Bubblegum, Bubblegum, Toil and Troublegum

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2UPDATE: THIS WEEK! NEXT WEEK! THEN THEY’RE GONE GONE GONE!!!

For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 

HEY HEY HEY, did I mention that I have a Patreon? I do.

I went back and forth on whether or not to do this comic about a dozen times. One of my main goals when rebooting HijiNKS ENSUE was to have the comics NOT be so inside my own head, NOT so insistent that you be on the same page with me on every TV show, movie, Internet thing, etc. that the average HE reader couldn’t relate to the subject matter. Still, the more and more I thought about NOT doing this comic, the more it kept creeping in my brain because this is very close to an actual conversation that my daughter and I had and I really wanted to share it.

I’ll get more into it in the next comic’s blog post, but my kid has “cuteness blinders” for all things insidious and evil. For those of you that don’t watch Adventure Time, Peppermint Butler is… wait for it… a peppermint who is also a butler, specifically butling for the ruler of the Candy Kingdom, Princess Bubblegum. At least, that’s his day job. In recent seasons they’ve shown that Peppermint Butler is also an upside down bloody pentagram on the wall type sorcerer. I mentioned this to Kiddo at some point as in, “But of course we all know he’s actually evil,” and she was all, “WHA-HUUUUUUUUHHH?!” She demanded evidence, and I pointed out that in the episode we had just watched he was torturing another candy fellow in his cave, while reciting dark incantations to summon and bind a demon in order to force it to do his mellifluous bidding. To which she replied, “Well… yeah… but… HE’S MADE OF CANDY!” Cuteness blinders, man. I’m telling you.

COMMENTERS: Have your kids (or did YOU as a kid) ever completely missed the true intended nature of a character because of their cuteness? What about the lack there of? Anything that was supposed to be cute and cuddly that totally freaked a kid out?

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  1. To which she replied, “Well… yeah… but… HE’S MADE OF CANDY!”

    Dude, you need to have the conversation about strangers who'll show up with either candy or a story about missing puppies before she's stuck with horrible memories of a window-less van for the rest of her life.

    • There are lines and you’ve just crossed them. This is an inappropriate comment to make about my actual human 7 year old daughter.

      • @ hijinksensue

        Oh screw you ya hyper-sensitive blowhard. You involve a fictionalized version of your IRL daughter in your art, you lose the right for people to make jokes about her.

        Either everything is okay to make fun of or nothing is.

          • I'm reminded of that doodle you made the other day, that said, "Who are you, and where is the real internet?"

            There it is. Oh well.

        • "Either everything is okay to make fun of or nothing is." is the battle cry, of and defense plea of every immature, insensitive ass that just took things too far but is too stubborn and shallow to admit it.

          While there is truth to the idea of needing to be able to laugh at all things. The VERY important thing that people like this are forgetting is that there is still such a things as a right way and a wrong way to do that, and a right place/time & wrong place/time to do that.
          The idea of "everything" being potentially fair game for humor is NOT an excuse to be an asshole! If you want the right to use "anything" in humor, then you need to have the basic intelligence and maturity to know HOW to do that and still be a remotely decent human being at the same time.

          I REALLY hate this new popular trend in some circles to just deliberately be as shitty/horrible/repulsive as possible, then think that somehow makes you clever/funny/edgy and then act like anyone who disproves is the one who has a problem.

          I can enjoy dark humor, immature humor, even crude humor too. But the key there is that it actually has to BE HUMOR , not just someone being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole.

          • He was likely quoting something I said in a blog post on this website, i.e. trying to use my own words against me. Though he seems to have missed the point in terms of context. I was talking about a celebrity who died while attempting auto-erotic asphyxiation and said, "I stand by my “everything is funny or nothing is” philosophy. If we can’t laugh at death, death wins."

            What I meant by this is, "No TOPIC should be completely off limits from humor when trying to better explain or understand the human condition." I'm talking generalizations. The TOPIC of 9/11 should be open to being included in humor. Humor can heal. Making fun of someone who lost a family member to a terrorist attack? Now you're just an asshole. Racism is another one. We SHOULD make fun of racists. We should turn their hateful and hurtful words and actions on their ends to accentuate how absurd they are. Using the N word just to get a reaction, however, makes you an asshole.

            The other point "Seriously" seemed to be missing is, leaving every topic open for humor doesn't in any way protect you from the consequences of the jokes you make. I stand by the idea that everything SHOULD be allowed to be made fun of. I will append my original statement by adding, "As long as you are willing to deal with the consequences of your words and your actions." Also, know your fucking audience. Jesus. Do I seem like the kind of person who would find those sorts of comments about my kid funny? What an asshole.

            • For the record, I completely agree with "serious." Do I get banned too? You have a web comic, which by definition is posted on the interweb, which you have mentioned more countlessly is a horrible, twisted place. He made a joke that really was directed towards a fictional character, considering he's never met your IRL daughter, and you took grave offense to it. Considering that the joke he made was actually pretty insightful, I think maybe you could've responded with a little less shock. Instead, you've just decided to completely reframe rhetoric that you've long-past established as a pillar of internet community, so that it conveniently suited your needs at the time.

              • "Serious" proposed the idea that my daughter would be lured into a van by a rapist, and all that that would entail. You must not be a parent. If you are, I feel sorry for your children.

                And, for the record, when I calmly and politely made Serious aware of the offense, he decided rather than apologize to double down on being a shithead. First and foremost, this is my place. This is my home on the internet. I decide what flies and what doesn't. I set the standard for what is acceptable behavior. If you can't abide by my standards of treating people with decency and generally not being an asshole to me or the other commenters, then you aren't welcome in my home.

  2. First thing that came to mind:

    King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
    Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
    King Arthur: You silly sod!
    Tim: What?
    King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
    Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
    King Arthur: Ohh.
    Tim: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

  3. My kid (almost six) loves Adventure Time but there are some episodes I absolutely won't let him watch because he's not old enough for them (yet). I'm glad the show has seemingly veered away from some of the darker/grittier stuff (and Princess Bubblegum is taking moral stock of herself, apparently!) for his sake, although it's GREAT to see a kid's show that's so nuanced and able to nimbly slip between goofy nonsense and poignant heart break and grim stuff.

    Kiddo's also a big fan of Darth Vader, but he cutely explains it as "He's a bad guy… but he turns good at the end! So he's REALLY a good guy."

  4. My "Holy shit!" moment with Adventure Time was the episode where Finn got…feelings…watching Flame Princess fighting Ice King and later had a dream where (brace yourself if you haven't seen it) he was between them and they kept blasting him in the crotch with fire and ice! And then he decided to set up more fights between FP and IK so he could feel that way again!
    And then there was the episode where the Ice King hired a hitman to go after Finn and Jake, not realizing that a "hit man" is a hired killer (he thought the guy would just, y'know, hit them really hard).
    Or, on a less extreme note, "Lemonhope," where everybody keeps telling Lemonhope that he's The One to overthrow Lemongrab and save them all, and he just says he's not interested AND NEVER CHANGES HIS MIND.

  5. I have a mate who is still terrified of the Gremlins movie.

    Not the actual Gremlins, he's ok with them, it's the cute and fluffy Mogwai that give him nightmares.

  6. I think the default for "getting crap under the radar" is Animaniacs for the "cuteness-fueled deception"", wondering in my then-innocent child brain why it made my parents take pause or cough to cover up a laugh. The only other things I can think of in that category are just passive references: Johnny Five in the first Short Circuit commenting on Stephanie's "software", because adorable robots can do no wrong, or Egon in Ghostbusters II saying science chicks dig his epididymis, which I had no idea meant "scientifically accurate dangly-bits"— Not really evil, per se, but they built up a repertoire to mask the references that came out of left field, enough so to keep me on my toes as an adult.

    And I know that Adventure Time hides the evil behind an adorable caramelized shell, but I think the old Crest cartoon commercials had the Cavity Creeps use a giant cake as a trojan-horse to get in the magical tooth city or something to just wreck shit, so the art of deception is still kind of there. (Don't trust sweets, kids— they're full of Chernobyl-esque neanderthals with pickaxes and a thirst for arbitrary destruction of property.)

  7. To the topic of "not doing a comic idea due to some people probably not getting the reference"

    I totally get and support the new direction you're trying to take things, and why. But at the end of the day I still say "Dude, do what ever comic ideas you want!".
    If it's a topic or joke that some reader won't get, then it will cause 1 of 3 possible reactions:
    1) They become aware of a new interesting subject
    2) They won't get it, or be interested in the "new subject", but will just shrug it off and look forward to the next strip.
    3) They will get all pissy over the fact that not every strip is aimed at them

    Option 1 = A good thing. Option 2 = No harm no foal. Option 3 = Screw those people anyway

    That's my view anyway. So I'd encourage you not to stress over the occasional "obscure reference" jokes (not that adventure time is obscure)

    • It's not so much that I'm afraid of being referential. It's more of an over-correction from the old HE comics where I was WAYYYY TOOOO SPECIFIC with my references and WAAAAAYYYY TOOOO Inside my own head in terms of drawing connections between unrelated things based on how I perceived them. I was making comics for an audience that would have to think EXACTLY like I do in order to get more than 1/3 of the jokes. I'm not trying to dumb things down and I'm not trying to go broad, but I am trying to make my comics more accessible and relatable. I also want them to still make sense in 5-10 years. My very specific LOST and BSG jokes from 2008 are not going to be relevant or even understandble in a decade. However, mentioning LOST or BSG even now is something could still be relatable in decades to come. My new rule is: Mention the show, not the episode. Reference the idea, not the specifics. I can mention Doctor Who, but no quote random dialog from a villain no one remembers.

  8. hey Joel not sure if this is under your control or can be fixed but the add at the top of your site is one of those you get a free ipad give us all your info scams just thought I should say something because I cant imagine this is something you want on your site.

    • If you see it again, send me a screen shot and possibly the URL of where it takes you. Otherwise I can't get my ad people to weed it out.

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