I write this article today, on the 35th anniversary of my staging a complex breakout from the prison that brought me life. 6 weeks before I was due for release, I set plans in motion that would force the state to grant me early release — however, I was a fool. Born only 3 pounds, 8 ounces left me with no meat on the bone with which to battle the icy storms of the Chicagoland area in 1981. So, I was hurried off to an easy-bake oven for babies… and set to warm until my pop-up thermometer came out clean. This is my exasperated attempt to be funny about writing today, on my birthday. For the record: it’s December 28th, but as you all know, my articles are your most favorite Saturday reading.
I write tonight after a truly uneventful day. As is the case for a Jewish suburban kid whose birthday comes three days after everyone is stuffed and sick of partying, and three days before everyone is set to do it again to ring in the new year… I’m not often one for making a big deal about the day. In my lifetime, I think I had an actual party two or three times. Suffice to say: seeing the dozens and dozens of Facebook friends wish me a pleasant day is as joyous a thing as time spent cutting a cake and opening presents I don’t actually want. Maybe if people read my article about gift giving I wouldn’t be so sour about getting a useful block of CD-R’s. Natch. But I digress.
2016 for many reasons was a year people would love to forget. The loss of Prince, George Michael, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, Alan Thicke, and most recently Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds… combined with the electing of Donald Trump certainly squashes a lot of the joy that came over the last 363 days (as of this writing). But I’m not one for staying down. 2016 was a year of great joy personally for me. For starters? My second son, Colton Mikel, was born. He’s healthy, happy, and a babbling brook of teething delight. My older son, Bennett Reed, has taken to pre-school like a total champ. He’s curious, energetic, and truly the light of my life on the darkest days. And hey, the Cubs won the World Series. Of course, had we all known the cost of that win apparently came with all the aforementioned loss…
I wouldn’t earn my keep on this site if I didn’t mention pop culture and comic books though, right? 2016 saw the rerise of DC. By stabbing the New 52 in the crotch with Rebirth, Dan DiDio finally earned back my business (speaking only of pulp and paper). At the movies, we got Civil War, a new Star Wars, a new Harry Potter (sorta), and Deadpool. On TV, Agents of SHIELD continues to be a worthwhile romp, alongside Flash, and the entire CW comic-based menagerie. They event launched a new Justice League cartoon my 4 year old and I can both appreciate. Note that I’m saving my son for the real animated DCU when he turns 9 — the same age his old man was given access to it. Suffice to say: amongst the litany of dour dolts rising to power, in my 35th year on this mortal coil… pop culture provided me with a breadth of quality content I couldn’t have fathomed even half a decade ago.
Professionally, Unshaven Comics remains my truest love (beyond that of my wife, sons, and family, of course). 2016 saw our return to both Dragon Con and the New York Comic Con. While we were unable to complete work on our last issue of Curse of the Dreadnuts, I can confidently say that the book itself will be worth the (incredibly unprofessional) wait. When it debuts in February or March of 2017? I will be very proud of it. While the year stagnated for Unshaven as a whole, it was amazing to see our resident writer and sales-machine Kyle Gnepper release his own graphic novel. To see my brother from another mother complete a project from stem to stern (on his own dime to boot) filled me with a joy I’d never had the pleasure of feeling before. Pride by proxy if you will.
And allow me a final indulgence to share here unrelated to any pop culture. Back in May, I’d reached an impasse personally, where I was truly sick and tired of my physical self. Without announcement, I decided to make significant changes in what filled my food hole, and what physical exertion I would force upon myself. Over the course of 6 months, I have dropped more than a significant amount of me, and have entered a new strange phase of my life. A phase where I purposefully watch what I intake, and go to a gym to improve the parts of me not bearded. With a new lease on life (and a serious goal to meet May 8th, 2017), I am proud to state here in my little corner of the internet that I am a better Marc Alan Fishman at 35 than I was at 25. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Comicly.
As They Might Be Giants have long said:
I’m older than I’ve ever been. And now I’m even older.