AND MY AXE!” shirts are discounted in the HE store!
And My Axe - Gimli shirt by HijiNKS ENSUE

RELEASE ME, POSEIDON! RELEASE ME FROM THESE DAMNABLE CRUISE COMICS! SURELY MY DEBT IS PAID TENFOLD! MY FINGERS ARE GETTING PRUNEY AND SALT WATER IS TERRIBLE FOR MY SKIN! 

Here we are, gentle traveler of the seas, at the end of of our JoCo Cruise Crazy 2 Fancy Photo Comic journey (SPOILERS: This is not the end. There is at least one more). After David, Rob and I were guests on the Paul and Storm Podcast (listen here), we were also the chorus line in Molly LewisMarian Call and Vi Hart‘s (Molly’s head is obscured by a music stand) version of the Schoolhouse Rock classic “Conjunction Junction.” Spelling “but” wrong was a last minute idea of mine that seemed to play pretty well for the audience. David’s usual “I don’t know what’s going on” facial expression really sold it. He did wear that sign for at least a few hours after the show.

During our Advanced Drinking And Drawing session, there was an old (non JoCo Cruise) dude that kept slipping rob shots and demanding that he draw dogs. Within a span of 20 minutes, Rob went from a sane, rational human being to just completely worthless. By the end of it Rob was significantly destroyed with alcohol and this dude was bating him with cries of “YER SPOSE TO DRAW ME A PUG!” Rob was (and I offer ZERO exaggeration here) completely incapable of drawing the circles and rectangles that typically make up his characters, much less a particular breed of dog. I chipped in by finishing a few of his “commissions” and eventually he was coaxed back to his room for non-alcohol based rest. The old dude eventually slipped me a tequila shot as well. I think he was trying to get us to go back to his stateroom. Rob, David and I all collaborated on a piece for Wil entitled “Dude getting his dick kicked off while throwing a butt-taco.” It was a masterpiece.

Nerds tend to sit down or stand relatively still during “nerd-rock” concerts. They are certainly appreciating the music, but they don’t seem to feel the need to shove each other for two hours like the typical concert goer does. Of course these rules of etiquette are thrown out the porthole immediately when the headlining acts starts playing a song about zombies. Then they’re ambling and shimmying and moaning and… well, doing the closest thing they do to forming a mosh pit. It was a sort of moosh pit. Speaking of acting like zombies, please read this Sea Monkey’s account of one of my favorite moments of the entire cruise, in which I was part of a spontaneous theatrical production and bit a stranger on the leg.

Have I ever mentioned that Paul F. Tompkins is a delight? Well he is. He is also one of the sharpest and quickest minds in stand up comedy today. His speech about Han and Chewie’s particular bromance is something that he told me backstage way back during w00tstock Dallas. I found it an incredibly fitting and insightful metaphor for a “nerd-adjacent” among the super nerds. Listen to his podcast. It is among my favorite things.

By the end of the final night our host, Jonathan Coulton, said something like, “I don’t think I even need to show up next year. It will all just keep running on its own momentum.” Not to disparage him or belittle his contributions to the cruise (hell, it DOES have his name on it), but I think he was right. I never got the sense that JoCo was the glue that was binding everyone together on the JoCo cruise. It was a deeper sense of community and belonging (for many, FINALLY belonging) that brought these people together. JoCo just put them on a boat so they could have incredible amounts of excellent fun together. It is a safe bet that each and every person in our group was a fan of Jonathan’s music, but I believe they were even bigger fans of each other. This wasn’t a concert. It was a gathering of like minded people that support independent creators, create great things themselves and strive to uplift and improve the world they live in, the people they appreciate, themselves and each other. Jonathan was the match, but the Sea Monkeys were the flame.

[panels 1 and 2 feature some photos that I found on Facebook or Flickr, but I don’t remember from whom. If they are yours, please let me know so I can credit you]

COMMENTERS: If you were ever awkward or any type of outcast, when was the first time/place/group setting that you knew you belonged and why?