Calgary Expo 2013 Fancy Sketches


I have returned from North of The Wall with a bag full of Canadian “money.” While I recharge my batteries, please to enjoy a few of the fancy sketches I did for the Calgarian Fancy Bastards.

Intense thanks to Keith for hosting me this weekend, driving me around Calgary and being a generally awesome dude. Additional thanks to the Blind Ferret crew for being my convention home base and taking care of business (every day/every way). Even further thanks to David and Wil for three straight nights of beer-fueled bro-down hangouts.

Now If you’ll excuse me, I need to go exchange all this ridiculous pastel, plastic currency for something I can actually spend. CANADIAN MONEY TRIVIA: All Canadian bills feature photos of actors who portrayed The Doctor in the classic Doctor Who series’ (Sylvester McCoy is on the $10), except for the $20 which features Hellen Mirren.

COMMENTERS: Speaking of The Sarlacc, which minor Star Wars character (from any movie, book or game) do you hope gets a starring role in the new Disney regime and why? If you say Jaxxon, I’m going to reunify all the little bits of Alderaan just so I can punch it to death again.

Comments (38)

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Skintick's avatar

Skintick · 111 weeks ago

I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing a full length feature on Jabba when he was younger (supposedly a bad-ass), Rogue Squadron, or maybe Boba Fett and that is only because the game was pretty cool.
nenslo's avatar

nenslo · 111 weeks ago

The gunner who let go the escape pod with R2D2 & C3PO inside. I always wondered if he was aware afterwards that he alone possessed the power to destroy the rebel alliance and the Light side of the force…
Blarrgl's avatar

Blarrgl · 111 weeks ago

R5-D4 needs a proper, that is to say canon, day in the sun.
lou's avatar

lou · 111 weeks ago

I’m sure there’s plenty of magic superheroes who act like stage magicians. Take Zatanna, who IS a stage magician in her day job, when she’s not rollin’ with John Constantine and Justice League Dark.
Stage magician superhero?
After “The Incredible Hulk”, Bill Bixby did play (kinda) one in the obviously titled “The Magician”…

“You wouldn’t like me when I’m… PRESTO!!!”

Ali's avatar

Ali · 111 weeks ago

Prince Xizor.
gratch's avatar

gratch · 111 weeks ago

It’s a little known fact that the design of Canadian money is based entirely around drinking. We color coded our money so that no matter how drunk you are you can still pay and receive change for your beer. Just hand the nice person behind the bar a purple bill and they’ll give you back a blue one and some coins. Frankly, I’ve always felt sorry for you Americans actually having to look at the numbers.

1 reply · active 111 weeks ago

jiynx's avatar

jiynx · 111 weeks ago

we went ahead and developed these things called ‘credit cards’ and their successor design ‘debit cards’, which function as an electronic key-signature authorizing transfers of money from bank to vendor.

you don’t even need to carry any coins or bills around, either.

ToxicBlade's avatar

ToxicBlade · 111 weeks ago

Dash Rendar

1 reply · active 111 weeks ago

ToxicBlade's avatar

ToxicBlade · 111 weeks ago

because that game was awesome back in the day
lou's avatar

lou · 111 weeks ago

When the alt text said “road trip through the Dune Sea”, I thought of a STAR WARS version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I suppose Han Solo and Chewie acted like that in their early smuggling days.

1 reply · active 110 weeks ago

tom327cat's avatar

tom327cat · 110 weeks ago

Chewie took over piloting the falcon. I didn’t tell him about the mynocs. He would find out soon enough, poor bastard.
 Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 111 weeks ago

Fett & Sarlaac: We’re off on the Road to Mos Eisley!
Sarlaac: Your jetpack is chafing my hide! (Fett: Tell me about it)
Sarlaac: Whatever heroes we may face we haven’t any fear.
Fett: Sarlaac will digest them for the next one thousand years!
Fett & Sarlaac: We certainly do get arou-ou-ound!
Fett & Sarlaac: Like Luke and Ben Kenobi, we’re Mos Eisley bound!

1 reply · active 110 weeks ago

lou's avatar

lou · 110 weeks ago

Damn that catchy tune!
HikingViking's avatar

HikingViking · 111 weeks ago

I’d like to see Abrams focus the whole movie on a small group of Imperial Guards who go on a revenge mission to take out high-ranking rebels responsible for blowing up the Death Star. Kind of like Munich, in space.

2 replies · active 110 weeks ago

xero's avatar

xero · 111 weeks ago

wouldn’t that be more Valkyrie in space since they would fail
lou's avatar

lou · 110 weeks ago

“Valkyrie in Space” would be more like a cadre of Imperial Officers plotting to overthrow the Emperor and Vader, which has happened at least couple times in the EU.
Jay29's avatar

Jay29 · 111 weeks ago

What’s a “site gag?”

1 reply · active 111 weeks ago

It’s like a pedantic asshole comment, but different.
Admiral Piett. He started as Captain and one strangled Admiral and BAMMO promotion!

Wedge would be cool also and perhaps the son of Porkins, Porky.

Paul Turnbull's avatar

Paul Turnbull · 111 weeks ago

Thanks for the most excellent art Joel! When I had Nathan sign it he sat back a bit and said “Who drew this!!” I directed him to you. You’ve successfully helped me to pleasantly startle someone two years in row.

Come back next year so I can add to my growing collection (Am I allowed to call two a collection?) of celebrity signed art drawn by you.

2 replies · active 111 weeks ago

Oh you had him sign the “2 captains” drawing? Sweet! Post a pic if you can. I hope he dug it.
Paul Turnbull's avatar

Paul Turnbull · 111 weeks ago

Here’s the “2 Captains” signed:

And from last year Wil Wheaton and the Van signed:

Liam's avatar

Liam · 111 weeks ago

Jar Jar Binks
Mr.Torgue's avatar

Mr.Torgue · 111 weeks ago

Kyle Katarn. Abrams may have to rent some explosions from Michael Bay to make it work though.

1 reply · active 111 weeks ago

+1 to this! Those games were the most excited I’d been about Star Wars since pre-prequels.
Not a character? I don’t care. I will watch it if they put an E-Wing in it.

There is no other way I’ll put any more money into this franchise.

I want Luke Skywalker to have a conversation with spirit Yoda.
CalgaryKeith's avatar

CalgaryKeith · 110 weeks ago

Don’t mention it bud! It was a fun weekend.
 Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 110 weeks ago

Thanks to this comic, I am going back and re-reading my expanded universe novels. Might even go back a bit further and read some that I skipped.
DH8's avatar

DH8 · 110 weeks ago

I’m hoping the space marine on a unicorn is an obscure reference to the “X-Play Musical”!!…

1 reply · active 110 weeks ago

It is a reference to how a dude asked me to draw a car riding Robocop, riding a unicorn.

HijiNKS ENSUE At Calgary Expo 2013!!!

Calgary Expo is this weekend! I’ll be at booth 925-1025 with Blind Ferret. 


I’ll have books, prints, shirts, Lil’ Wil Plushies and sketches! Last year was my first Calgary Expo and in terms of sales it was my best convention ever. In terms of meeting super nice readers and being treated very well by the staff and volunteers, it was also right up there at the top. The thought that this year could potentially top last year in either of those categories is somewhat impossible to imagine, but I BELIEVE IN YOU CALGARY!

I believe in your ability to come to my booth and say nice things and shower me in your silly, pastel, plastic money! We can do this, Calgary! We’re a team! Did you somehow forget how much I enjoy tiny bottles of booze and baked goods? I STILL ENJOY THOSE THINGS! Bring those things too! This is going to be a good time for you and me, Calgary.

UPDATE: There’s an Alberta Browcoats shindig Saturday night after the con. Details are here. There’s going to be beer and live music and door prizes. Sounds like good times.

Comments (17)

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Thank you for this clarification. Based on your explanation, Calgary is actually Houston, not Dallas.
It always is, and despite my enjoyment of Chicago, Calgary is a MUCH better show. Both in terms of sales and how it’s run. C2E2 is put on my Reed Pop which means it is in constant opposition to the exhibiting cartoonists. Not sure what it is about those guys but they only cater to big media companies and treat everyone else like garbage.

Also, and this is the super depressing part, sales in Chicago were abismal the last two years I went there. Almost everyone I talked to was very polite and enthusiastic, then explained they wouldnt be buying anything because they’d just lost their job. It was really upsetting. At least 100 people told me that exact same story. In Calgary they are just throwing silly plastic money at the table and running away.

I can attest to the money-throwing behavior as witnessed at last year’s show. I shall stop by if I can or at least see you at the shindig, perhaps.
Karcitis's avatar

Karcitis · 112 weeks ago

The $50 bill is pinky-red, yup.

$20 is green, $10 is bruise coloured, and $5 is blue. Oh and $100 is gold, natch.

And it’s waterproof, tear proof, has transparent color changing holograms, one has a hockey guy on it, the rest has either Hellen Mirren or Judi Dench… seriously, it puts our money to shame.
I promise you we dont.
KingMeIV's avatar

KingMeIV · 111 weeks ago

It’s not completely tear-proof. This myth was busted at the Loading Ready Run booth at the expo last year.

As a side note, did you see the video of the message your good buddy Wil left for my niece at the end of his panel? Absolutely brilliant!

KingMeIV's avatar

KingMeIV · 111 weeks ago

Also, word has it that it melts in the dryer.
That was you!? What a great gift for a future nerd.
KingMeIV's avatar

KingMeIV · 111 weeks ago

I WISH it was me. It was Violet’s parents that asked Wil to leave her the message. I was at that panel though to witness the awesome in person.

Calgary Expo 2012 Fancy Photo Comic Part 3


Calgary is a weird town. Everything is pretty nice and clean and Canadian and there is a series of above ground tubes that you can navigate most of downtown with to avoid actually being on the street, but pretty much everything closes at sundown and NOTHING is open on Sunday. Visting cartoonists need to drink on Sunday too, Calgary! I don’t think Canadian Jesus will mind. Incidentally, Canadian Jesus is the same as American Jesus (the one true Jesus) except he does some occasional ice fishing and pays too much for his mobile data plan.

The Holodeck is for porn! The Holodeck is for porn! 

The Holodeck Is For Porn T-Shirt, funny star trek parody shirt

If you are a long time reader of HijiNKS ENSUE, you probably know what Star Trek: TNG means to me. It was more than a show. It was a friend and a guide when I was a confused, ignored and bullied little boy. I learned so much about respect (how to earn and give it), problem solving, avoiding violence at all costs, but still not letting anyone push me around, and what the future can (and should) be if we aren’t too childish, greedy and stupid to get ourselves there. I very large part of who I am, and how I view the world is based on the lessons I learned from TNG. So, with that in mind, I’m sure you can gauge how much it meant to me to be present at the 25th Anniversary reunion of the TNG cast at the Calgary Expo. It was nothing short of magical.

As the cast members recollected and joked with each other, I quickly realized that they were not performing; not putting on a show, but instead they were just catching up. It was as if 8000 grinning geeks were not in the room with them as they told stories, and reminisced. We were scores and scores of flies on the wall to the greatest geek conversation we could have hoped to hear. That is not to say they ignored the audience or seemed in anyway ungrateful for our contribution to their legacy (quite the contrary, actually). It’s just that they almost seemed lost in their affection for each other. Patrick Stewart in particular spent most of the evening facing not the audience, but turned to face his friends. If asked a question directly, he always had to look for the mic and pick it up because he had long since put it down in order to pay closer attention to what Frakes, Wheaton or Sirtis were saying. It seemed like the whole thing was sponsored and film by Space in Canada, so I am hopeful that the discussion will be broadcast in some fashion soon. I cannot stress enough how perfect a cap that evening was to 25 years (20 for me) of Star Trek: TNG fandom. I must thank Sohmer and our Calgary Expo volunteers for getting me the ticket. It’s one of those things that I wasn’t going to let myself splurge on, but knowing now what I would have missed… let’s just say I would have regretted it.

Speaking of splurging, when I saw that an entire cast photo with the TNG crew was available for $500 and up to six people were allowed to split the cost, I immediately grabbed five friends and got ready to do some convincing. Turns out this is a proposition that, among Star Trek fans, requires little to no convincing. Thanks again to our fantastic volunteers, we were able to score some line-skipping passes which meant we only had to wait for about an hour instead of three to four. Now I normally am not one for photo-ops or impersonal signings at events where celebrities are present. I much prefer a casual encounter, a brief exchange or words, etc. But this was potentially the last time these people were going to be in the same room… forever! I was already mentally clearing family photos off the mantle to make room for this picture. The photo-op itself took all of 15 seconds. Honestly it wasn’t even enough time to make eye contact with the whole crew. We were in, somehow I ended up next to the Captain (in Troi’s spot), they snapped the pic and we were out. As we left I heard Wil say, “Everyone wave to my friend Joel!” That was, uhh… pretty fucking rad. And as you can see, the picture turned out amazing! Look at that grin on Patrick Stewart! I’m going to have it tattooed over my own face so I can see it every time I look in the mirror. Damn, that was a good day.

COMMENTERS: What events go on your “life flashing before my eyes” hit list? What awesome things have happened to you that made you say “I WAS THERE! I ACTUALLY DID THAT!“?


Calgary Expo 2012 Fancy Photo Comic Part 2


Guys, I fully understand that we ARE going to be destroyed by a terror from beyond the stars. I’m OK with that. All I ask is that our destroyer be a cutey-wooty snuggley button of doom. I feel like it’s a reasonable request.

Wil Wheaton and I got excited and made this “Fighting Time Lords” shirt for you!

Gallifrey University Fighting Time Lords Shirt - Doctor Who parody, geeky tees, funny t-shirts,  nerdy shirts

These furthering adventures from Calgary Expo feature The Blind Ferret crew, specifically the be-balded, be-capped, be-lightsabered and ever be-Red Bulled Mr. Sohmer.  Exhibiting with these guys is exactly as much fun as it appears to be. Take that… however you will. One of these days you will probably get to see some of our adventures in full motion complete with audio and additional motion and probably some editing, since Will has been filming us since Emerald City ComiCon. I don’t know when or how the show/documentary/series/??? is going to be released, but from what I’ve seen so far I am in it. So that should be enough, right? I hear the pilot is coming along nicely and I’m sure they will make an official announcement when it’s ready for public consumption.

COMMENTERS: What’s the best geeky baby/kid costume you’ve ever seen? Ever make one for your own kids, or had one made for you as a kid? My wife and I have made our daughter’s Halloween costumes almost every year and our Boo costume is still one of the top Google results when searched.



Calgary Expo 2012 Fancy Photo Comic Part 1


“Winter Is Coming” shirts are now IN THE STORE!!! [based on this comic]

I am dead, Calgary. You killed me with your booze. Also with your meats. That bacon wrapped corn on the cob was NO JOKE. Neither was the pulled pork poutine, which A) Is an actual thing, B) Would either be illegal in the states or elected to public office and C) Is transcendently delicious. Seriously, Calgary, with your meats, meat sauces, oil derricks and cowboy hats I wasn’t entirely sure I had left Texas. I mean, sure, it was cold and the people were polite, unarmed and generally in good health, but a lot of it was like Texas. Ok, the hats were the main thing. Also, the con took place inside a rodeo arena. Luckily the two events were not happening simultaneously.

This Fancy Photo Comic features my friend and convention adventuring partner Angela, the Blind Ferret crew and a guest appearance by Josh Cagan who was at the con to do a panel about the 10th anniversary of Undergrads.

COMMENTERS: In your international travels, have you ever found little pockets that felt like home? A BBQ joint in Calgary might as well be a portal directly to Dallas except for the lack of US beers, and flagrant racism. Have you ever been pressured or otherwise encouraged to take part in a local custom while traveling? What?! Binge drinking is too a custom!