Oh The Distance Is Not Doable

As soon as my daughter realized she could see her own face in the preview window when we Facetime’d, it was all over. I get maybe a half an answer to, “What did you do at school today?” before she just starts mugging for herself and making animal sounds. Eventually I stopped fighting it and realized if I wanted quality time with my kid while I was on the road, THIS was going to be it.

One of the hardest things about traveling for conventions is leaving my family behind. Skype and Facetime make it somewhat easier, but it’s still a drag. I have some friends famous/popular enough to get invited out to conventions as guests and since most if not all of their costs are covered, they often get to bring their families. I think when Kiddo is a bit older, I’d like to take her to a summer convention. Let her see the weirdness of her daddy’s job first hand. Maybe she can run my credit cards for me or grab the right sized t-shirts. Or maybe she can stand in line for 6 hours to get me a $45 hotdog while I stand in a different line for 6 hours to get a $45 coffee. Perhaps I’ll just put up a sign that says, “Cute kid will draw you a picture for $10.” It would probably be the most profitable con I ever did.

Harry Potter fans: Check out my wife’s new Wizard Duel necklace! She’s also got a Kissing Pacman necklace and Game Of Thrones house necklaces for House Targaryen, House Stark and House Lannister.

COMMENTERS: Has Skype/Facetime/Video chat/etc changed your life at all? Do you have any particularly clever uses for it? Sometimes I get my cartoonists friends on Skype and just leave it running while we’re both working. It’s almost like having a co-worker. Weird.

Full Grown Froze Bros

Bro, do you even Frozen? I’m really getting sick of all these “Fake Frozen Kids” wearing all the Frozen shirts and buying up all the Frozen dolls and dressing up in Elsa costumes and POSING like real diehard Frozeholes Brozen* (what REAL, ADULT Frozen fans call ourselves) and just clogging up the genuine fandom with their poser bullshit.

CONVENTION TIME! Emerald City Comicon in Seattle (March 28-30, 2014) with David Willis in the webcomics section right next to Cyanide & Happiness.

My first ever solo ECCC panel: It will be all about The Experiment and I need BUTTS IN SEATS! SEATBUTTS! You GOTTA COME to this panel. I am also doing a live drawing panel with my Cyanide & Happiness friends. More info on both panels HERE

My wife made a Kissing Pacman and Ms. Pacman necklace. Also available in double Pacmens or Pacladies configurations. She’s also updated her Game Of Thrones house necklaces to include House Targaryen (in addition to House Stark and House Lannister).

COMMENTERS: What “thing(s) made for kids” do you genuinely enjoy more than adults are meant to? 

[*Thank you, David, for reminding me.]

Travel Tips

My first ever art collaboration with my daughter is here! The “Daddy/Daughter Digital Drawing Time” print is signed by both of us, numbered and limited to 100 pieces. [More details HERE.]

hijinks ensue fundraiser print 2013 web

All proceeds are going to pay an unexpected IRS tax bill. Your support and help are greatly appreciated, plus you get a pretty sweet piece of art for your wall. Hate art? Hate walls? Donations are also incredibly appreciated, if that’s more your style.

COMMENTERS: Kiddo and I have had this conversation MULTIPLE times. It was especially bad when she was younger and I had just started doing conventions. Did your parents ever go somewhere super cool and leave you behind because they were just trying to remember what it was like to be people, the people they were before you dominated their existence? Have you ever done this to your kids?

ANOTHER THING: I did  THIS and THIS and then David did THIS.

Comments (49)

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Liam's avatar

Liam · 78 weeks ago

I must have been about four when my parents went to Disney World, is that the Florida one, without me and my sister.
I love Disney World. We had our honeymoon there. Your generalizations are for losers.
Stonemaven's avatar

Stonemaven · 76 weeks ago

Objection. Disneyland/world is also for gay guys and couples! I know because my dear friend and his boyfriend go several times a year. Lucky bitches.
Comic Joel is a dick. Wil Wheaton would not approve.

1 reply · active 78 weeks ago

Comic Joel is playfully facetious.
Rob's avatar

Rob · 78 weeks ago

When I was 10 my parents left my sister and I with my grandparents and went to Hawaii. In return when my 3 kids were 5, 3, and 1 my wife and I left them with my parents and went to Hawii. I guess what goes around, comes around.

2 replies · active 77 weeks ago

seriously's avatar

seriously · 78 weeks ago

Only if you remembered to properly sugar up your kids first along with express instructions to drive your folks as close to crazy as they can without getting themselves killed or sold off to gypsies.
SageBrushFnord's avatar

SageBrushFnord · 77 weeks ago

Don’t forget the caffeine! Two cups of coffee 30 minutes before drop-off, and a couple boxes of 5-hour energy stashed among their gear.


Dean's avatar

Dean · 78 weeks ago

Punch some airholes in the shipping box, she’ll be fine. Kids are resilient at that age.
manbeardman's avatar

manbeardman · 78 weeks ago

my dad is a huge trek fan which must be genetic cause i am too there was a comic store down the street when i was 7 and he would go from time to time to get models i wasnt allowed to go because he figured i would spaz out when i saw the professionally built models and all the toys when i was 10 i finally got to go and true i did completely spaz out but i also had some money ( was my bday ) and was broke when i left
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 78 weeks ago

My dad worked at a big laboratory and traveled a lot to other ones. It wasn’t a constant desire, but I remember wanting to go along and see what places like Livermore were like, how they compared to the place I knew.

5 replies · active 78 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 78 weeks ago

You know, I’m an adult and have a car now. I don’t know if the lab there has any visitor info sorts of places that don’t need a clearance but I could easily drive down there some time and look around.
Rob's avatar

Rob · 78 weeks ago

If your talking about Livermore Laboratory, they sure do. My son and went down last summer and toured the laser facilities. It was engineering geek heaven.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 78 weeks ago

Neat! I’ll add it to my to-do list. Los Alamos laboratory really locked down in the last 10 years so it’s good to know Livermore has stuff open.
lou's avatar

lou · 78 weeks ago

Man, I LIVE near there and I can’t get in. The website says I need to make a reservation months in advance.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 78 weeks ago

Just checking, you mean LA? Livermore says 2 weeks notice for their tours.
lou's avatar

lou · 78 weeks ago

In 1989, guess where my parents went after dropping off me and my brother with the grandparents (can’t recall which set)? Berlin, to help Tear Down The Wall (Pink Floyd reference!) and they brought home a few pieces of it, too!

1 reply · active 76 weeks ago

That is the best reason I have ever heard!
bubujin_2's avatar

bubujin_2 · 78 weeks ago

It was a few years after my folks brought their fourth child into the family that they probably decided they needed to escape the madness and reconnect adult to adult in Boston–for an entire week of our spring break. Being only 10 or 11 at the time, my asked or imposed on one of his married grad students to tend to us. Can’t recall any desire on my part to want to tag along, and we all survived the ordeal.
Allen's avatar

Allen · 78 weeks ago

I have no idea who watches The Mentalist either. I prefer Psych for all my fake psychic detective needs

5 replies · active 76 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 78 weeks ago

Wait, the guy in Psych is fake?
Jingy's avatar

Jingy · 77 weeks ago

I’ve had not just one, but 3 different people I know try to get me to start watching the Mentalist.

None of the 3 exactly share my tastes, so I’ve still yet to see even a single episode. But I guess THEY are why the CBS is still making it… SO yeah, blame my family and ex-GF for it’s continued existence.

Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 77 weeks ago

I did when it was its turn on TNT’s cycle.

And by Cycle, I mean they show just about nothing but that same show most of the day, every week day. Then, they slowly start to fade it out for a new show by making it share the day with a different show, and then the different show takes over.

It is currently Castle’s turn on the cycle.

Stonemaven's avatar

Stonemaven · 76 weeks ago

The Netfilx paradigm. Watch All The Eps. Detox. Repeat.
TemplarKnight's avatar

TemplarKnight · 78 weeks ago

Am I the only one seeing that “This” and “This” seem to lead to the same video?

2 replies · active 78 weeks ago

Dave's avatar

Dave · 78 weeks ago

Yep, David’s post too. They link to the same URL. Is instagram screwing with someone?
Steve's avatar

Steve · 78 weeks ago

Perhaps, when things go better, you may want to hire your daughter as a con assistant. Helping carry and suchlike. You can actually put her on salary and deduct it, and the relevant expenses, from the taxes. Commonly done, but do talk to your accountant.
Shes always had glasses but because they were black it wasnt obvious.
lou's avatar

lou · 78 weeks ago

Joel, I have a question you raised in the previous strip with that comment about “the one true Batman”: were you referring to different versions of Batman across different media, or like when the title of “Batman” is used by someone other than Bruce Wayne, like Terry McGuiness (Batman Beyond) or Richard Grayson (Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin and Batman, Inc.)? Also, what’s your take on superheroes switching identities, like when Bucky Barnes ascended to the name Captain America?

1 reply · active 77 weeks ago

Both, actually, specifically with regards to Batman. The character has been presented in SO MANY DIFFERENT movies, TV shows, cartoon series, comic incarnations, action figures, etc. that “my Batman” and “your Batman” could be entirely different characters with entirely different histories. I use the DCAU as a common point of reference since most geeks my age grew up with it and have a familiarity with the continuity and supporting characters.

It’s hard to have a strong negative opinion on Cap and Spider-Man and whoever else switching identities when it pertains to a character that’s been around 40+ years. They’re just looking for ways to keep new readers coming to the books and the “Hey, the old guy is dead and now it’s a new guy!” routine is just one of their go-tos.

seriously's avatar

seriously · 78 weeks ago

The face on your daughter in panel two…I know that face, I’ve caused that face before.

That is the face all women instinctively put on when you’re about ten seconds away from being bitched out for something stupid/insensitive you’ve done or said. The last time I saw that face it was from my niece who I gave a lift to school one day.

Turns out she didn’t think it was funny when you recount a “hilarious” story about the time she sharted herself waiting in line at Disney World.

Who knew?

Kiki's avatar

Kiki · 78 weeks ago

Does your daughter take commissions? I collect octopus art and hang it in my studio, and I’d love to have a piece made by her that I can hang it next to the Josh vs. Jedi Octopus piece you drew me at ECCC a few years back.

Let me know 🙂 girlpirate@gmail.com

1 reply · active 77 weeks ago

I imagine she would appreciate the opportunity.
Tiffany's avatar

Tiffany · 77 weeks ago

my mom went to Hawaii without me. I went on a honeymoon cruise without my daughter & my step kids. occasionally if their grades aren’t good they don’t get to miss school for out of state renaissance fairs or sca wars. But mostly they’re included. they are always included, unless custody agreements or bad grades dictate otherwise. so they go to comic con, & rent fair. star trek lan parties & midnight movies. in return have a family happy wear matching TOS pjs.
Greg's avatar

Greg · 77 weeks ago

A former boss of mine wanted to teach his unruly kids a lesson. He set up a trip to Disney World, suitcases on the roof etc and headed off with the family. He told his kids in the back no squabbling or he’d turn the car around and cancel the holiday. About 30 minutes in the squabbling started so he turned the car around. He knew full well this would happen so he didn’t even bother buying tix or even filling the tank up.
mist's avatar

mist · 76 weeks ago

We got dragged around the martial arts competitions (Dad was a competitor or judge) and he rep’ed for NZ one year and did a whirlwind world tour (including US Disney) but we couldn’t afford for the whole family to go. Still very proud of his accomplishment, he even got a trophy handed to him by the Japanese Emperor.

Most of the time we simply couldn’t afford to go anywhere, as all the money went back into the business, and when we were younger parents kept saying we were to young to really appreciate it anyway.

FanGirl's avatar

FanGirl · 76 weeks ago

Joel, I’m a big fan, I love the strip, I’ve been reading for years.

But, I just have to ask, are you ever going to post new content on a regular basis again? For a while now, you’ve been posting maybe once a week, and I think there were only 3 new strips in December! It just strikes me as a little presumptive of you to ask your readers for donations to support your work when you aren’t really providing us with any content. I don’t mean to be rude, I genuinely just want more to read!

3 replies · active 76 weeks ago

This type of question is better handled via email, but yes I have big plans for 2014. I’ve been taking some time to finish up overdue commitments from 2013 and haven’t made any official announcements because I haven’t really had a grasp on how long these things would take me to complete until now. You should expect new comics, a lot more comics and expect them a lot more often starting next week. I do not think you are trying to be rude, but please understand my position. I am not forcing anyone to support me in any way. I am asking. If you’re answer is “yes,” then I appreciate your support. If your answer is “no,” then we don’t really need to discuss your reasons. Another thing to consider is sometime real life gets in the way of making internet comics. Sometimes people have to take a little time off from their job. Sometimes this is around the holidays, and sometimes they don’t announce to the whole world their reasons for doing this. I am not offended by your comments, and I probably should have said something public sooner, but I needed a break. I needed time to wrap my head around where HE goes from here and I needed to spend some time with my family.
FanGirl's avatar

FanGirl · 76 weeks ago

Hey again! Thanks for the reply. You are absolutely right, and you certainly don’t owe me an explanation! I was just being nosey. 🙂
I’m looking forward to whatever you have coming next! Take care.
The internet is the clingiest of all relationships; one or two nights without a bedtime phonecall telling us “I wuv you”, and we get all freaked out and assume the whole relationship is a lie.

…how the hell did you manage to turn us into a business model?!

He lives!! actually we figured the holidays would be time off for you. I work retail so I just had average random days off while the the rest of North America played.

actually I’m surprised you didn’t make a strip here or there centering around jaded Christmas as an adult or watching the ball drop instead of sleeping lol

S58's avatar

S58 · 75 weeks ago

I’m not really liking the direction the comic has taken, though I respect your decision I’m afraid that I’ll cease to read it frequently.

1 reply · active 70 weeks ago

Why would you post this? What’s the point? Can I use this information? Can it serve any purpose other than to make me feel bad? Just a heads up: NO CREATOR EVER NEEDS TO HEAR THAT YOU’RE DONE, YOU’RE UNFOLLOWING, YOUR UNFRIENDING, YOU’RE NOT READING/LISTENING/DOWNLOADING/ETC/WHATEVER. NEVER. Just never do this again and everyone who could every possibly be involved will be happier and better off.
Great comic!!! Aw… thats cute a little georgia okeefe

All Aboard

As you determine where to spend your hard earned monies this holiday season, might I suggest these fine establishments?

  • The HijiNKS ENSUE Store: Books, Prints, Posters, T-Shirts and more by yours truly!
  • Sharksplode: Geeky T-Shirts by me and Wil Wheaton, made to order!
  • Science & Fiction: My wife’s Etsy shop full of fantastically geeky jewelry!
  • Emily Watson Photography: Give a loved one a beautifully restored photo to remind them of how live used to not be so burned, torn and sepia toned.

If you want to support HijiNKS ENSUE for the holidays, but hate capitalism then perhaps you would enjoy GIVING A DONATION or purchasing sometime on my Amazon Wishlist? All of those ideas sound terrible? Then how about a digital highfive via Twitter or email?

STILL WAITING ON A FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH?: I am still plowing through them. You will have yours in the calendar year of 2013. This I vow! If yours was a time sensitive gift for someone, please email me right away and I will move you to the front of the line.

I’m still recovering/playing catch up from Webcomic Rampage, which was this weekend in Austin, TX [Hence the temporary sketchyness of the comic above. Though it seems a non-zero number of your enjoy the pencils better than the inks/colors. Bunch’a weirdos.]

UPDATE: Inks and colors are done, but you can still see the sketchy version on my Tumblr.

This comic is somewhat inspired by a story I wrote on my Tumblr earlier this year about a father and son I saw at San Diego Comicon. I feel like any self proclaimed geek would do well to adopt “We’re having so much fun, and EVERYONE is invited,” as a personal motto. Better to be a geek ambassador than a geek gatekeeper.

We came home Monday night to the aftermath of DALLAS ICEFUCK 2013. Kiddo thought it was snow that had completely entombed our home, cars, yard, cats, etc. and wanted to go play in it. My initial reaction was, “No, it’s just ice and there’s no way to play on ice without hurting yourself,” to which my wife offered the counterpoint, “Eh, fuck it. Let her go have fun.” She did a bit of running and sliding on her knees, and a bit of falling over on her head just to pop up a quick “thumbs up” to let us know the injuries weren’t fatal. She threw chunk of ice at our fence and watched them explode into powdery crystal puffs with a very satisfying “PFATT!” sound. She stomped holes in the ice that covered the ground to reveal the grass underneath and pried large ice chunks off her swing set then piled them high wherever she saw fit. She frolicked (this is the most literal and perfect demonstration of what it means to FROLIC that I have ever witnessed) for a good hour before bed. She was grinning and laughing and completely enthralled in the simple act of running around and falling down in the ice and I almost deprived her of that joy because it seemed messy or slightly dangerous. I want to learn how to adopt, “Eh, fuck it. Let her have fun,” as more of a mantra in the coming year.

COMMENTERS: As a child or a parent has the  idea of  “Eh, fuck it. Let ’em have fun,” every led to any long lasting memories… or injuries?


Comments (32)

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ThePhysicist's avatar

ThePhysicist · 79 weeks ago

When my now-14yr-old twin boys were 4, they each took a side of a chocolate cake pan and snuck it to their bedroom. I found them nestled on the bottom bunk, elbow-deep in chocolatey goodness and wide-eyed at having been caught. Couldn’t get more than a few words into my best “no-no” speech before breaking. I wiped the laugh-tears from my eyes, climbed in beside them, and grabbed a fistful of cake.

p.s. Shout out from Carrollton. Proud to that you’re local! -Chas

3 replies · active 79 weeks ago

Hah! I used to live in Carrollton right behind that big green belt next to target.
Richter12x2's avatar

Richter12x2 · 79 weeks ago

I used to live in the other apartment complex, just a little further down on the opposite side of the road – not the one with the fountain, but the one where the police used to like to sit and catch speeders.
I was actually in an old neighborhood, not an apartment. We were the youngest people on the street by like 25 years.
I completely agree with the alt text. That, to me, is the only Batman.
FSilvermane's avatar

FSilvermane · 79 weeks ago

I was like 9 and we went to GA to see my Grandparents. It was the year they had like 5 inches in Savannah, GA. I had never been in snow so when it snowed overnight I wanted to go out and explore. Grandma was dead set against it since their house was a 100 year old structure and all the furniture in it except the TV room and soem appliances int he kitchen was antique. Grandpa [the Sicilian]looked at her smiled and said “Feh,… let him have fun,.. whats the worse that can happen”. I immediately ran outside to explore,..Grandpa put on a coat and sat on the porch to watch me. All was well for about an hr till I waled into the field next to the house, forgot the ditch was like 8 feet deep and stepped off into thin air [the grass was cut at same level as the field and snow had covered it all]. I was unhurt but found a whole new fun place under the arch of snow covered grass.
You keep making these beautiful half-finished comics and I’m going to start demanding a geeky Take On Me music video.
You are on a roll here with your comic, Joel. Can I live with you guys so I can be surrounded by the awesome 24/7? I’ll just basically be like the Ben Grimm of the family, except I have better skin (but my dick is also orange and bumpy).

2 replies · active 79 weeks ago

I was cleaning out the guest room until that last sentence.
seriously's avatar

seriously · 79 weeks ago

@ furyoffirestorm78

Either stop eating Cheetos, or wash your hands better before masturbating.

Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 79 weeks ago

We used to jump off a rooftop into a (concrete) sand box for fun, inspired by a “no smoking”-campaign that was intended to warn against the effects of smoking rather than promote jumping off rooftops. One time I was feeling insecure about my jump – we were doing some silly pitching game and our material had run out and I had to go and get it below – and after a slight hesitation decided to take the jump anyway.

I slipped and instead of jumping into the sandbox, fell onto the concrete border on the first week of the summer holidays. I spent the rest of that summer recuperating from several sprains that left me unable to walk decently for a while.

Unrelated to the comment-theme established – Kid needs to be protected from the Bloodwolves, man! The BLOODWOLVES! MAAAAN!
One of your finest, dude.
bubujin_2's avatar

bubujin_2 · 79 weeks ago

Being a guy who has raised two boys with a high level of play in anything they do, everything has pretty much been “oh f–k it, let ’em have fun.” Fortunately nothing’s been so wild that it ever resulted in a season-ending injury.
grneyedgoddess's avatar

grneyedgoddess · 79 weeks ago

One year – when my kids were 6 and 7 – it snowed just after they had fallen asleep. We were packing for a move and I was sad because we were leaving a great yard and the snow would be gone by the time they got up. My husband found an old package of sparklers and we both looked at each other, then at the kids door. We jumped up, woke the kids, wrapped them in robes and boots, and took them outside to play with sparklers in the snow. It was one of our best decisions ever. They still remember it (at 17 and 18) and we have some wonderful photos that we will always treasure.
I love literally everything about this strip Joel.


I’ve had it where I’ve put off studying to goof around with friends. It’s helped a lot sometimes.
Paul's avatar

Paul · 79 weeks ago

Two words that anyone who grew up during the 80s/90s in NYC suburbs of NY/NJ/PA/CT know that relate to this: Traction Park

1 reply · active 79 weeks ago

Hah! I watched the trailer for that doc recently. Seems terrifying.
Debs's avatar

Debs · 79 weeks ago

My dad was the king of “ah F it, let them have fun.” He was the inventor of tackle red light, green light, the game that never ended without tears. He let us ride on the bumper of the truck on our dirt road until I fell off the bumper and tore up my elbow. The greatest thing he ever configured for fun was a fiberglass half pipe for skate boarding reinvented as a water slide. It was the greatest thing ever, but I think I still have fiberglass slivers in my thighs thirty years later.
Fren's avatar

Fren · 79 weeks ago

I can only agree. Nerd/geek culture is the best culture because it’s INCLUSIVE. We’d never make fun of you for not knowing something! We’d just explain it to you … at length … verbosely … with footnotes.

1 reply · active 79 weeks ago

…and side digressions. And we’re not afraid of ellipses, either!
Leigh's avatar

Leigh · 79 weeks ago

I took my daughter to her first sdcc at about 3. we had to stop at all the booths with transformers. she’s 13 now, and spent most of the day in the anime film festival last con. we live in SD, so its our home con. I usually only get day passes and hit the exhibit floor, and hug all my friends. there are plenty of times when we’ve mixed up a batch of cookie dough, & eaten half or more raw. the time I let the two teenaged girls hike/float alone 2 miles down the big sur river is the one that left me worried. then they called from the campsite down river and asked for a ride back.
Kat 's avatar

Kat · 79 weeks ago

We didn’t have any hills to speak of where I grew up so my dad passed down a tradition from his. He hooked up a couple of sleds to the back of his pickup and pulled us up and down the street. My mom was horrified but let us go. After a couple of runs the other neighbor kids were at the end of their driveways holding sleds wearing their best puppy eyes. By the end there was a train of eight or nine sleds behind his truck.
noteventhesameguy's avatar

noteventhesameguy · 79 weeks ago

As I sit here in Denton watching MST3K with my eldest daughter before she goes back to her Pokemon Yellow game (we’ve already watched all the Netflix episodes of Doctor Who), I kinda love ya for posting these last few comics.
LMcCJ's avatar

LMcCJ · 78 weeks ago

We always start with, “yes” then add conditions afterward. Walking into nursery school one day, there was a massive mud puddle. My daughter had a twinkle in her eyes and I said, “After school, not before.” I picked her up later and, with sufficient clearance from other , let her stomp away. She was filthy, my car seat got a little dirty but she was happy and the envy from the other students… It’s astounding how many parents won’t let their children jump in puddles.
When my now 15 yo daughter was 3, we went camping with her best friend’s (also3) family. I had brought a large amount of finger paint for the girls to paint rocks. One the last day, we put the girls in my tent to play, while I helped her friend’s mother pack up her tent. All of a sudden, we realized the girls were being too quiet. (You know that feeling, I’m sure) We looked over and the girls had gotten out of the tent and into my bin with the paints. They had by this point open every paint container and emptied them by painting each other head to toe. My first reaction was to be upset, but the other mother’s first reaction was to laugh and grab her camera. Because of her reaction, I was able to see the humor in it and in future situations. I also have the most awesome picture of the two girls that I can torment them with forever!

If You Leave Me Now

As you determine where to spend your hard earned monies this holiday season, might I suggest these fine establishments?

  • The HijiNKS ENSUE Store: Books, Prints, Posters, T-Shirts and more by yours truly!
  • Sharksplode: Geeky T-Shirts by me and Wil Wheaton, made to order!
  • Science & Fiction: My wife’s Etsy shop full of fantastically geeky jewelry!
  • Emily Watson Photography: Give a loved one a beautifully restored photo to remind them of how live used to not be so burned, torn and sepia toned.

If you want to support HijiNKS ENSUE for the holidays, but hate capitalism then perhaps you would enjoy GIVING A DONATION or purchasing sometime on my Amazon Wishlist? All of those ideas sound terrible? Then how about a digital highfive via Twitter or email?



[Writing this on Friday 12/6/13: Due to a freak ice storm in Dallas, I had to move up my travel plans to go to Austin by a day and in the process lost two days of drawing time. Please enjoy this rough sketch version of the comic. I’ll ink and color it this weekend and re-upload]

[Update 12/7/13: Hey, it’s the finished comic! Super-refresh real hard if you don’t see it. The sketchy version is saved over on my Tumblr.]

My wife and I took our daughter to her first convention (in costume as Raven from Teen Titans) a few weeks back. It was important to me that she see the insane shrine to creativity and capitalism that pulls me away a dozen or so times a year first hand. I didn’t like that she knew I went away for 4 or 5 days a month to something called a “convention” but really had no concept of what that meant. It was a spectacle and certainly too much for her to take in (“MAN! My Little Pony is REALLY popular here!” she commented.), but at least now she can picture in her head the nerd Bacchanalia that I am consumed by when I’m away.

COMMENTERS: Can you remember a time as a child when you were brought to a place or event and simply awestruck by the size, grandeur, insanity or horror of it all? Did you ever go back as an adult? How did it compare?

Comments (21)

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Oh yeah, all the time, the event was called “church” and we went all the time when I was a kid but then when I grew up and went back it was just really, really creepy.

3 replies · active 79 weeks ago

Aw man, you beat me to it! We were Jehovah’s Witnesses when I was a kid, so we went to church 3 or 4 times a week, plus these giant conventions a couple of times a year! It felt like a punishment, and the level of commitment people had just blew my young mind. I stopped going as soon as I moved out on my own, but I went back a few years later for a memorial service, and it was just… weird. I discovered I am not the church type, to say the least!
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 79 weeks ago

The synagogue I grew up in was all about community and basically a social thing, so now that I’ve grown up and moved and such going to services feels really weird. They may be awesome people but they’re not MY community, and it’s hard to shake that expectation even when you know it’s silly.
Am I the only one who still goes to church by choice?
Lurkie's avatar

Lurkie · 80 weeks ago

Vegas is a good one, we went there every xmas when i was a kid – Gramma liked the penny slots. But the first thing that popped into my head was DismalLand. You know, the Tragic Kingdom? Loved it as a kid, now my kids love it and I hate it. Too crowded, too expensive. Plus, my brain doesn’t like being rattled around inside my skull by rollercoasters anymore now that I’m old. (Does 43 years qualify me to be yelling “Get off my lawn!”?)
lou's avatar

lou · 80 weeks ago

When I was a lad, I think of 10, my dad took me and my brother to this car show at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. So many weird looking cars! All shiny and new and totally-never-been used on the road. But the real treat was getting to meet none other than Ed “Big Daddy” Roth! He drew us a Ratfink on a shirt we still have (framed of course), and yes, he was wearing the hat!
Josh's avatar

Josh · 80 weeks ago

You should save the sketch version! While the finished products look great, it is fascinating to see “how it’s made”. Keep up the great work!
TJ "Kiltman"Anderson's avatar

TJ “Kiltman”Anderson · 80 weeks ago

Reminds me of when I was a kid and dad took me to drag racing and monster truck / tractor pulls.. didn’t realize then what a bunch of <insert stereotypical cliche of your choice here> it was full of.. did not wish to be associated with/by them
bubujin_2's avatar

bubujin_2 · 80 weeks ago

Probably going to Disney World (Florida) as a not-too-youngish kid on a summer family vacation, then going to Disney Land (California) when in college (perhaps twice, once without family), and a couple of times to Tokyo Disney Land as an adult with kid/kids. Except for the lines and the schmaltz it’s always been a fun time, although enjoyed a little differently from a grownup’s perspective.
Tricia's avatar

Tricia · 80 weeks ago

Steampunk Fionna? Is this a thing? 😮
I went to Star Trek cons at a very young age, but I wasn’t totally blown away by it. I had been going to rock concerts since before I can remember, and when events escape the edge of perception, it stretches your mind like nothing else. Or maybe it was the haze of pot, tobacco and heroin smoke.Also, cookies in stick form is something I miss. No hassle of fitting it in a mug of cocoa!

Tony's avatar

Tony · 79 weeks ago

My uncle took me to GenCon the year before they moved from Milwaukee to Indianapolis. There was all sorts of sharp, geeky stuff, and there was sci-fi that wasn’t Star Wars or Star Trek (I was sheltered in Junior High in 2002…). I haven’t been to their shiny new city yet, but I want to, just as soon as I stop spending my summers unemployed with student loans hanging over me like a monthly trio of swords of Damocles…
cookiesandmeme's avatar

cookiesandmeme · 79 weeks ago

How DARE you invite people to remember ANYTHING about Attack of the Clones?!…This has really put a damper on our relationship, Joel.

cookiesandmeme's avatar

cookiesandmeme · 79 weeks ago

P.S. Your family might be the coolest family.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 79 weeks ago

A couple of years after Jurassic Park came out (so I would have been 11-12 or so) dad ditched work and we ditched school to drive to Albuquerque for a technology expo. The keynote presentation was about the CG that went into JP (remember this was a Big Deal back when the movie came out) and it was absolutely worth the trip, but the rest of the expo was totally over my head. I could tell it was interesting stuff, but it was not interesting stuff aimed at being digested by kids.
Daundelyon's avatar

Daundelyon · 79 weeks ago

My parents took me to the local Renaissance festival the year it opened and I was immediately hooked on all things medieval and renaissance. Somehow though, I didn’t go back for almost seven years. When I did go back, it was to audition for a job.
cbrichar's avatar

cbrichar · 79 weeks ago

The Vatican. Whether a card carrying member of the church or a dirty heathen like me, I defy anyone to step in and not be moved by the breathtaking artistry of the works and architecture therein, with the understanding that, somehow, *humans* made this.

1 reply · active 79 weeks ago

Jeff A's avatar

Jeff A · 78 weeks ago

When I was probably 8 or 9 and my Dad took me to Fenway Park for the first time. Walking up the ramp, coming up into the stands and seeing the whole stadium open up in front of me. Grandeur galore!
Leigh's avatar

Leigh · 77 weeks ago

a grateful dead concert at 14. It was at a football stadium in Vegas. I got a contact high and fell asleep on the lawn to drums and space. No one harassed the cute sleeping underage girl.

Mister Jay's avatar

Mister Jay · 79 weeks ago

I like these arcs. I keep waiting to see a strip where someone whose been too jaded by the abuses of decisions finally sees something that rekindles their faith to come back to geekdom and a welcoming arm is offered and someone says “Welcome home”. It’s beautiful. And also a very positive message your sending your daughter. Just prepare her for the few geeks that war over whose series is better. Not all of geekdom is love and friendship after all.