Tagged: David Bowie

Marc Alan Fishman: 35

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.

Joe Corallo, Year One

uncanny-x-men-600-iceman

younganimal1I started writing a weekly column here at ComicMix a year ago today. The past year I’ve given my thoughts on a number of issues focusing in particular on diversity in comics. Those issues have often involved LGBTQ representation. I’m going use this column to highlight some of the topics I’ve covered, see if anything has changed or if any predictions I had made turned out to be true and maybe add in an anecdote or two.

The second column I wrote for ComicMix was about Coagula, DC Comics first and only trans superhero. A lot has happened this past year as far as Coagula is concerned. She went from being an obscure character created by Rachel Pollack from a still uncollected run of Doom Patrol, a long cancelled series with seemingly little hope of being brought back as a monthly comic to being the flagship title for Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint. Additionally, Gerard Way has stated he wants to bring Coagula back in his run. I can’t stress to all of you enough how great it’s been see this series of events unfold.

Another early column was regarding Alysia Yeoh, Barbara Gordon’s trans friend, getting married. Though there was a lot of press around that and Alysia Yeoh seemed to be gaining some interest from fans the character, one of the incredibly few trans characters that DC Comics has, faded into obscurity.

I spent no less than two columns discussing my displeasure with Iceman being outed. It’s been a long time since I discussed it so I thought I’d follow up on that. It took until All-New X-Men #13 for Iceman to pursue men and not just talk about coming out to someone. He embarrasses himself in a gay bar, runs out and runs into a guy named Romeo (I’m not kidding) who happens to be an Inhuman. I guess they wanted to make sure that character was named Romeo to make sure you’d get that Marvel is borrowing from Shakespeare here. The poor handling of Iceman being gay would almost be funny if it wasn’t so sad. It’s somehow managed to be worse than I even thought it was going to be, and I came in with low expectations.

beaton-david-bowieBi-erasure came up a few times discussing characters like Constantine who was being portrayed as straight in the now-cancelled NBC series and Marvel’s Hercules being portrayed as straight despite the character’s history of bisexuality. Bi-erasure came up again as Harley Quinn was portrayed as straight in the Suicide Squad movie and most recently with Gal Gadot confirming that Wonder Woman would be portrayed as straight for the 2017 film. If you want a bisexual Wonder Woman, stick with Greg Rucka for now.

I still don’t think Poe and Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens are in love with each other.

When David Bowie passed away early in the morning of January 11th, I had tossed out my previously planned column (with editor Mike Gold’s permission) and wrote about how much David Bowie had meant to me over the years. One story I had forgotten to include was the one and only time I was in the same room as David Bowie. I was seeing a Nine Inch Nails at Hammerstein Ballroom here in New York with my friend Jake back in 2005 with the Dresden Dolls opening. After they opened up in VIP balcony seating above us came out Chris Rock, Marilyn Manson, and David Bowie. The standing room crowd started chanting just being in Bowie’s presence. It got so loud and disruptive that he opted to get up and leave until the house lights went off so as not to draw attention away from Nine Inch Nails. Real classy guy. If you’re unfamiliar, give his album Station to Station a try.

Sam Wilson became Captain America in Steve Rogers absence, but now Steve Rogers is back and Sam Wilson has been relegated to being the second class Captain America.

If you haven’t seen that Netflix Pee-Wee Herman movie, it’s good, but it’s no Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

Eddie Berganza is still group editor of the Superman family titles at DC Comics which has continued to maintain exclusively male employment in the editorial department.

alters-1I’ve highlighted many different creators in the past year including Patrick Atangan, Steve Orlando, Rachel Pollack, Fyodor Pavlov, Howard Cruse, and Caitlin R. Kiernan.

Back in June, AfterShock Comics announced a new series, Alters, written by Paul Jenkins with art by Leila Leiz. The principle character, Chalice, is a trans woman and the hook for the series is “She can only be herself when she’s not herself.” I wrote about my reservations and the red flags I saw from reading the write ups. Paul Jenkins reached out to me and we conducted an interview for the following week. I want to stress that Paul was very polite and agreed to all the questions asked without any hesitation. Now that issue #1 is out we’ve seen the comic be met with mixed reviews, many of which unfortunately reaffirm my reservations based on the initial announcements. Paul Jenkins has done some incredible work including his Marvel Knights run on Inhumans which I can’t recommend highly enough, but the missteps in Alters would be hard to make a course correction on at this point, at least as far as I can tell.

Oh, and I took issue with Simon Pegg making Sulu gay in Star Trek Beyond against George Takei’s wishes even after asking George Takei first. It sounded like a cheap publicity stunt for some free marketing that backfired. Now that the movie is out, it happens that Sulu didn’t even get to kiss his husband in this movie who’s already barely in the film so it turns out I was right to be cynical about it. That column led to the liveliest discussion I’ve had on Facebook about anything I’ve written for ComicMix. Even more than that time I said we don’t need Iron Fist.

That about sums up my summing up of my first year as a columnist here at ComicMix. I’d like to thank Martha Thomases for suggesting me as columnist in the first place, Mike Gold for going with that suggestion, having faith in me to deliver on a weekly basis and for acting as a sounding board and mentor over the past year, and everyone else at ComicMix for being welcoming and supportive over the past year. Most of all, I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading this column over the past year for your time and support.

I hope you’re as excited for what the next year will bring as I am.

 

Tweeks: LootCrate April 2016 Unboxing “Quest”

Watch as we unbox April’s Loot Crate. The theme was Quest and there were a bunch of super cool things inside like a David Bowie/Labyrinth shirt, a Viking horn cup you can wear, Harry Potter socks…and more.  The best thing?  Probably the box. Check it out and if you love it, go to lootcrate.com to get your own.  (But hurry, the deadline to get May’s box is May 19th at 9pm PT!)

Joe Corallo: Sight and Sound

Beaton David BowieSo I had written this week’s column about Marvel’s next big event, Civil War II, and how they’re going to be killing off a major character. I wrote about how it’s unoriginal, uninspiring, and how I wish we could do better. I was even planning on titling it “Civil Disobedience.” Really clever stuff. Then I woke up at 5:30am on Monday, January 11th to news that I didn’t think I’d hear for many, many years to come: David Bowie has passed away. What I had written my column about no longer mattered to me, and I started writing a new one. This one. About how important David Bowie is to a great many people, including myself. I’m just one of those great many people. When I a kid, David Bowie wasn’t terribly important to me. I was aware of him. I heard the big hits on the radio. My dad liked songs like Rebel, Rebel, and my mom owned at least the vinyl of David Live when she was a teenager, if I’m remembering that correctly. None of my friends were really into his music at the time either. Once I entered into college and became more aware of myself, I became more aware of who David Bowie was. Early on in college, I picked up The Best of Bowie followed by The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. I absolutely loved it. David Bowie was the queer icon I needed at the time. I would later meet a guy named Jake who was barely a month older than me, whom we shared a Bowie obsession that we were delving into roughly around the same time in our lives. We would hunt down the different Rykodisc releases of his albums that had the bonus tracks on them. Those were good times and memories I still cherish. I would go on to consume his entire discography, dozens and dozens of bootlegs of concerts, b-sides and outtakes covering everything from The Laughing Gnome, Vampires of the Human Flesh, the unused tracks from Outside and far far more, and to burn more than a few Bowie mixes for my college friends and acquaintances on CD. David Bowie also led me to watch the film adaptation of the novel The Man Who Fell To Earth, which remains one of my favorite sci-fi films. The film stars David Bowie as someone who may or may not be an alien, who admits to being attracted to both men and women, and features a gay couple as well. It was the first time I had seen a sci-fi film tackle queerness, certainly that early on. It reinvigorated my love of sci-fi at a time in which it had been my favorite genre growing, but was starting to slip away from me as I identified less and less with it. I was just beginning to come into my own, grappling with my sexual identity and the ramifications of that. David Bowie was someone who was openly queer in varying degrees throughout his life, while also being a popstar and cultural icon beloved by people in both the straight and queer communities. That was a kind of reassurance I needed, and I’m grateful that he provided that for me. And the fact that someone who clearly identified so heavily with alienation could be revered by so many through multiple generations is incredibly rare and almost entirely unique in modern music history. His vocals ranged from haunting to awe-inspiring. We would see a great many bands rise from their feelings of alienation, but David Bowie made it cool. And he paved the way for all that came after him. That’s not to say that others didn’t attempt to do what he did before him, or that others before him weren’t successful, but none have permeated through our culture into every medium of entertainment the way that David Bowie has as singular entity. From his music to his acting career, which admittedly was not as successful as he had hoped, he had inspired storytellers. Even in comics, you’ll see many references to his work scattered over the decades. Bowie had even been considered for a part in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and was even considered for the role of The Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman. Kate Beaton has done multiple David Bowie inspired comics like this one, as countless other artists have tackled him in comics as well, often playing up his sexuality. David Bowie’s sexuality wasn’t entirely clear. It didn’t have to be. Early in his career he had claimed he was gay, then moved into bisexuality. It should come as no surprise that as the world changed and entered into a more conservative time, championed by the likes of Thatcher and Reagan, that Bowie’s personas started to downplay his flamboyance for a time as he began to stay he was not really bisexual after all. He didn’t flat out deny his intimacy with men in the past, and did not reach beyond that to condemn those who were queer. Later on, his sexuality was simply ambiguous. How David Bowie handled his sexuality is important. He showed me, and I’m sure many others, that we don’t need to be a prisoner of our sexual preferences. Our sexualities can change, evolve, and become more complex as we age, just like everything else does in our lives. I went through my own journey of not thinking about sexuality early on in my life and defaulting as straight, then moving into bisexuality, then gay, and finally identifying most closely with the idea of being queer. People like David Bowie living in the public eye and going through his changes helped me understand myself in a way that few other people in the public eye have, and I’m thankful to have lived in a time where that was possible. I could go on about the impact he’s had on the world, but you probably all already know that, or have people who are more well versed in all of those things who have spent time with him and have the sort of insights that I’ll never have. Rather, I’d like to end this by saying thank you for entertaining me by reading my thoughts, reflections, and (mostly) coherent ramblings on a man that’s had a profound impact on my life, countless other lives, and perhaps your own life, and that I hope this may have given you some insight on me, people like me, and perhaps yourselves.