I Got The Moves Like Xander


Here’s a mostly true San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Story starring my good friend Stepto (who you may remember from a previous appearance). It seems that while I was decompressing from the w00stock 4.0 festivities in Balboa theater as all the performers signed things and shook hands, Stepto was across the street at the Geek & Sundry party getting his groove thing fully engaged with Joss Whedon. The very same Stepto who was in my company mere moments before at w00tstock. The VERY same Stepto who has my cell phone number and know good and well how texting works. Yes, THAT Stepto. The VERY SAME STEPTO WHO IS NOW DEAD TO ME! HE DANCED WITH GOD DAMNED JOSS WHEDON! THEIR HIPS MET IN A BUMPY FASHION! DEAD! DEAAAAAD TO MEEEEEE!

But, I digress. In addition to breaking my heart and betraying my trust, Stepto did do something very nice for a fan that night. It has become a w00tstock tradition that Stepto will find the fan with the worst possible seats, high up in the balcony, take their camera and fill it with backstage photos throughout the night. You can see the results of this year’s shenanigans here.

I have a guest comic up at Cyanide and Happiness!

Grammar Dalek Shirts should be going on presale soon. As early as Monday of next week! Stay tuned for ordering info.

People have been asking me what I thought of SDCC this year. I told one friend, “Being on the show floor of SDCC is like working in the gift shop of the amusement park.” I think that sums it up pretty well. Unlike EVERY OTHER larger show I do, comics are no where near the focus of the show. They are really an after thought and that vibe is starting to permeate my (and other artists’) SDCC experience more and more each year. You really get the impression that the attendees are going to make time for you, if and when they finish up with everything else they have planned. Namely, standing in a line for 8 hours to see a 50 minute panel, then standing in line for 4 hours to get an SDCC exclusive toy, then leaving the hall entirely to go to one of the MANY offsite activities.

The fans I met through out the week were great, but they were also few and far between. In fact, the only day that felt like a normal convention was Sunday. There was a steady stream of fans, and sales and I distinctly got the impression that most people were saving the actual COMIC portion of Comic-con for the final day. Luckily, I got the sense of this trend early in the week and basically visited the booth a bit each day then headed out into San Diego for various parties, fun times and hang outs with my friends. All things being equal I would much rather be at the booth, meeting readers and selling merch. But due to the extremely odd vibe of the show, the slow booth traffic and the VERY limited booth space we had this year, I wasn’t really hurting anyone by not being there. Sunday was basically the only full day I spent at the booth. It’s really hard to justify taking a week off of work, the travel expenses and fighting the crowds of SDCC to do what was essentially a one day show.

I want to back up and say that I am NOT complaining about having the best job in the world, but San Diego Comic-Con has changed drastically in the last couple of years and everyone I talked to seemed to be feeling the same thing. Don’t be shocked if some of your favorite artists take a year or two off. I almost feel like the comics and the movie/TV/video game stuff should be officially separated into two events. Maybe then we could get some panels with accessible comics creators instead of ABC’s newest fairy tale-based show. It feels like the entire show has finally tipped to where it is basically unfriendly to an independent comics creator and that creator’s time could be better spent almost anywhere. I don’t expect it to get any better unless they built more hall space, which would probably have to be on floating barges out in the marina. Still, it is ONE HELL of a party, and it’s the only time that nearly all of my friends are in the same city at the same time for the same reason. It is a Comic-Conundrum.


SDCC 2012 Fancy Sketches


I am still recuperating from SDCC. I will resume drawing Fancy Sketch Drive sketches this week, and start mailing them out as they are finished. There were almost 60 ordered so it’s going to take me a while. I appreciate your patience.

Hijinks Ensue Cyanide and Happiness Guest ComicI have a guest comic up at Cyanide and Happiness for my explosm bros (exBROsm, amirite?), who are also sleeping off one too many a San Diego fun time.

Grammar Dalek Shirts should be going on presale soon. Stay tuned for ordering info.

I had an amazing time in San Deiego, but I spent almost no time on the convention floor itself. Normally I am at the booth from open to close every day, but our limited booth space meant that most of the time I was just in the way. And when I made scheduled signing/sketching times, no one really showed up. It was a very odd convention this year and all of my cartoonist friends seemed to echo the same sentiments. People just weren’t visiting their favorite creators very much this year. I think either A) the show has finally tipped and there are only a small percentage of con attendees who are actually there to meet and buy stuff from comics creators (the rest are their for panels or other big media events) or B) There is so much off site and ancillary entertainment outside and around the convention itself, that most fans are going to the actual show maybe 1 or 2 days to see panels, then exploring the other (free-er) events surrounding the con.

For all of these reasons, I spent most of the weekend hanging out with friends, going to parties (especially w00tstock!) and generally having a fantastic time (in which I earned essentially no money and probably didn’t break even on my travel costs, but hey… whatever). I was at (or hovering around) the booth for most of Sunday and oddly enough it felt like a regular convention day. There was a steady stream of fans and sketch requests, and sales. Perhaps the new thing is to save your actual COMIC-coning for the final day. All I can say is that I won’t be surprised at all if many creators take a year or two off after this year. There are far better cons, that cost thousands less to exhibit at, and are far less of a hassle from every angle.

I still think I would have gone (and will continue to go) even if I didn’t have a booth or a floor pass. There is just no other time where so many of my friends and professional acquaintances are in one place at the same time. I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones.

Also this happened: 

Joel Watson of HijiNKS ENSUE and George R.R. Martin

Chewbacca was at that party. So were Geordie and Data. Life is wonderfully weird.

COMMENTERS: What was your favorite/least favorite announcement or news to come out of SDCC 2012? Any other thoughts on the show in general?


HijiNKS ENSUE At San Diego Comic-Con 2012

I am leaving for San Diego Comic-Con in 4 FREAKING DAYS!!!PANIC!!!AHHHHGHGHGH!!!

SDCC con-goers will be able to find my merch (t-shirts and books) with Blind Ferret at booth 1332 in the webcomics area. Due to our booth accidentally getting cut in half this year, I will not have table space to sit and draw, but I will be hanging out during the weekend.

CHECK MY TWITTER through out the weekend for scheduled booth/signing times. I will have sketch cards and prints with me when I’m at the booth.

Since the Grammar Dalek shirts couldn’t be ready in time for SDCC, I am bringing a limited number of Grammar Dalek prints. I don’t know if they’ll be on display so you may have to ask me for them if you want one.

San Diego is a special kind of chaos that both invigorates me and drains the life clean from every cell in my body. I am going to run 1, maybe 2 new comics during the week of SDCC, then I am going to run sketches from the Fancy Sketch Drive for the rest of the week. Possibly for the rest of my life. I usually don’t want to do much of anything but sleep for about 6 months to a year after SDCC. See you there!


You Can’t Take This Guy From Me


HijiNKS ENSUE eBook iBook iJinks Ensue Drawing Hands Is HardIf you are a Donation Subscriber, you are A) one of my favorite people, and B) going to get an email today with a link to download the first HijiNKS ENSUE iBook/eBook. It’s called iJinks Ensue: Drawing Hands Is Hard, and it contains all of the HE comics from 2007-2008 plus some neat extras at the end.

It will be in iBooks format for iPad and PDF format for everything else. My wife and I have worked CRAZY hard on it, so I really hope you guys enjoy it and understand how much I appreciate your donations. If you are not a donation subscriber and don’t plan to be ($2 a month? C’Mon!), you will be able to get my eBook offerings on a pay-what-you-want donation model starting later today.

Looks like you’re going to have to wait at least one more day to find out what repressed “rememberies” Eli was starting to uncover.

I doubt I will get to see the Firefly panel at SDCC since people are probably already in line for it, but thinking about their “huge announcements” has sent me down a certain train of thought. Has anyone else seen Tron: Uprising on Disney? Can’t you imagine a Firefly/Serenity animated series done exactly in that style? The visuals look serious enough that you can take the story seriously. Does that make sense? And it wouldn’t cost $20 million an hour like the movie did. If the crew can never be reassembled for TV or features again, and the occasional comic just isn’t cutting it, doesn’t animation seem like the most logical choice for carrying on the verse?

Speaking of SDCC: Due to booth problems beyond my control I will not actually have a spot to sit, but I will be hanging out at the Blind Ferret booth (1332) throughout the weekend. Check my Twitter for signing times and availability. More info HERE. Despite the lack of a table I will find a way to do sketches for you. I’ll probably bring a little collapsable stool or something. NEVER GIVE UP! I WILL SKETCH FOR YOU!

Speaking of sketches, money is EXTREMELY tight in HijiNKS land right now, so I am going to do a live sketch drive this week. Starting tomorrow you’ll be able to order custom sketch cards from this site and I will draw them (whatever you requested withing reason) live on Ustream with times to be announced on my Twitter. I’ll probably limit them to 100, but if it’s a success I’ll do it more often.

COMMENTERS: What do you hope they announce at the Firefly 10 year anniversary panel at San Diego Comic-Con? Realistically and in your wildest imagination? How about my animated series idea? How would you see that playing out?


San Diego Comic-Con Fancy Photo-Comic Pt. 2


Part 1, and the first half of my post-SDCC write up is HERE.

[Thanks to Jeph Jacques, Kevin McShane (Fake Stan Lee), Randy “Bringin’ Homeless Back” Milholland and Wil “Evil Wil Wheaton” Wheaton for unwittingly appearing in this comic. If any of you don’t like it, please email and I will remove your image.]

I hope you are enjoying the Fancy Photo-Comics. This is the last one and they have given me a chance to decompress from SDCC and catch up on a few freelance secret projects that are due at the end of the month. There should be a real HE comic on Friday.

In the previous post I touched on the more life changing moments of SDCC (w00tstock, Tommy Wiseau, et al). While those events have left me wonderfully scarred they actually only made up a small percentage of my time at the annual NERDvana gathering. I’ve been exhibiting at conventions pretty heavily for the last year (I’m averaging about 1 a month) but SDCC was the first convention that I exhibited with a large group. The fine folks at Topatoco allowed me to stand beneath their towering wall o’t-shirts with such internet giants as Jeph Jacques and David Malki!, and actual giants like Ryan North (I’m sure he is average height by Canadian standards but in America we measure a man with feet, not cubits or syrup bottles or whatever). Mr. North has an embarrassing excess of feet… or footage. I forget the proper conversion metrics. HE’S TALL!

It was also a pleasure to finally get to spend some time with Sam Logan of Sam & Fuzzy, who was launching his first book “Fix Your Problem” at the show. He is also a Canadian but one of much more manageable stature. He had this wild theory that webcomics can be composed with characters who are NOT drawn from the waist up,  facing each other at a 3/4 view. Personally I don’t think it’s possible but who I am to deprive a madman of his dreams.

At most conventions I am engaging current readers, attempting to attract new ones and hopefully selling my own things to my own people. SDCC was a drastic departure from this routine. You could see the sense of urgency in everyone’s eyes. They had to get in and get out between panels. They had little time for idle conversation about robots and who they ought to be able to marry. It was more of a retail expo on the show floor than a comic convention. When I wasn’t talking to an existing HE reader I was essentially working retail. It was frantic to say the least. I passed the time inventing rappers and their subsequent rhymes with Mr. Malki!. His flow is considerable and not to be trifled with. I would have liked to chat more with Jeph but his line of adoring indie kids blotted out the Sun (or it would have, had the sun been directly on the floor of the convention center and constantly to his right in a sigle file line). I’m saying he was busy is all.

All in all the experience was great and I look forward to doing it again next year. I’m especially grateful to Topatoco for taking me along as that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to even attend the convention. You literally have to wait for someone to retire or die before a table becomes available (I’m looking at you Randy. When are you going to DIE!?).

SDCC Protest Print

I have a few of the SDCC exclusive “Protest” prints
[based on this comic] left over from the con.

If you want one, order a comic print from the store
and put “SDCC Protest Print” in the notes.

Also make sure to let me know what you want written in the blank sign.

Did you miss the COMIC-CON EXCLUSIVE “Browncoat vs. Red Shirt” SHIRTS?

I designed these shirt for Quantum Mechanix, but they were only available at Comic-con due to licensing issues. If you would like for them to be available online I strongly urge you to email beth[at]quantummechanix[dot]com and let her know just how much you like these shirts. The more positive emails she gets the more ammo she will have to prove to the studios that these shirts should live on. [NO ANGRY EMAILS AT ALL, PLEASE. BETH AND QMX ARE ON OUR SIDE]