My Brother, My Brother and Me: Road Trip Mysteries

[Happy Friday the 13th. I was trying to think about something spooky to cover today, but I wrote about Requiem yesterday which was spooky enough. This is tangential to the spooky supernatural but a little fun and funny too.]

MBMBAM Road Trip Mysteries is a fan-created comic about the three McElroy brothers of the My Brother, My Brother and Me podcast. As the site itself says, it started as a goof on the MBMBAM Appreciation Group (which I personally recommend for fans on Facebook) but the project grew and became something bigger. Twenty-Serpentine (or 20🐍 as most of us referred to it) was the MBMBAM motto for 2017. It was about doing something new, or different than usual. The creators took that to heart when creating MBMBAM Road Trip Mysteries.

The comic, written by Tim Hely & illustrated by Kayla Mitchell with a cover from Chris House, is free on the website roadtrip.axolstudio.com. Although there is a Patreon for Axol Studio, if you’d like to support them further. At the moment there’s just one issue of 24 pages, but I really hope they make more.

In Road Trip Mysteries, we see a comic version of brothers Justin, Griffin & Travis on a cross-country road trip in their own version of the Mysteries Machine, The MBMBAM Van. Griffin spots a theme park called Six Pennants out the window and demands they stop for a visit. Those good, good boys spend all day in the park and then settle in for a tiny break to rest when a mysterious sound gets their attention.

From there, we see the three brothers making their way through the park again, but this time after dark and with a mystery afoot. This story plays on goofs from the podcast, but I don’t think it’s necessary to have listened to the podcast to enjoy what the comic is doing. I think it’s pretty adorable and I also find great appreciation in things that are created out of love spawned by a podcast.

As I mentioned in my post the other day about the MaxFun drive, I get a lot of enjoyment out of the McElroy brothers bevy of work, specifically podcasts like MBMBAM and The Adventure Zone. And it’s awesome to see how their works inspire others in unexpected ways.

Comic: Fangirl by Tom Stillwell

My house has a bad Kickstarter habit that sort of have under control. Although sometimes we still go a little crazy on smaller projects, especially from repeat creators. This isn’t that, this is a graphic novel I backed a WHILE ago. I’m not even sure how long ago, but I received all the fun stuff in the mail a few weeks ago and finally finished reading the comic this week.

I’m bad about keeping up on comics, both physical and digital versions. These days I tend to prefer a graphic novel (in either physical or digital variety) because I like having a lot of story in my hands. And as much as I like superheroes, I’m not much for following the never-ending parade of storylines with recons and new beginnings and all the sort of things that come with it. I know some people do, but I prefer a nice tight story arc that’s more reminiscent of novellas than a television series.
Fangirl written by Tom Stillwell [Pencils & Ink by Jessica Lynn, Colors by Zac Atkinson, Letters by Crank!] is just that. Fangirl is the story of a young woman who has a close group of friends from an online game that is finally meeting in person at a big fan convention. When two of them witness a murder you see them using the convention to their advantage to escape the murderer.
One of the great things about the story in Fangirl is that this group of online friends come together and there’s not much awkwardness about being new to each other. They pick up conversations they were having online, they reference the game they play together and the other media they like just as you’d expect friends to do. It evident of the progression people have made since the early days of online gaming where you might not know what someone looked like, or what their real name was…
They’re just friends. And they’re doing their best to get through the weekend. 
As someone that’s met friends through video games and online fan communities, of course I resonated with the group that meets up in this story. But I also just really appreciated the portrayal of enthusiastic fandom culture in a positive way. There’s maybe a few holes in the plot but given that this isn’t a novel, it’s a graphic novel, I’m not mad about it. I think it’s worth the read if you’ve got a few minutes — the art is cute and there’s plenty of fun stuff to enjoy in the convention backgrounds.
If you’d like to check it out you can find the digital version on comixology here

Fables, Wednesday Club and the Five Minute One-Shot

The Wednesday Club is Geek & Sundry’s comic book show on Alpha, hosted by Queen of Comic Knowledge Amy Dallen, Goth Dad Taliesin Jaffe & Dr. Strange mega-fan Matt Key. Each week (on Wednesday) they meet for about two hours to talk about some comic book related topic. I’m not enough of a comic fan that this was an immediate watch for me, despite my love for Amy’s old G&S Vlog series about comics. However, last night’s topic was the epic Bill Willingham series, Fables.

Fables is a series I’ve loved for years. I started collecting the deluxe hardbacks when they came out because I love getting all the extra art and behind the scenes bits in them. So for the first time last night I tuned in to catch a live episode of The Wednesday Club in order to listen to their talk on Fables. I really, really enjoyed the chat although I knew going in that there was so little they could talk about without giving things away. And the three of them did a really good job keeping things spoiler-free and still communicating a lot about the series.

Part of the amazing work of Fables is it’s ability to surprise you constantly with the characters, even when you’ve seen them before. Which was something talked about a few times, in addition to the fun topic Taliesin brought up about the stories of Fables being public domain. They briefly delve into Once Upon a Time and what it meant for Fables fans when that show got picked up. Amy has a really great idea for the opening sequence for a Fables tv show, which I LOVED.

At the end of the show, they take a topic question from chat and spend five minutes in discussion on that specific question. Those segments are related to the show’s topic, but then are also fielded to YouTube so if you don’t have Alpha, or watch on Twitch, you can check those out.

If you’re a comics fan — or if you want to get into comics, I highly recommend The Wednesday Club. It’s just a casual chat about comics between friends (and sometimes with guests). It’s a good time. 
[Ps. I really love that they do a letters column at the start of the show. The one in last night’s episode from a fan that had been encouraged by the show to try and get through their bad brain days and maybe make some new friends was incredibly sweet.]

YouTube: Cracked’s After Hours with a side of Rubi Whipple

I woke up this morning and for some reason was really, really missing a comedy pop culture video series that sadly ended pretty abruptly last December. Until recently, the Cracked website also had an active YouTube channel where every month for the last few years (since around 2011) they’ve produced a series called, After Hours.

After several active years on YouTube the staff and producers for the Cracked website were fired, effectively ending the run of all their YouTube series in order to focus more fully on the website. Now I don’t know what must’ve gone on behind closed doors over at Cracked, but I think cutting all their YouTube shows was a pretty fucking stupid idea. But, I’m probably biased.

What I can say is that I really miss their brand of humor, their political statements and the stabs they took at analyzing and making light of pop culture. Specifically, After Hours.

The After Hours series showed four friends sitting around a diner table debating pop culture questions. Like crazy internet theories about The Simpsons, or which movie about ghosts was the best for the ghosts. Or, which movie has the best version of Hell. These weren’t always funny but they were always insanely well researched and well argued.

This morning when I was getting ready for work, I realized how much I really missed that series and that group of characters (and writers). Daniel O’Brien, Soren Bowie, Michael Swaim and Katie Willert all portrayed these friends and pop culture fanatics with a great deal of charm. After Hours was a great series and it’s really only one of the many series Cracked produced on YouTube that were charming, interesting and memorable.

Anyway. I thought since I was missing it and rewatching some old favorites, I’d share them with you and hope that if you never watched one before you give it a try now. [Also, I don’t necessarily want to advocate for a company that literally fired all the video staff I loved, soooooooooooooo idk, watch with adblock on. Or don’t, because that would be WRONG? Who am I to say.]
PS. And let me do a little legwork for fannish people. If you like like After Hours, you might find yourself here someday.
If you start with the video below it goes right into the playlist.
Also, if you’e got a minute, go give Starline Hodge some love. She often wrote for the show and did background acting as the waitress, which were always great bits. She created a great web comic called Rubi Whipple that more people should read.