Author: Alex Schumacher
Holy shit! September is here already, my beautiful degenerates. The tank tops and genital-revealing short shorts will fade as the pumpkin spice lattes and holiday decorations begin to invade store shelves everywhere. 2016 has been a whirlwind to be certain and for the first time in a long time I’m actually (cautiously) optimistic about some future developments. Don’t get me wrong, I still find myself constantly needing to douse the nagging goblins of self-doubt and insecurity with chemically-altering substances. One of the many lessons I have learned whilst travelling the unpaved road of a career in the creative arts is to avoid celebratory reveling until there is actually something to celebrate. While larger successes remain just out of reach for the time being, here are some recent little victories from the insanity of the past month.
August started off with a raw, emotional response to the mass shooting that occurred at the Orlando nightclub Pulse on June 12, 2016 as well as the senseless violence plaguing the world in these uncertain times. Drunk Monkeys‘ August issue featured poems, essays, and short stories highlighting the frustration, vexation, confusion, and sorrow which accompany such devastating incidents. My contribution was a one-page graphic narrative entitled Waiting For the Day.
The month was bookended with a couple other comic entries, the first of which was another installment of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine. This go-round was a satirical look at the technology my generation found innovative and mind-blowing, though has quickly become obsolete in this perpetually moving digital age of ours. Loosen those damn purse strings and help support an indie rag by purchasing the full issue here.
To cap off the month, the fantastic Literary Orphans published my short story Extinction on their featured blog Tavern Lantern. Below is the first of a three page story, and you can read the rest by visiting http://literaryorphans.org/ttl/extinction-by-alex-schumacher/.
Providing the meat for this graphic narrative/literary sandwich were thick slices of my writing column Bread Crumbs from the Void for Five 2 One Magazine and the continued weekly misadventures of Luke Carlin in Decades of (in)Experience published by Antix Press. It’s astounding to realize that next month Decades of (in)Experience will have been running for an entire year! On the one hand the weekly deadline has forced me to park my ass in the chair and be productive,while on the other there are plenty of those weeks I narrowly hit deadline by the skin of my chompers. There are several exciting prospects for the illustrated feature percolating as I type this and hopefully I will be able to share more of said news in the upcoming months. In the meantime if you need some good reading material to while away your time on the shitter, catch up on all past episodes on the archive of apathy at https://decadesofinexperience.com/.
More announcements to come soon including updates on my new graphic novel. Currently I am in the production stage of putting together a sub package for my agent to hock in an attempt to find the book a suitable home. Until then, let your freak flags fly this Labor Day weekend and as always, thank you for reading. Bottoms up, kiddos!
I’ve always held some contempt for the moniker “alternative comics”. Mind you, some of the comics which fall under that specific distinction are among my favorites. Titles such as Peepshow, Milk & Cheese, or American Splendor turned me on to an entire new world of comics and introduced me to the sprawling world of the underground from the 60’s and 70’s. I simply detest the idea that these comics, writers, and cartoonists are considered an afterthought to the mainstream which continually perpetuates the bullshit idea that comics are just for kids and only about superheroes. As though showing two people fucking is any worse than the hypersexualization of the majority of female (and sometimes male) characters who adorn the pages of books published by the “big 2”. Some of us are just more honest about that shit.
Alright, end of rant. As I step down from my soapbox, here are some projects of mine which won’t be picked up by Disney (oh, excuse me… Marvel) or Time Warner (sorry again… I mean DC) any time soon.
Debuting Monday from the cool cats over at Drunk Monkeys is my new monthly series Mr. Butterchips.
The strip will follow the daily exploits of the titular (and cuddly) curmudgeon as he rails against the madness and mundanity of everyday life. He’s a weathered and jaded organ grinder monkey in the pursuit of love and happiness amidst a cultural landscape divided by the disappearing middle class, increasing violence, decreasing education, and the condemnatory pricks who look unfavorably on his love for human women. It sounds heavy, but trust me when I say it will be funny as hell too. You may even be surprised at how much you relate to the little asshole. Drunk Monkeys invites you to get to know this fella starting next week (and possibly drop a few shekels on some killer merchandise to support us in our efforts).
Decades of (in)Experience, published by Antix Press recently passed the six month mark! While I am aware this may sound like a relatively short period of time, when producing a weekly feature in addition to a full-time day job, several other projects, and a propensity for procrastination, this is quite the feat. Luke Carlin has been an interesting, if not cathartic, character to explore and my editor Francis Lombard has been nothing short of a wet dream. From the word “go” he has not only allowed my sordid tales to sully his site, but has been enthusiastic and genuinely excited to assist in spreading Decades of (in)Experience like the dark-humored STD that it is. I have just now begun to dig into the meat of who Luke Carlin is as a person, and there is much more to come including the possibility of a print collection. So be sure to catch new entries in the Decades of (in)Experience series every Friday on the Antix Press website and catch up on everything you’ve missed on the archive site here.
Last week also saw the commencement of The Fucking Funnies for Five 2 One Magazine, beginning with a satirical ode to the douche-baggery of Donald Trump. With this comic, Donald Drumpf in: The Big D, we have thrown down the gauntlet and hope to enlist many other cartoonists and writers for this new digital underground movement. As the newly appointed Art Director handling the curation of The Fucking Funnies, I am seeking contributions of gag panels, comic strips, one to two page comics, and art which will be included in print editions and online. Specifically we are looking for the odd, the dark, and/or the absurd. Comics and cartoons that have profanity, violence, sexuality, etc. are welcome though we are not interested in shock value just for the sake of being shocking or offensive. That said, bring us your brazen works full of satire, sarcasm, surrealism, and searing commentary. If you think you’ve got what we’re looking for submit here: http://five2onemagazine.com/submission-guideline/.
May 16th will see the publication of another comic of mine in The Fucking Funnies series, Downtown Weed in Five 2 One Magazine’s 12th issue along with another cartoonist or two who has already joined in the uprising. Don’t be shy kids. I’ve shown you mine, now it’s time to show me yours. Be sure to read Donald Drumpf in: The Big D!
My writing pal, and ballsy author, Craig Hart was also kind enough to recently invite me on his podcast for a whiskey-fueled interview. We talked raw for a good half hour about the writing process, some of my projects, and our collective loathe of the literati. Have a listen by clicking here!
Thanks for hanging in there with me. You can now return to your weekend drinking!
Another year older, another year surprised I made it this far. Pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless.
2016 is upon us and it has proven to be nothing but eventful thus far, aside from El Niño which was disappointingly underwhelming. The holidays through the beginning of the year was little more than a blur, balancing time between dysfunctional families and the suffocating deadlines of writing/comics projects. It also may have had something to do with the liberal alcohol intake. Now as the last echoes of sleigh bells and good cheer finally dissipates, and we enter the month commonly associated with schmaltzy love, I find myself in the midst of new opportunities and freshly squeezed work.
- The Hobo Camp Review, a gathering place for road-weary storytellers, featured my poem Ballad of an Echo Boomer in their Winter/Western themed issue released on January 17th, 2016. Unless you’re part of the one percent, you’ve often wondered why your life didn’t end up quite how you planned. My poem distills those forlorn sentiments into twenty-eight lines coated in gravel and broken glass.
- On March 1st The Corvus Review will release its Winter issue, and with it my psychedelic short story A Response to Mushrooms. While this particular anecdote about tripping balls may or may not be based on a actual events, I can report that the sensation of your internal organs shutting down individually is unequivocally the least enjoyable experience while under the influence. That is, from what I’ve been told. By a friend. A friend who was definitely not me.
- I’m also pleased to announce I’ve been tapped by the freak-tastic Five 2 One Magazine to be one of their new staff writers alongside Charles Joseph and Damian Rucci! My column Bread Crumbs from the Void will appear on Wednesdays, exploring the masochistic practices of writing, submitting, and whatever the fuck else I feel like ranting about. Sounds like a hoot, right kids? Be sure to check it out starting February 10th, 2016 only on Five 2 One Magazine!
The Decades of (in)Experience crazy train continues to barrel down the line, gaining momentum and (hopefully) readership. With the feature’s biting take on the fledgling lives of tail-end Gen X-ers, what’s not to love? If it’s the weekly feature you love to hate, even better! Either way, help my publisher Antix Press spread the word about the internet’s best kept dirty little secret. Tell your friends how much you dig it on Facebook. Tell your tree-hugging group all about your contempt for the main character Luke Carlin (or me) on Twitter. Whether you’re stirring up genuine interest or spiteful controversy you’ll have my eternal gratitude.
Be sure to poke around the site a bit as I’ve updated a few of the pages as well as added one for my work in comics. Until next time folks, remember that Valentines Day was invented by candy companies and based on the legend of a Roman Saint who was beheaded due to religious persecution. So, if you have someone in your life who actually tolerates your shit, let them know how much you appreciate them all year round.
Smell ya later.
2015 was kind of a fucked up year in the world, and I for one am looking forward to bidding it good riddance. That said, there’s been a handful of not-so-terrible moments along the way as well. A number of said moments happened to involve my writing. While it will never save the world, my scribbling has certainly saved me from ruin a time or two. This year saw a few of my pieces published (with more to come next year), a draft of my first novel completed, and the debut of my weekly feature Decades of (in)Experience. To say the least, it’s been entertaining to see my words set loose upon the world for anyone who cares to read and enjoy them. Reactions of scorn and derision are welcome too. I always enjoy a good fire-fight.
Some of you may have already discovered my work. Some of you may not have. In what will probably be my last post of the year, I’ve decided to update those who care about such things on the stories, poems, and other published oddities which are or will be available for your peepers.
- On November 15, Yellow Chair Review included my poem, Random Texts to the One You Love in issue number 5 of their online magazine. Go here to view the issue. You can find my poem on pg. 50.
- The Hobo Camp Review, a gathering place for road-weary storytellers, will feature my poem Ballad of an Echo Boomer in their Winter/Western themed issue set to be live on January 5, 2016. There’s no warmer feeling than being welcomed by a group of digital vagrants interested in narratives that sound great read aloud beneath a railroad bridge at night. Proud to be a part of the camp.
- As we slide right into next year aided by copious amounts of temporal lube, my short story A Response to Mushrooms will also see the light of day thanks to Corvus Review. February 2, 2016 will see the unveiling of their Winter issue and, along with it, my story highlighting a wild ride while under the influence of a very specific type of psychedelic.
For previously published stories and poems, feel free to take a gander at the update from October 28th of this year, or visit the published words section of my site. Last, and possibly least, be sure to keep up with everyone’s favorite thirty-something curmudgeon in Decades of (in)Experience, appearing every Friday only on the Antix Press site. If you dig the salty flavor I humbly ask only that you help us spread the word.
More rants and ramblings guaranteed in the new year, kiddos. Until that time keep smiling, keep shining knowing you can always count on booze. Have a happy whatever-the-hell you celebrate, and I’ll see y’all on the other side in 2016!