Marc Alan Fishman: No Half-Measures Here, Folks!

Better Call Saul

As everyone hopefully saw last week, my wife and I welcomed our new son into the world. Joining his bigger brother Bennett Reed now comes Colton Mikel Fishman. I couldn’t be any more proud of my wife, nor happier for our li’l family. Kathy and I grew up as only children, so with a pair of boys under our roof we’re sailing in uncharted waters. Suffice to say we’re nervous, elated, and perhaps a bit sleep deprived even thinking about it. But we venture forward.

And before I do much the same here in my column, I’d be an ass if I didn’t stop any further blathering before I thank you the readers of ComicMix, as well as my editor and co-columnists for all the well wishes since I missed my deadline last week. Ten points if you were just about to ask when I’d declare: But I digress.

This week, I’m in a Better Call Saul kind of mood. The show is one of the best on television today. Breaking Bad was revolutionary in its murky trek into the abyss of a man’s soul. Saul in contrast is more or less a stumble and fall down the stairs towards nothing more than a manager’s pin at the Omaha Cinnabon. In the season one finale our titular esquire retorted to himself (and I guess to a lesser degree, Mike Ermantraut) that his life would no longer feature half-measures. I find myself at much the same conclusion.

Now Saul – who was still Slippin’ Jimmy McGill of Cicero, Illinois – was in effect declaring to the universe he would no longer look an opportunity in the face and retreat. If the universe dropped a sack of cash in his lap? He wouldn’t look for the owner of it. He’d spend it, and deny it to his grave should it ever be contested. Now I’ve no intention on thievery, or anything uncouth. I, instead, will take to heart the deeper meaning of Mr. McGill’s words. Here, with an infant son, and a toddling young buck at my side, I strive to do more with my life with the lesser free time I’m allowed.

You see, as I’ve detailed often, making comics independently is a beast to bear when you have a full time job and family to take care of. And with a wife who will now be allowed to take two months off of work unpaid, suddenly my inclination to take every freelance gig waving past my face rises exponentially. And what stares at me every night on my cloud-based to-do list from hell, The Samurnauts looms with a grey cloud above it.

Our Kickstarter successfully funded in November of 2015. Our thinking at the time would be we’d (we, being the Unshaven Lads) hunker down and churn the remainder of the material out in time to put books into people’s hands right about now. But that grey cloud has begat a book still 14 pages (give or take) left to pencil and ink… and the entirety of the final issue to color and letter. In short, it’s not even close to done.

And sleeping two floors above me, as innocent as can be, is the most wonderful excuse why I barely give a damn. I should note as well that Unshaven Matt Wright and his amazing wife Amy brought Molly Wright into the world only a few days ago. And to answer you… no, Matt and I didn’t plan it this way.

Back to the topic at hand. No half-measures. You see, the words have never rang more true. I could dump out my freelance clients and pour myself into finishing our first graphic novel. I bet if I really tried, we could have it done in a month or less. But that’s never been the way we’ve worked. Unshaven Comics, for better or worse, has stuck to the ideology that our passion is best served proudly. And we’ll never publish a book until we’re damned proud to do so. And if that takes more time because our lights need to stay on, and young tuchuses need to be diapered? So be it. The Samurnauts when it is completed (the first graphic novel, I should say), will represent the absolute best work Unshaven Comics could produce together.

So, to you Colton, Bennett, Molly, and Aidan… know that your fathers (and Uncle Kyle!) may take forever and a day to put out their comics. But they waited their whole lives for you to be here with us now. So… what’s a few more weeks really mean?

No half-measures, kiddos. It’s just not worth it.