Author: Alex Schumacher

Declaration of (Creative) Independence

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Barbecues, fireworks, parades, picnics, family, and a metric shit ton of food. Yes, friends it’s that time of year again to celebrate the U S of A’s declaration of independence from the tyranny and persecution of an overbearing government. I would say the old adage, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is relevant here, but I digress. It’s the motherfucking fourth of July so let’s uncork a bottle or five, stock up on the chips and dips, grill some flesh, and make with the hooting and hollering. Amidst all of the nationalistic brouhaha I invite you to take a few moments to scour the decrepit and unkempt corners of the internet where my work lay in wait for the daring souls who care to discover its irreverent humor.

My weekly online graphic narrative Decades of (in)Experience continues to progress at break-neck speeds and is now entering its tenth month of publication. While the latest entries can be found on Antix Press’ website, the backlog of misadventures endured by the great American anti-hero Luke Carlin are available for your peepers on the newly revamped archival site: https://decadesofinexperience.com/. Do yourself a favor and whet your whistle for future installments by diving into the thirty-six bite-size morsels today! There may also be some exciting news coming very soon, including the possibility of a print collection, so make sure to stay in the know.

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As staff writer for Five 2 One Magazine I have now delivered fourteen hard-nosed articles for my tough-love advice column Bread Crumbs from the Void. While the writing tips contained therein are geared toward the novice or beginner I hope to appeal to all levels of writer with (what I believe) is a no-nonsense approach. There’s hyperbole and humor galore, but I do my utmost to weave those strands as part of a final product which may actually be of some assistance to those who are just deciding to enter the masochistic fucking world of rejection, er, I mean writing. You can find the archives at http://five2onemagazine.com/category/breadcrumbs-from-the-void/ and please feel free to comment or email me with your questions, complaints, or declarations of lust.

Five 2 One Magazine is also just psychotic enough to appoint me as Art Editor and allow me to cultivate a series of depraved and wonderfully insolent alternative cartoons and comics. I’ve dubbed this assemblage of crude cartoonists The Fucking Funnies and, as a contributor myself, have appeared online alongside the talents of Kelly Campanile and member of the original underground comix scene, David GeiserMy comic “Downtown Weed” following the adventures of a couple of Hipbag Douchsters was also featured in Five 2 One Magazine’s latest issue. Below is a sample from the first page, but you’ll just have to cough up a couple ducets and buy your own copy to read the rest…
Downtown Weed sample

The good folks over at Drunk Monkeys continually allow me to sully the pages of their monthly issues with none other than that delightful degenerate, Mr. Butterchips. With the release of their fourth issue, Drunk Monkeys published the third strip featuring the foul-mouthed, hard-living Capuchin. There are talks of a more frequent (i.e., bi-weekly) update schedule and I will be sure to announce it here if Mr. Butterchips does in fact make the shift. To get your hands on some kick-ass swag spotlighting the lovable little bastard, visit his online store! Comment under the strip on the Drunk Monkeys site if you purchase an item and I’ll send you a free signed sketch. What are you waiting for?

Butterchips flask

Paper and Ink Literary ‘zine out of the UK invited me to produce some artwork for the back cover of their latest issue #8 revolving around the theme of “first times”. A big thanks to the editor Martin Appleby for digging my ink stains enough to solicit the illustration! You can snag yourself a copy, and support a killer independent publication, by visiting the Paper and Ink Literary ‘zine shop here. Red Fez has also asked me to design some accompaniment for several humor pieces by underground legend  John Bennett. Editor-in-chief Doc Sigerson knows his shit and has been fantastic to work with so far. We are looking forward to unleashing these pieces and while I won’t divulge any spoilers, there will be more info about publication dates provided shortly. With any luck there will be news forthcoming regarding more short stories, flash fiction, and (Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) my first novel!

Now I believe I will be getting quite twisted in the name of our country. See you on the other side, kids!

Alternative to what?

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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.

Mr. Butterchips-color
Mr. Butterchips colored by the kick-ass Allan Ferguson

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.

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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!

Drumpf tease 3

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!

Spring is in the air… Which explains the nosebleeds

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It’s spring again, folks. That time of year which brings new life, gentle rains, and god-damn miserable allergies. My nose has been a geyser of green and yellow, and my melon has been stuffed with cotton. Lord knows I struggle enough with thinking as is so this is just a cruel trick of Mother Nature. What a bitch. Regardless, I have continued to chug along at a steady clip in my writing and cartooning efforts. I refuse to be bested by an unyielding case of the boogers!

My short story Rock the Cash Bar, originally published by Drunk Monkeys on October 5, 2015 has been included in their recently released ‘best of 2015’ anthology. 106 pages of “the best fiction and poetry featured over the past year in the online literary journal Drunk Monkeys. Featuring fiction from Bud Smith and Gessy Alvarez and poetry from Kevin Ridgeway, Frankie Met, William Lessard. Plus essays on Star Wars, illustrations, the Donald Trump campaign speech generator, and much more!”* Grab yourself a copy here.

Speaking of Drunk Monkeys lit mag, I was recently commissioned by their Editor-in-chief (and all around snazzy dude) Matthew Guerruckey to produce some cartoon illustrations for their Star Wars retrospective. To be released in May, the retrospective will include essays, commentary, and poetry relating to that galaxy far, far away we all know and love. My work featuring intoxicated and stoned simians will adorn the cover and serve as dividers to the various sections relating to the original trilogy, prequels, and sequels. Here’s a taste of the cover, colored by Allan Ferguson.

DM-SW color-tease

In graphic novel news, The Guitarist is gearing up for it’s Kickstarter campaign to be launched by our publisher, Under Belly Comics, in late April/early May.  The pages are coming along and I can’t wait to share all of the psychedelic, drug-fueled, bat-shit craziness that this book has in store for all of you! It’s going to be one kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll ride to be sure.

Decades of (in)Experience will be hitting the six month mark in April! Every Friday for the past six months I have somehow managed to find new ways to fuck with our main man Luke Carlin and hopefully provide you with a chuckle or two along the way. Decades’ online champion Antix Press and I have been hard at work to bring you a collected print edition of the comic/illustrated narrative’s run thus far by trying to find a publisher/distributor for the title. We will be braving some upcoming meetings, including the possibility of a safari to the wilds of San Diego Comic Con, putting our lives in peril all in the name of pleasing our audience with dirty entertainment. Look here for future news and updates and a HUGE god-damn thank you to all who have been reading and/or helping to promote Decades of (in)Experience!

My tough love writing column for Five 2 One Magazine, Bread Crumbs form the Void will be releasing it’s eighth column full of hard-nosed advice this Wednesday March 30th. 2016. There is some other cool shit in the works with Five 2 One Magazine, and it may be that the column shifts to a bi-weekly schedule in the near future. I’m not at liberty to divulge too much info at this juncture, but suffice to say if all goes according to plan you will see some cartoon-based content both on their website and in their print issues in the very near future. Keep your fingers, eyes, tits, balls, and whatever crossed. I could use the good vibes…

While we are on the subject of new cartoons published by Five 2 One Magazine, their resident literary outlaw/Editor-in-chief Nathan Schwartz and I felt it fitting to unleash what we are calling an Easter Fucking Funny on the world this Easter day. So, enjoy the doodle and have a merry bunny-who-shits-eggs day!

Easter Funnies

This week I am the guest on the killer comics podcast, Comic Exposure! I chat with them all about current and upcoming projects. If you’d like to hear me prattle on about writing and drawing you can find the interview on their website. Adios until next time…

Updates and other nonsense

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The first two months of the year have already flashed by. The battle royal for the presidential nomination continues to be a traveling circus of buffoonery. Another shooting occurred on the East side. My bank account is dwindling and my blood pressure is rising. If I were an optimistic sort I would reckon the year could only vastly improve from here. If I were an optimistic sort I doubt my inconsequential ramblings would be as entertaining for those of you out there taking a break from the free porn or cat videos on Youtube. While I may not occupy the most self-affirming corner of this here internet, I like to believe I offer a little something more than the skewed factoids and memes that go viral. That little something is some god-damn honesty. The world sucks. People suck. You either learn to carve out a meager life worth living or just say fuck it and learn to tie a noose. Hopefully you opt for the meager life. Not because I give a shit, but because I have so few readers as it is and I appreciate you wasting some time on my words.

Speaking of which, a number of new pieces were rescued from the wild recently. Unfortunately they can’t be tamed, but they will sit still long enough for you to feast your eyes upon them.

  • On February 16, Dead Snakes brought two of my poems to the masses. Landmines and A Walk Through Old-Town were chosen to be featured, and I thank this kick ass poetry site for allowing me some shelf space. Both poems touch on the despondency and uncertainty we face as we waltz through this crazy life. Unfortunately there’s no road map to success and some of us find ourselves making wrong turns here and there. These two pieces tell it like it is. Nothing more and nothing less.
  • A short story of mine entitled Steer into the Sunset was published by Cultured Vultures on February 19, bringing a raw piece of my soul and background to those who are interested. Coming from a broken home is never easy. Having an outlet to work through some of the long-term ramifications keeps me from putting my head through the plate glass. I sweat blood for everything that I write, and this short story is no exception.
  • On March 1st The Corvus Review released its Winter issue, and with it my story about trippin’ balls A Response to MushroomsIf there is any advice I can pass on to the younger generation it would be this: hash and acid do NOT mix. Download issue 4W’16 (for free!) and educate yourself on the effects of such a potent combination on page 91. Party on and make sure you ingest one mind-altering chemical at a time. Trust someone who can tell you a thing or two about a bad trip…
  • Bread Crumbs from the Void, my weekly tough love article for Five 2 One Magazine just wrapped up its first month. So far I’ve covered the grueling practice of submitting your work for publication, the reprehensible act of schmoozing and networking, how to survive the wilds of rejection, and evaluating the quality of your own work. To be clear, this is NOT an instructional column. I will never profess the secrets and mysteries of writing can be distilled into a curriculum. You can learn form and function, but I believe the best work throws that shit out the window. There are a ton of topics yet to be covered. See what I’m venting about every Wednesday on the Five 2 One site!

Decades of (in)Experience is already over four months deep! Considering the illustrated serialized flash fiction weekly (for lack of an existing term) began as an experiment with my publisher Antix Press, we could not be more fucking proud of the progress. The feature, as well as its anti-hero Luke, will continually evolve, distort, and defy expectations. There may be some rather exciting things in store for Decades of (in)Experience, including the possibility of a print collection. If I may so humbly request, be sure to tell everyone—scumbag friends, prison pen-pals, grandmother’s depends-changers—about the feature. Without y’all we’re just a couple of curmudgeons telling each other dirty jokes.

Thanks for hanging. Now throw a few back for hump day! I know I’m going to. Later, skaters.

That’s Amore! Maybe it’s indigestion…

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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!

Bread Crumbs

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.

Open wide 2016, here we come.

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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!

Poetry shit

End of October update

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No, your eyes do not deceive you, this is actually a second post inside of a month! There have been a number of developments recently and instead of expecting the countless attention-deficit web-surfers to hang on my every depraved word via social media (the links are to the right if you’ve got the stomach),  I thought I’d give a rundown of what’s come so far in one convenient location.

Don’t say I never gave you anything, ingrates.

  • On Monday, October 5th, Drunk Monkeys published my short story Rock the Cash Bar. It’s the uplifting tale of a groomsman participating in his sister’s wedding whilst fed up with the very notion of love, scoffing and sulking his way through the ordeal. If that sounds like a hoot of a read to you, preview an excerpt here and then hop on over to Drunk Monkeys to take it all in.
  • October 21st saw the release of the new issue of The Round Up Writer’s ‘Zine featuring another short story of mine entitled Loathe and an Elevator. In this yarn, our narrator recalls the end of a particularly tumultuous relationship culminating in the titular emotion and man-made structure. The editor called it “a hilarious piece full of snarky commentary”. Get yourself a taste here, and then run, do not walk god-damn it, run to The Round Up Writer’s ‘Zine and download the current issue.
  • Then, coming this Friday, October 30th, to an internet-capable device near you will be my new weekly feature Decades of (in)Experience! I’ve partnered with online publisher Antix Press to bring you the saga of Luke Carlin, a thirty-something victim of his generation and prisoner of the millennial zeitgeist.  You’ll be able to follow his misadventures every Friday, drinking and ranting along with a fella who, like many of us, lives paycheck-to-paycheck and never received the instruction manual to life.

Antix tease

I’ll catch up with you in a few weeks with a fistful of announcements about upcoming projects and published pieces, including poetry to be included in the November issue of Yellow Chair Review. Until then, I bid you a feigned farewell and wish you a happy (and hopefully inebriated) Halloween! Spirits indeed…