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So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling

For any living under a rock, #SpeakingOut is a movement in recent weeks that has exposing a litany of professional wrestlers for their misogynistic behavior publicly calling them out to be dealt with. In the wake of everything occurring throughout the world, it’s a breath of fresh air to see those in the business who need action taken against them start to suffer for their behavior.

What we’re seeing is a systemic change; where allegations are being met instantly with action and repercussions. You might say that #timesup to live by the “wait and see” or “innocent until proven guilty” defense used by many who bear the brunt of the hashtag. But it’s clear by way of all that has come out:

Women will be believed. They will be heard. And those accused must deal with the ramifications. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #067: Speaking Out on Pro Wrestling”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #066: Black Lives Matter

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #066: Black Lives Matter

As I write this — on Sunday, June 7th, 2020 —  it comes on the heels of taking my family out to the park today for a walk. While I wish it was for just fresh air and sunshine… alas, today we walked alongside our community in a peaceful protest march. With masks adorned and side-by-side with people of all ages, creeds, colors, and religions, we took stride with signs in hand. My sons, 2, 4, and 8, marched alongside their neighbors, not wholly aware of the injustice that exists in the world.

My 8 year old grasps it a little. But he is still innocent at his core. This all seems to him like an odd off-shoot of a Minecraft or Roblox world. He doesn’t understand how his friends — those in his class at school, his teammates in baseball teams past, or even the girls who he plays with down the street — are treated unfairly in society at large because of the color of their skin. My wife and I explained it to him as best we could. And he could recite correctly the “hows” and “whys” of the situation. But I know behind his dark brown eyes, his thoughts and feelings are still forming. Meanwhile, my 4 year old was just beaming to have so many people to say hi to. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #066: Black Lives Matter”

‘Dope Movies’ Debuts on YouTube; Forgets the Ironic Date.

Peanut butter and jelly. McNuggets and dipping sauce. Funions and… more funions. Pairings that bring to mind those fine flavors that bore benevolence into the baked brain. That, or I haven’t had breakfast yet, and I’m jonesing hard. Debuting on YouTube today, from Comedy Central and the original minds behind “Middle-Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles” (seriously, look it up) comes Dope Movies.

In the 6 minute clip, (perfectly re-watchable if you happen to accidentally eat one too many special gummies you just mistook for your morning vitamin…) actor and comedian Clayton English tokes up and recounts 1995’s action hit GoldenEye. In between the plumes of smoke, English waxes poetic on white privilege, James Brown, and the Sean Bean Death Rule. And while I wasn’t sitting back with an annotated script to check down English’s reminiscing… I’m near certain he recalls the best parts in spite of finding literally anything funny whilst filming.

If the format feels a little familiar? One might look only to Comedy Central’s other inebriation-based recollection show, Drunk History. Done with significantly less money, guest stars, and pomp-and-circumstance… Dope Movies hits the same laugh-center of the viewer’s brain all at a pandemically-friendly price-point. Especially for the millennial types who save their cord-cutting shekels for more Sour Diesel.

Check out the premiere episode below, and be sure to keep your eyes pink-free for Dope Movies’ take on Jurassic Park on 5/8, and Meteor Man on 6/5.

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!

Brainiac On Banjo #082: This Is Fitting… And About Time, Too!

Brainiac On Banjo #082: This Is Fitting… And About Time, Too!

Famous 1st Edition #C-63, New Fun Comics #1, published by DC Comics, 2020, in hardcover $19.99.

The very first thing that impressed me about the release of Famous 1st Edition #C-63, the first in four decades, is that the subtitle below the logo is “Limited Collectors’ Platinum Mint Series.” Holy crap! It’s Limited, it’s Platinum, it’s also Mint… and it’s a series?

So I looked it up. DC published a bunch of “Famous First Editions” reprinting the first issues of most of the usual suspects: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash Comics, All-Star Comics. Don’t ask me to explain how their numbering system worked; I figured it out with the intent of explaining it, but my head still hurts and it really isn’t important. The number isn’t on the cover, and, anyway, there can’t be a second Famous 1st Edition edition of New Fun #1. What I did’t realize, or maybe I forgot, is that before this Famous 1st Edition Limited Collectors’ Platinum Mint Series book DC had published issues as “Golden Mint,” “Silver Mint,” “Bronze Mint,” and Blue Ribbon series, the latter doubtlessly just to piss Archie Comics off. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #082: This Is Fitting… And About Time, Too!”

Another Smart Marc Podcast — The Pilot!

Another Smart Marc Podcast — The Pilot!

Just in time for professional wrestling to implode, Pop Culture Squad is proud to present the pilot to Another Smart Marc — a pro wrestling podcast as part of our Pop Culture Squadcast Network!

Join PCS columnist SmartMarc Alan Fishman and his guest, singer/songwriter Jeremy Lieb as they breakdown the coming and (mostly) goings in the world of rasslin’.

The lads discuss the current empty arena shows — the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’re taking Friar Ferguson levels of ugly. And if you get that reference? Well my friend, you’re just another smart mark.

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Weird Scenes #084A: WHO Are You?? Who Are YOU!

Weird Scenes #084A: WHO Are You?? Who Are YOU!

“Doctor, there’s nothing wrong with me / Doctor doctor, can’t you see / Doctor, I ain’t going to die / Just write me an alibi” — Doctor Alibi, written by Lemmy and Slash, 2010

In case you’ve made the reasonable decision to disconnect the Wi-Fi connection to your sensory deprivation tank, you might be unaware that the acting President of the United States (named so because he’s really just acting) kneecapped the World Health Organization because… well, because he’s a raving idiot, a pestilence worse than coronavirus, and he is constantly in need of something or someone to blame for his many, many failings.

The WHO is not the creation of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama; in fact, Clinton was only about six months old when it was founded and Obama was more than 14 years shy of leaving the womb. However, it is part of the United Nations. WHO is, according to Wikipedia shorthand, a “specialized agency responsible for international public health.” They have no WHO-police, no WHO-armies, and no power of law. They do have a lot of doctors, scientists and learned individuals who try to figure out how to make Earth more habitable, at least with respect to advances in healthcare. Continue reading “Weird Scenes #084A: WHO Are You?? Who Are YOU!”

With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con

With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con

Sunday’s New York Times had one of those stunning stories that “everyone” already knew about. The print version headline screamed “Despite Timely Alerts, Trump Was Slow to Act” across five columns. (Headlines that stretch over all six columns are deemed the most important news stories).  This article, written by Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman and other reporters, details how many top officials tried – for two months – to warn the president of the coming pandemic and were, tragically, ignored or told to “stop panicking”.

As usual, Geek Culture was way ahead of the curve.

At last July’s San Diego Comic-Con (officially called Comic-Con International), there was a panel called Art of Infection: Fictional Diseases, Real Life. The intent of this panel was to focus on depictions of infectious diseases in literature, and how the real world would react to such events.

Panelists included Kelley Boston, an epidemiology and infection prevention expert who works for Infection Prevention & Management Associates of Houston, Bobbiejean Garcia, an epidemiologist at Texas State Department of State Health Services, Debesh Das, an infection prevention specialist in the California healthcare system and Tyler Houston, representing arts and culture. Continue reading “With Further Ado #90 : The Prescience of Comic-Con”

Spotlight Interview with Comic Writer Stephanie Phillips

Spotlight Interview with Comic Writer Stephanie Phillips

Hey Folks!

Welcome back to another spotlight interview.

During our practice of social distancing, we are still able to talk to comic pros and bring those conversations to you. The discussion we are bringing you this time is with comic writer Stephanie Phillips.

Stephanie has burst on the comics scene in the last few years. She wrote an original graphic novel that was backed on Kickstarter called Kicking Ice. From there she has written Devil Within at Black Mask Studios, Descendant and Artemis and the Assassin at Aftershock Comics, and The Butcher of Paris at Dark Horse Comics. She also had a story in the DC Comics anthology Crimes of Passion.

She has a few of new series that have been announced, including A Man Among Ye from Image Comics , Red Atlantis from Aftershock, and a new comic starring Taarna from Heavy Metal.

We had an entertaining conversation ranging from dealing with life in the world of coronavirus to her career and writing process.

The completed audio recording is below, but we transcribed some of the most important parts for you as well.

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Pop Culture Squad:  Thanks for being here. I want to say to the listeners that this interview was supposed to happen in person at ITHACON45 where we were both going to be guests, but obviously that and all other cons have been cancelled for the foreseeable, but hopefully not too distant, future.

On that topic, before we get to your amazing comic books, what can you share about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted your life, both in comics or not if you want?

Stephanie Phillips:  Yeah, I mean I think it’s a really weird time for everyone, in most industries, but I think we are just going to see a lot of different changes to the way comics work. Thankfully, I know that we are all going to keep making comics, I have had some hopeful calls with publishers; people are willing to just kind of forge ahead and work things out. Make new trails if we have to, but those of us in the industry, I know we are kind of here to stay. However we keep making comics, I know we will keep making those. I know things are really messy and frustrating right now, but we are going to keep kind of making stuff, creating things because it’s kind of what we do. I think at the end we will have at least really good content to share with the world. Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Writer Stephanie Phillips”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!

With the increasing pressure of the CDC, state governance, and… well… common sense, live entertainment may be on the verge of hiatus. I speak specifically of professional wrestling — with both the WWE and AEW continuing to produce shows weekly. This perhaps coming to no greater head than Wrestlemania itself. Let’s just unpack that, shall we?

Vince McMahon’s first ‘Mania was the gamble that paid off to dividends still reverberating today. The WWF of 1985 presented the carnival-tinged cavalcade of muscle-bound pugilists in a venue and scope that prognosticated future success to the tune of billions of dollars earned. Fast-forward to the COVID-19 stricken wastleland that is America at present. Wrestlemania 36 just ended it’s 2-night audience-less presentation. In spite of death-defying stunts, first-and-likely-last-time-ever matchtypes like the Boneyard Match between the Undertaker and AJ Styles, or the Firefly Funhouse match between John Cena and The Fiend… after 7 hours of grunts and prat falls to the echos of an empty warehouse, I’m astounded this was considered a good idea. At all. Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #062: No Audience? No Wrestling!”

Spotlight Interview with Ian McGinty and Eliot Rahal, creators of the new OGN, Robot’s Tale

Spotlight Interview with Ian McGinty and Eliot Rahal, creators of the new OGN, Robot’s Tale

Hey folks!

Welcome back to another spotlight interview.

This time we bring you an interview that we did with comic creators Ian McGinty and Eliot Rahal. They are the creative team behind a brand new Original Graphic Novel called Robot’s Tale. It is based on the music of the band Dance Gavin Dance and being published by Z2 Comics.

Ian is an artist who has worked on the Invader Zim movie and done work for Boom! Studios on the Adventure Time comics and Bee and PuppyCat. He also illustrated Poppy‘s Graphic Novel Genesis 1 which was also published by Z2.

Eliot is writer of such comics as Hot Lunch Special and Midnight Vista from AfterShock comics. He has done a bunch of work with Valiant Comics and besides this Dance Gavin Dance book is currently working on Bleed Them Dry from Vault comics.

We had a great conversation about this crazy story that they are creating. The audio recording has a lot more organic conversation, but we transcribed some of the most important parts below.

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Pop Culture Squad: We are very excited about this book you are doing with Dance Gavin Dance called Robot’s Tale. Before we get to what goes on in the book, why don’t you tell us how you guys got brought together on it?

Eliot Rahal: That’s all Josh Frankel. I know Ian has been doing work for Josh as Z2 for quite some time. I met Josh about a year and a half ago at New York Comic Con through a mutual friend. I immediately loved this man. He is such a unique person.

Ian McGinty: He is an insane human being. I don’t even know how to describe Josh, but he is a nutso person in the best way possible.

ER: He is great. How Ian and I got placed together is that I had been in conversation with Josh for over a year, trying to find a project, and this one lined up and he asked me to do it, and then he lined up with Ian’s schedule and here we are.

PCS: I have seen Robot’s Tale described as bat-shit crazy. So, what can we expect from this book? Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Ian McGinty and Eliot Rahal, creators of the new OGN, Robot’s Tale”