Tagged: Kathy Fishman

Marc Alan Fishman On Villains – Super, Real, or Other


kathy-fishmanThis past Sunday my wife screamed for me from our upstairs bathroom. I found her on the floor, convulsing in agony, attempting to decide which tile looked the most comfortable to lay on. Minutes later, our boys were packed up and whisked to our sitter. My wife and I rocketed towards the emergency room. Some pain meds, some x-rays, and plenty of doctors’ questions later, Kathy was diagnosed with cholecystitis. Surely this was the work of Red Skull, Circe, or possibly King Shark. Or, you know, the ravages of having a baby six months ago who was all up in that tummy pushing and prodding on various organs.

Over the next three days my wife and I sat around a hospital room perusing daytime television. Amidst paternity tests, minor civil cases revolving around shoddy craftsmanship, and Jeopardy, my mind wandered towards villainy.

For Kathy, her own body was the ne’er-do-well. What she’d largely chalked up to multiple bouts of unlucky food poisoning turned out to be her gallbladder — that nefarious cur — carpet bombing her colon with rocky misiles of doom.

For the denizens of daytime TV, villainy was found in deadbeat dads, crooked landlords, and “I’ll take Potent Potables for $1000, Alex.” Elsewhere in the real world, villainy is found in the acts of terror around the globe. Villainy is found in the unfair treatment of citizens by equally scared and confused police. Villainy is even found in a fluorescent orange bully of women, somehow competing for the most important job in our country like many reality stars who used their heelish tendencies to land themselves in the final spots on their respective TV shows. Apropos, no?

The politicians? Scary, yes. Villains? In real life, not even close. The blowhards, dirt bags, and the writers on Jeopardy? Mean, sure. Villains? Nope. Hell… even my wife’s gallbladder? It was acting out in self-defense.

Funny thing, our bodies. Mine under-produces insulin, and over-produces uric acid. But it’s never purposefully held me hostage or demanded the secrets of the jade monkey.

So often in our fiction, we take these minor malcontents and extrapolate their worst tendencies to create true villains. What separates the fiction from fact typically is the glut of nuance that shades our world from the graphical black and white on the page (or screen, what-have-you). Since the dawn of our narrative prowess, humankind has often simplified the world to make better sense of it. Think back to the rudimentary recitations of history taught to you in grade school. England was mean, the pilgrims sailed across the sea, befriended the native Americans, and poof! America. Never mind the fact that there were political issues, religious issues, and plenty of interpersonal conflict. But it’s hellasimple to call the King of England a villain and then start a revolution.

I believe that villainy exists, but villains do not. There are those amongst us who prey on the weak, who rape, steal, lie, murder, or act only on selfish impulse. But it’s too simply a concept to label someone as solely a villain. It’s too easy a label. Too easy to cast final judgment.

“A man that believes that we should take an eye for an eye… eventually leaves the whole world blind.”

So, retreat then to the pulp paper for your super-villains. The maniacs and eaters of worlds. The corrupt and lost souls who ravage without remorse. Who toy with their fellow man to play a larger game against their arch nemesis. But know that in the real world… nothing is ever that simple. For you see, my wife’s gallbladder is now long gone from her body. But that’s not to say her appendix isn’t scheming against her, while you read this very sentence.

Villains, indeed.

(Editor’s Note: our dear friend Kathy Fishman, we’re happy to say, is back home and recovering nicely, surrounded by two small boys and a confused but doting larger boy who produces comic books.)

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.

Marc Alan Fishman: Waiting…

Bennett FishmanMarc’s not here.

As of about 9:45 CST, Kathy Fishman was waiting on the birth of her second child, and Bennett was waiting on the arrival of his first sibling (photo, left). And Marc is wondering if they still make chocolate cigars. I sure hope so. As for the geriatric boy editor, I’m wondering how Marc timed this out nine months ago just so he could skip this week’s column.

We’ll keep you advised as to Fishman-4 arrival. I believe he’s already got a panel set up at C2E2 in a couple weeks. The name of the panel is “My daddy does WHAT?”