americans will get bored with using it.” Well, not bored so much as running out the fashion clock. Of course, what goes around comes around.

Euphamisers are shitheads. Is that the S-Word, or the S-Bomb? I dunno. Fuck ‘em.

• • • • •

Mr. Gold will be joining much of the Pop Culture Squad tomorrow (Friday) through Sunday at the East Coast Comicon at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Expo Center. He doesn’t make as many shows as he used to, so if you’re in the area drop by and tell him to bugger off.