Performance Evaluation


Coffee Is LifeThere Are Four LightsSuch Darmok and the remaining (25 or so) signed and numbered Daddy/Daughter Digital Drawing Time Posters have just been added to the HijiNKS ENSUE Store.

The regular prints are available in 8.5×11″ for $9.95 and 11×17″ for $17.95. The Daddy/Daughter prints are marked down from $35 to $15 while they last!



There are about 40 left. GO HERE and get yours. 

UPDATE 4/7/15: I went to Seattle, got really sick (con crud), then came home and slept for about a week while complaining to my wife and getting better. All in all I lost about 2 weeks of productivity. I have challenged myself to backfill all of the comics I’ve missed. That means completing about 10 comics in 8 days. I hope I can do it.

Having people pay attention to you on the Internet is weird. Like REALLY weird. Comic Joel is expressing an exaggerated version of my opinions about being exposed to the praise and criticism of thousands of people every day. That “EVERYTHING IS RUINED FOREVER OH GOD… oh hey, a nice email!” emotional dichotomy is almost a daily occurrence for me. I, and most online content creators (I would imagine), are constantly bombarded by the most sincere, sweet and uplifting affirmation of our work DIRECTLY JUXTAPOSED with thoughtless, hateful condemnation. The best practice is try and parse the intent of the communique. Overly boisterous, hyperbolic positive comments can feel pleasant, but are easily forgotten. The same goes for quickly tossed off anonymous hate speech. It feels shitty to read that stuff, but the effect wares off momentarily. The stuff that really sticks (at least for me) are the well thought out comments.

When someone writes to tell me that my work has improved their lives, inspired them to make positive changes, or given them joy in a time when joy was severely short supply, it really reaffirms all the tough choices, sacrifices and mistakes I have made over the last 8 years or so. On the flip side, a really well thought out treatise on why I am a complete and total piece of shit can… sting a bit. I’m lucky in that these types of emails/comments/etc only come my way once or twice a year. Still, a few of them have made me rethink my willingness to put myself out there. I think the common perception of this predicament is “YOU ARE ASKING FOR IT!” People who think that aren’t entirely wrong. I am indeed asking for attention, and in doing so I am opening myself up for all sorts of attention. I am not able to specify what type of attention, positive or negative, that I would prefer. Well, I CAN specify, but no one has to listen/obey/whatever.

This is probably more of a private journal entry than a blog post, but as of last week (I’m writing this on 4/7/15), HijiNKS ENSUE has been my full time job for 7 years. I guess I’m feeling a little introspective and reflective on this, my Seventh Experimentiversary. Regardless of the above thoughts, the words in this comic and the words likely to appear in the next few comics, I am still EXTRAORDINARILY GRATEFUL that this is somehow still my job. Like anyone, there are things I don’t like about my job, but unlike most people I am doing exactly what I want, how I want and on my own terms. It is a gift, a blessing, a ridiculous magical dream. Every year I get to keep making comics and podcasts and tweets and tumbls for a living is like getting another Hogwarts letter. I don’t know why I was chosen to have everything I’ve ever wanted, and I’m afraid to ask too many questions, because I know how fragile personal/professional satisfaction and happiness can be, but I love my life and I owe so much of that to you Fancy Bastards. I had not planned to write all, or any of this, but it just sort of poured out and here I am without a mop.

COMMENTERS: Those of you who are not in the business of having people pay attention to you on the Internet: Have you ever gotten a taste of Internet fame? What was it for? What were the effects on your life?

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    • Thanks! I was very fortunate to not get con crud in last year, but I think I slacked off on my hand sanitizer at ECCC. A lot of my friends got sick that weekend. It was inevitable.

      • I am still suffering from Con Crud. It hit me like a ton of bricks. Just wanted to say it was a damn fine, joyous pleasure meeting with you and watching you work at ECCC. I adore the Sketch-O-Matic sketches you did for me and once framed, they will take their rightful place in my office at work company decor be damned. 😀

  1. I have had a tiny taste of the internet spotlight and honestly, it is kind of cool. I have knitted some things for some people that have seemed to make people happy. OK, fine, Wil Wheaton called me the Knitting Mistress of the Cosmos. That was bloody cool. The attention has, slowly but surely, gotten me a few sales, some recognition. That part is not as cool as just knowing I Made A Thing That Made People Smile. That's just neat.

    But I also work for a very high-profile, popular internet guy and I'm vicariously exposed to the benefits and the drawbacks. I have to shield myself, to be honest. It can be so brutal – how people think they know someone, or have some rights to a creator, simply because…I truly don't know. I don't think I could handle being an online creator, full time. Having people always paying attention to everything, good and bad, mistakes and all… I do know that the good generally outweighs the bad, but I haven't developed that elephant hide yet. I'm not sure I'd want to.

    Anyway, cheers to you for showing me, by example, how to keep your head up through the storm, and how to handle things with grace and aplomb.

    Also, #BUTTS.

  2. Is there any way to get your Coffee Is Life print on the side of a massive coffee mug? Maybe a soup tureen or some such? I never realized such thing was missing form my life until I saw the print.

      • oooooh! I was considering getting a coffee print for my coffee-addict mother (coffee and my guts don't play well together so I stick with being a tea addict) at ECCC but she doesn't have room in the kitchen for a framed print. But what she DOES have room for is a GIANT MUG OF COFFEE DOOM!

  3. I once wrote a plugin for an open source bulletin board system. Apparently that was exactly what people needed, cause it ended up being translated into all kinds of different languages and I got e-mails about it years after the fact asking for assistance. It was weird and the last thing I expected for writing a bit of code that I happened to need myself and decided to publish.

  4. Tiny boss #8796 checking in, is there a typo in panel 4? "Each which…" should be "Each with…"? Apologies if I'm wrong. Keep up the good work, Joel.

    My art and comics still haven't "taken off" like I've hoped, but every now and again I post a piece that people really like and it makes me feel good that it's appreciated. On the flip side, most of the time I'll post a piece and it'll get almost no attention. Lots of hit and miss, but oh well. The internet is finicky.

    • "You know what's worse, Bob? I have have 10,000 different bosses. So every time I have a mistake I have 10,000… or 3, Usually about 3 people telling me about it."

  5. No real fame here, I'm not one of those creative types, but I've been put on a pedestal before and am somewhat familiar with the hate/love one receives. It's am interesting place to be.

  6. No real fame here – I've published a webcomic off and on since 2009, but I never really made the jump to make it a living. I did get to attend a con once as an artist, though, which was nice. I understand the blood wolves a little better now.
    I will suggest, Joel, that you take Guy Kawasaki's advice, and only go three rounds with any internet commenter.

    Round 1: Commenter initiates
    Round 2: You respond
    Round 3: Commenter responds (positive – continue conversation, negative – end conversation)

    Then you ride off on a motorcycle or jet ski or something. Because, you know… Kawasaki.

    • Guy Kawasaki followed me on some early social media platform that is now defunct. I can't remember if it was because there was essentially no one on it, or because he had invested in it and he was following everyone. Good advice though.

  7. Interacting in fandom, I've never really gotten internet fame but I do get some feedback on my contributes to fandom. Mainly for the fanfics I've written. I've gotten a lot "your fanfics are great and I love your writing" type messages and I've also gotten "your writing sucks and you should kill yourself" type messages. I definitely get more of the former. When I do get the latter I try to ignore those as best I can unless I feel like the message is one that I need to address but usually there's no point, it's just someone wanting to get a reaction out of me so not giving them a reaction is better. I had one anon for a while who kept sending hate about my writing after I'd gone to bed so it'd be the first thing I'd see in the morning and I never responded so they eventually quit sending the hate because there wasn't any benefit for them.

    There was an event that got one of my fanfics attention that I would have preferred it not get. The initial react from those involved was actually okay, but it was the internet's reaction that was worse though luckily most of it wasn't directed at me directly, it was indirect "you suck, you need jesus, please kill yourself" so I was easily able to avoid it and block it.

    • Yeah, getting notoriety for reasons you never intended is the worst. I've had a few comics or posts go "viral" in the sense of "Look at this asshole, we hate this asshole! Tell all your friends to hate this asshole!" It's usually perpetrated by people completely missing the point of whatever I had put out there.

  8. well I've enjoyed your work, I'm not an artist so i can't judge on the art, I like it, it gives me something shiny to look at after I've stumbled out of work.

    I'm considering a career change after 16 years of retail in a grocery store. thanks to the numerous pattings on the head and gentle pushes from my gf, I'm considering training to become a nurse. If it works out, I'll be happier, probably have more sanity and making more money than where I am now. This in addition to moving in with said gf, the creation of a man cave in the basement and potential marriage in the future, I think I'm either getting older or life on Planet Earth isn't disagreeable with me.

    Just write at your pace and take your time, we'll be here waiting to read the next strip.

    • The enthusiasm and positivity with which your write about this new potential future makes it sound like you should go for it. I am all about people being happy in whatever they choose to fill there days with, and far be it from me to say retail grocery work is somehow less important than other work, but if you are looking to make an impact, make a difference or change lives in any way, nursing sounds like a more fulfilling career.

  9. Front page of imgur with a drawing and a ton of karma on reddit with the same drawing. I wish I could be younger again and get behind my art more. I applaud your experiment and your will to do what you want with your life, go you Joel

  10. I used to write tutorials for HTML/PHP back in the early 2000's. I remember the first time someone emailed me just to tell me how much my tutorial helped them, and made everything click for them. It was great. Then, soon after, I had someone tell me that I should just throw my computer out the window and never get on the internet again (for the same tutorial).

    Turns out it was someone who wrote a similar tutorial that didn't get approved on the website I submitted mine to. I think that was the most smug I'd ever felt in my life.

  11. i also got the con crud from ECCC, it was badly timed because sakuracon was the weekend after that, thanks for the randomized art.

    • Technically no. Hiveworks buys the open ad slots on my site and fills them with ad networks they've signed up with or ads they've sold specifically. Then they pay me a commission based on those ad sales. Currently ad sales make up less than 1/4 of my income.

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