The Dark Knight In The Bright Day


This comic might look familiar too you. That’s because a version of it was originally published almost exactly a year ago in my very short lived HijiNKS ENSUE spinoff comic, FANEURYSM. Even though I had moved on with a new direction for HE, I still wanted to make the occasional pop culture strip. I made less than 20 FANEURYSM comics total, but a few of them are some of my absolute favorites of my own work. Since the series started and ended so quickly, I’ve always feared that those strips would be easily forgotten and certainly never get published in a book. So I’ve decided to rework those few favorite FANEURYSMs into Sharksplode strips, by resizing, re-laying out and recoloring them to match the Sharksplode esthetic. I’ll probably toss one in the archive each week until the 4 or 5 I don’t want to lose have been shared.

Have you seen my wife’s geeky jewelry store, Science & Fiction? She’s got necklaces and earrings based on Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Star Wars, The Fibonacci Sequence, DNA, Pac-Man and lot’s more. CHECK. IT. OUT. 


Secret Agent Man


[It’s 4:30am. I’ll color this one when I wake up.]

Coulson Lives! Yay! Except that sort of deflates the emotional impetus for the unification of the team in the 3rd act of The Avengers! Boo! I have complex and conflicting emotions about a thing just like one of Joss Whedon’s characters! Yay! Oh no, I’ve been killed tragically, just like one of… You get the idea.

I am, in a word (SPOILERS: The word in question is “very.”) VERY excited about Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD. The full trailer make it look like a more fun version of Fringe. Not that Fringe wasn’t fun. This just looks MORE fun. Perhaps more light hearted. I really hope it manages to bring back that “comedy in the face of tragedy, but also totally solid action and complex story telling” formula that has been missing from TV for so long. I can’t think of a single show that’s melded those attributes without leaning too heavily on one in spite of the others since Firefly, or before that, Buffy. Wait… I’m sensing a pattern here.

As for J.A.R.’s super secret role, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he is “basically Luke Cage” without actually being called “Luke Cage.” Seems like something they might do in order to free up licensing for the character and give them more creative freedom with his powers and backstory.

COMMENTERS: So is it just me or are super heroes still overwhelmingly white? I know there are efforts being made to introduce more variety in the hero landscape (the new half-hispanic, half-black Spider-Man comes to mind), and I know I haven’t been a big comic reader since I was 14 (about 17 years ago), but I still don’t see much diversity among the metahumans. Though it seems DC is more diverse than Marvel. That could also be a total misconception on my part, but it SEEMS that way. You tell me.

Comments (49)

Stranger's avatar

Stranger · 107 weeks ago

You can blame latent racism covered up as “being true to the character” in comic circles for that. If they make a NEW minority character, no one reads it because “theyre just trying to be PC”. If they change identities to a legacy character with a minority, all hell breaks loose. There really is no way to win, comic fans just dont seem to want diversity.

13 replies · active 97 weeks ago

Bruden's avatar

Bruden · 107 weeks ago

I’d disagree with that claim. Comic fans do want diversity. The problem is that most of the attempts at diversity are legitimately retconning a character to be black now, which is retconning that all comic fans absolutely hate, or making a blatant clone of an existing character with a new name and also it’s not a white male because “look at us we’re being diverse shower us with praise and publicity for being PC in comics!” PR stunts still haven’t gone the way of the dodo.If you introduce a new character, who isn’t simply “blackverine” but is actually interesting on their own merits, and rather than scream to the assembled press of the world “look at us we made black spider man, we are so into this cultural diversity thing buy our stuff!” you actually just focus on the merits of the character as a character instead of as a black guy, comic fans will be interested.

So far the comic CREATORS haven’t been very interested in making characters that aren’t a white male without holding a giant press party to celebrate how great they must be for having the courage to introduce Captain Mexican American.

While I agree with your statement, I have to say, I really would like to read an issue or two of Blackverine and Captain Mexican American. I am *really* trying to treat this topic with a serious analytical eye, but those names make me helplessly giggle.
But they change character race/ethnicity all the time. For example, there’s Ra’s al Ghul, Talia al Ghul, Bane, the Mandarin, all the characters in the Last Airbender movie, most of the cast of the Dragonball movie, characters in the Prince of Persia movie, the main character in 30 Days of Night, Katniss Everdeen, a certain character in Star Trek, etc.And that’s not even including the whitewashing of characters in media that are based on real people of other races.

Handigoat's avatar

Handigoat · 106 weeks ago

Scotty is black. Deal with it.
Kryss LaBryn's avatar

Kryss LaBryn · 107 weeks ago

Maybe “comic fans” don’t seem to want diversity because no one who would be interested in that is reading because they aren’t diverse. Kind of a vicious cycle.Perhaps they only hear from a vocal minority of readers and the bulk of them are pretty much fine with the idea, but don’t say anything. Like when people kept bitching because 90’s Justice League was funny, so they made it serious again, and then people bitched about that. I remember their replies in the letters pages: “Seriously?? Where the fuck were you people telling us we were doing it right back when we were ‘doing it right’?” (*paraphrased slightly).

I mean, it’s not like they have handled women particularity well in comics, and we’re about 50% of the population.

I suspect it’s similar to how, as a Heathen, I kind of both look forward to (because I have kids) and (mostly) horribly dread the day Disney discovers Norse mythology…

Based on the treatment of Hercules, I expect a buddy romp between Thor and Loki that teaches the value of brotherhood and family.
bix's avatar

bix · 107 weeks ago

Well the slashfic writers would be happy…
Candace's avatar

Candace · 107 weeks ago

Heh. It looks like they might be about to do that in the next Thor movie.
Ohana means family.
Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 106 weeks ago

In the words of Humon’s Sweden: IT WAS A REALLY PRETTY HORSE OKAY?!
PackRatAttack's avatar

PackRatAttack · 107 weeks ago

Plus if he plays Rage, Whedon can have fun with the whole ‘Big – Really a kid in a hero’s body aspect’
I wonder if white men in tights is a superhero thing because many of the iconic characters were created such a long time ago? I don’t really know as I don’t read that many superhero comics (except Hawkguy, it’s great, bro), but Marvel’s Miles Morales and Miss America Chavez don’t exactly have +40 years of history, do they? (Feel free to inform me of their origins, super fans!)Anyhow, I think the most diverse comic I read is Chew. Then again it’s creator-owned Image insanity about food-related…powers (nothing super about some of them), without a cape in sight.

1  · active 107 weeks ago

Candace's avatar

Candace · 107 weeks ago

I think you’re almost certainly right about the time frame issue. Most of the best-known superheroes were created long enough ago that racism was, unfortunately, still very much openly a part of U.S. society. Let’s face it, segregation existed in the U.S. South until the ’60s, and in the early to mid-’60s, the American music industry still had white artists “covering” R & B tunes by black artists. Anybody remember Pat Boone?Slavery in the U.S. may have been abolished after the Civil War, but racism most definitely was not, and still plagues us to some extent today. I think when it comes to comics, though, the current issue is the difficulties inherent in bucking tradition, and the the challenges of individuals to get new ideas through all the comic book equivalent of evil Fox Executive types.

The Unknown FB's avatar

The Unknown FB · 106 weeks ago

Hee hee…”Andrew Whitebread”
Ron's avatar

Ron · 107 weeks ago

I’m a 31 year old white male and I still read comics. I actually read the new spiderman. At first it felt like a PR stunt but they managed to make him interesting enough that I actually enjoy his story now. Having a black Nick Fury in ultimates was really weird at first but now that the movies are out it is what everyone expects. I guess all I’m trying to say is that comic fans hate change at first but, if you stick with it and don’t change it back in 6 months (see every comic book death ever except uncle ben) then the fans will adapt and accept.

1  · active 106 weeks ago

 Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 106 weeks ago

To be fair, there aren’t a ton of characters created since the late ’70s who’ve really stuck around in general. If you sit down and make a list of iconic mainstream super characters, heroes and villains both, most of them are guys who were created back in the ’60s or earlier. They’ve been periodically updated and revised and re-imagined, but Spidey is still fighting Doc Ock, Batman is still fighting Joker, etc. Every now and then you have a new character make an impression, but in general the medium is resistant to change. Not really the medium, but, I dunno. The nature of serialized storytelling? Capitalism? Take your pick.Any new writers trying to create now have to cope with that as much as they do larger social issues like racism and sexism.

DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 107 weeks ago

Not only are most superheroes white, most superheroes are male. There’s a great lack of diversity.I think a lot of it stems from simply the fact that the original comic creators were white males. The early female superheroes were created as eye candy and not as full-fledged heroes themselves. (how many times has Wonder Woman needed to be saved?)

Diversity can’t just be added without being hackneyed. TV has already proven that. White guys can’t believably write black guy parts or latina female parts. Has to be natural.

BTW, watching some Avengers cartoons recently. I SO BADLY want an episode (or comic, whatever) that focuses on the superheroes’ girlfriends, complaining about what a jerk he is for leaving all the time to “save the day”. I so want to see or read that.

1  · active 106 weeks ago

Bryce's avatar

Bryce · 106 weeks ago

I think the problem with white guys writing black guy or latina female parts is that they then define the parts as the race and not the person. If somebody tries to write a “white guy” part it comes off as similarly hackneyed. This is actually pretty difficult to pull off well, because when we assign a race to a character we try to write the character to embody that race, which leads to the stereotypes. Of course the counter problem is that if a character *doesn’t* fit the stereotypes it’s criticized.
Chenrezi's avatar

Chenrezi · 107 weeks ago

The only major black superhero I can think of offhand is Jon Stewart as Green Lantern. He had a pretty good run on Justice League as a main character. I was talking with my roommate the other day about how they missed a big chance when they didn’t make HIM the main character for the Green Lantern movie, but of course Hal Jordan is more “classic”…
Grady's avatar

Grady · 107 weeks ago

Sorry, but Jeffrey Bell, the show’s executive producer, said in an interview that the superhero played by J. August Richards isn’t Luke Cage.
Citizen Alan's avatar

Citizen Alan · 107 weeks ago

I’m really disappointed at the great opportunity they missed with Coulson — they should have had him show up in Thor 2! He died in combat against an Asgardian, so is entitled to join the Einerjar in Valhalla. From there, he could have followed Thor around during the plot of Thor 2 (a reversal of the fish-out-of-water story from the first movie) and then been rewarded with resurrection by Odin at the end.
Allen's avatar

Allen · 107 weeks ago

The boyfriend was black. Northstar isn’t.
lou's avatar

lou · 107 weeks ago

I just watchted the trailer, and the hooded jump-out-of-the-building guy looked definitely Luke Cagey
Nevest's avatar

Nevest · 107 weeks ago

As a comic fan from semi-way back, perhaps you are familiar with the concept of a SHIELD Life Model Decoy (LMD)?
Super proud of you guys for looking at this thing from every angle and posing to really valid arguments. I guess it boils down to the “superhero” is a throwback from a less evolved, less integrated time, comics fans are resistant to change, positive change on the part of the publishers almost ALWAYS comes across as a PR stunt even when it (rarely) isn’t and changes that aren’t well received lead to slow sales which leads straight back to the status quo. Comics are a weird animal.

1  · active 107 weeks ago

lou's avatar

lou · 106 weeks ago

DC has Batwing (Batman Inc.’s operative in the Congo), Static Shock, Mr. Terrific, Katana, half the cast of the current Teen titans, Batwoman (Jewish Redhead Lesbian and possibly Bruce Wayne’s cousin), Steel, Vibe, Cyborg, quite a few Earth-2 characters, Black Bat a.k.a. Cassandra Cain (Batman Inc.’s operative in Hong Kong), Ra’s al-Ghul and Talia, and I’m sure there’s a bunch of non-white humans in the Legion of Superheroes. So they’re no slouches when it comes to diversity.Also, you left out a bunch of X-Men in your list, and the black Nick Fury in the main Marvel Universe is the long lost son of the original Nick Fury. He made his debut after the Fear Itself event, along with his best friend, Phil Coulson.
Damn, it feels good to be a geek!

Wilson R's avatar

Wilson R · 107 weeks ago

Just some of the minorities from the current DC Heroes – Cyborg, Blue Beetle, Vibe, John Stewart, Bunker (Mexican and Gay), Batwing, Katana, Black Lightning (Although I think officially he’s just Lightning Now), Firestorm, the Engineer.I don’t think you can really say either one of the big companies is really any more or less diverse, both have been making efforts.

But more than just ‘race-washing’ a popular character to add diversity, the true success stories come from taking an established B or C list character and making them relevant and interesting. Spending time and effort on promoting minority characters is the far better path. Both Cyborg and Luke Cage are/have become far more popular and prevalent due to the effort of creators to include them in an organic way.

1  · active 107 weeks ago

Bryce's avatar

Bryce · 106 weeks ago

It’s a long shot, but I’d like to see a stab at making him a new superhero that doesn’t feel like a bargain bin rip-off of some other superhero. Difficult since there’s a bajillion old ones.
Valerie's avatar

Valerie · 106 weeks ago

I’m kind of hoping he’s playing Eli Bradley (Patriot) from the Young Avengers
Noah's avatar

Noah · 106 weeks ago

They’ve said that Richards is playing a wholely original character.
Hahaha! I just watched this video about “black cosplay.” Anyone who just read these comments should watch it. It’s enlightening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBa9AlDJDMY

Phoenix Comicon 2012 Fancy Sketches


Once again Phoenix Comicon was a fantastic success. Next to Emerald City in Seattle, it is my second favorite US show. Thank you to everyone that came out and got a t-shirt, a book, a sketch or just said hi. The Phoenix Phancy Bastards (fancy withe a PH) also REALLY came through with the baked goods, caffeinated goods and beboozed goods. I was able to get David terribly drunk off of too many tiny bottles of Jack (which is a necessity since he’s at least twice as much fun when he’s hammered).

In addition to my comicing bros, I usually get to run around with the entire Wheaton family at Phoenix. This year was no exception, and shenanigans’o plenty (which is my Dropkick Murphys cover band) were had. Wil and I (along with Blind Ferret) debuted the prototype of the Wil Wheaton plushie we’ve been working on since ohhhhh… around the time of this comic dare.

The Wil Wheaton Plushie Plush Doll from HijiNKS ENSUE

It’s been almost a year in development, but we are all very proud of the final result. They’ll be going on preorder in a week or so and a good preorder means we get to make enough to NOT have to reorder before the holidays (reordering means months of time waiting for chinese shipping crates to arrive on boats). I hope you guys dig the plush and consider picking one up during the preorder. They’ll be $20 and you are fully encouraged to knit space sweaters and clown sweaters for them.

HEY! I started a Facebook group for Fancy Bastards to share ideas, get support and be a community of geeks and weirdos. Godspeed, You Fancy Bastards!


Dallas Comic Con 2012 Fancy Sketches


Dallas Comic Con and I have always been at odds. I resent it for being so close to my home and yet such a poorly organized, terribly mismanaged convention, and it resents me for being alive apparently. Don’t get me wrong, all of the fans I talked to (all half-dozen of them) were quite kind and wonderful. But I spent a day away from my family, paid for a table and sat there for 8 hours for basically no reason. I’m sorry, Dallas. You must have done something VERY wrong, because you don’g get a good con. [I wrote a GIANT post about why this con was an incredible disaster, but I realize it was a bit of downer so I moved it to this TUMBLR post.]

Major thanks to all of you Fancy Bastards that have started donation subscriptions since I added the new $2, $3 and $4 monthly levels. There is a now a premium RSS feed just for subscribers that has the full comic in the feed. You’ll get an email with a link when you sign up. If you have already signed up, you’ll be getting an email this week.

When I told you all that I was rethinking what I was doing with HE, I opened myself up to a lot of criticism. A lot of it was constructive, and a lot of it was painful to take in (because it was true). Still some of it was painful just because a few of you took my self evaluation as an invitation to let me know how badly I’ve been fucking up for the past year or so. Not many of you, but enough. One thing that KEPT cropping up was a deep, all consuming hatred for the photo comics. Many readers told me they were the very reason they stopped caring about the comic in general. A lot of people said they were all in-jokes with my friends and this inaccessible. This is a criticism I can sympathize with despite not really understanding it at all. I always assumed the appeal of the photo-comics WAS that I was bringing you inside. Many of the people I feature in the photo comics are far more famous than I. I never expected writing silly situations for me and famous friends to act out would seem exclusionary.

Now, before you jump to their defense and tell me you LURV the photo comics, rest assured that I have heard from your camp as well. I have determined that these photo comics are the MOST DIVISIVE thing I have ever created. You either ALL THE WAY love them or hate them, but you do not KIND OF anything them. I admit they are a bit self indulgent, and certainly not in line with the regular drawn comics you might be accustomed to here. Since I do enjoy making them, and SOME of you do enjoy reading them, I am working on a way to separate them from the main archive. I am also considering moving the convention sketches along with them. I am thinking you would see regular HE comics on the site when you visit it, and then there would be a sidebar widget they told you if there was a new “Convention” comic or a new “Lo-Fi” comic.

I am definitely doing this with the Lo-Fi’s, so that’s not up for debate. The reason is, if I move them I can actually do them multiple times a week (on the same days as the regular comics even) which was always the plan. I’m just not sure if I should break out the photo comics, the sketches or both into their own area. I am opening the floor to your thoughts on this matter. Please don’t use this as a reason to let me know why you hate the photo comics. I’ve heard enough of that for a lifetime. I just want the site to be as user friendly as possible.

COMMENTERS: Weigh in on this idea if you have something constructive to add. I am going to base my decision largely on your feedback. This site is for you to enjoy, and I don’t want to go breaking it needlessly. If you read my TUMBLR post about Dallas Comic Con, feel free to add your own convention (or other gathering) nightmares. I once went to a ren faire where the sewers backed up and started creating little cesspools here and there throughout the faire grounds. It was very… authentic.


Earth’s Most Magnetic Heroes


Wow, we haven’t seen the Evil Fox Executive in a LONG time. I know Fox doesn’t have anything to do with The Avengers, but who else could be behind such a nefarious plot besides Joss Whedon’s oldest nemesis? Who else would want to take something good and geeky and pure like The Avengers and turn it into a commercial for fucking bullshit “magic” magnetic bracelets?

The Doctor Is In T-Shirt, Funny Doctor Who Parody Shirt, Charlie Brown, Sci-Fi

I’ve shared my thoughts on the carnival scam that is Magnetic/Hologram/Power Bracelets in the past. Let’s just say I am not in favor of them as those who sell them prey on the uninformed with parlor tricks and chicanery. In exchange for a bit of misplaced blind faith and $25 – $50 each mark gets the promise of a no effort, no side effect miracle cure for basically everything and the only convincing they require is a bit of slight of hand and some extremely vague technobabble. I seriously want to rage-flip the kiosks selling these things every time I see them in the mall.

So why am I upset about them again? Apparently there is a subplot in The Avengers that involves Tony getting a set of magnet bracelets as a gift which inspires him to make a new suit of armor (possibly his current nano-tech/neural interface armor). This would be innocuous enough (you can see him putting them on when he confronts Loki), except that Marvel and Paramount are actually shilling for a real $200 bullshit magnet bracelet that you can actually buy if you are A) the stupidest dummy in the world B) suffer from the fictional condition known as improperly polarized blood and C) do not understand that $200 is a lot of money which can be spent on things that are not fucking bullshit.

I uncovered this dastardly plot when watching a 7 minute prequel motion comic concerning all of the movie incarnations of Iron Man’s armor. I felt like such a fucking asshole when, during the last 30 seconds, I realized the entire thing was a set up for an ad for the bracelets. Motion comic’d Tony, upon receiving the gift, actually says “Don’t I see a lot of professional golfers and athletes wearing these?” to which Pepper replies, “They are considered a medical assistive device in China.” You know what Ms. Pots? So is ground up tiger dick! How dare they interject this fucking anti-science horsefuck into the biggest geek movie of the year?! They might as well have The Hulk raving about those Japanese foot pads that suck all the negative energy out of your body “just like the roots of a tree” because people are essentially trees and Hulks are essentially idiots. Fuck this noise. I wanted to love everything about this movie. I bet Cap keeps his 80 year old abs in such great shape wearing one of those belts that electrocutes your fat until it magically turns into an 8-pack. Just 4 easy payments of GO FUCK YOURSELF and you to can possess the abdominal excellence of a super soldier!

COMMENTERS: WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT?! Am I overreacting or not reacting overly enough? Is it possible this whole thing is just a silly plot point that I have somehow self-trolled? If so, then whey is there a REAL tie in magic magnet bracelet for sale that claims to have wondrous health benefits? This isn’t just some over priced limited edition movie prop. These jackoffs actually claim “voodoo blood magicks” will occur when you wear their jewelry. Tell me I’m not crazy.