Webcomic Rampage 2014 Fancy Sketches


The idea is simple, but the technology behind it is VAST and COMPLICATED!

It works like this: 

  • The willing participant presses the big, red, impressive button
  • The machine SPRING TO LIFE whirring and gyrating and buzzing
  • When it finishes processing your individual, one of a kind sketch topic, you will hear a distinctive DING!
  • 2 topic cards are spit out of the machine and placed on the sketch generation matrix
  • The user may then choose to ad a multiplier card that will irrevocably alter the sketch in heretofore unimaginable ways!
  • The machine’s operator (known as: The Artist) begins generating the one of a kind sketch using pencils and pens and paper like some horribly out of date 2D printer

Basically I was getting a lot of similar sketch requests at conventions, OR I was getting  a lot of “I don’t know, draw whatever you want,” type requests, so I developed this system to ensure there was always a decisive sketch idea ready to go, and that no two sketches would ever be exactly the same. I’ve tested it out for the first time at Dragon’s Lair Webcomic Rampage in Austin and the results were incredibly amusing. Plus the whole process of “THE MACHINE” is pretty fun.

I’ll definitely be bringing The Sketch-A-Matic to conventions where I exhibit as HijiNKS ENSUE (but not the ones where I’m sketching with Cyanide & Happiness).

The Fleece Whisperer

There is no greater feeling than that of one’s own bed, except perhaps for the feeling of one’s own bed after an extended period of time away from one’s own bed. It’s akin to abstaining from sex, so that when you finally do it you have all this pent up sext-time energy… except with sleep.

To say that I have “pent up sleep” after a convention is putting it mildly. On my best traveling sleep behavior, I manage to achieve unconsciousness for a period greater than two hours each night. At my worst (which is FAR more common), I do not actually sleep. I get in the bed, lay there for some amount of time, then get up and get ready for the show at the appropriate hour. A fair breakdown of my con sleep schedule is Night 1: 5-6 hours, Night 2: 3-4 hours, Night 3: 0-3 hours, Night 4: #BLOOOOOOOD.

My Fancy Patrons got to read this comic before anyone else! 


Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Dalek earrings my wife made! They’re in her Etsy store and ready to EXTERMINATE your… lack of perfect ear jewelry?  

dalek earrings etsy science and fiction

Absence Makes The Cat Go Bonkers

Every single time I come home from traveling one of my cats has completely forgotten I ever existed, and the other is positive I am an undead replicant or possible a million alien bugs wearing a Joel suit. The apathetic one, Replay, briefly looks up from licking his own asshole, then gets right back to chowing down. The paranoid idiot one, Tivo, tears across the house as soon as he sees me, then takes refuge either under my bed or between my night stand and the wall. Two places that I, as a human with arms and legs, obviously have no way of ever infiltrating.

Tivo is your basic fuzzy dumbass. Just fuzzy as all get out, and as dumb as the day long. These are things that do not terrify Tivo: me sitting in a chair. Me walking through the room. These are things that ABSOLUTELY terrify Tivo: Me getting up from sitting in a chair, me walking through the room wearing sandals, me walking through the room holding something in my hands, me walking in the direction that he is also walking in, me doing a thing, a thing happening, me standing up and then a thing happens… you get the idea. His primary fears are me, things, happenings, and most other all of it.


Replay, the other one, couldn’t give two shits connected by a piece of string that he ate (A real thing that has happened in my house several times. We call them “poop-chucks.”) if I lived or died. The only thing that leads me to think he might prefer my death is that I get the distinct impression he wants to hollow out my chest cavity and take up residence in my rib cage. It’s hard to explain why I think this. Some cats, just give off that vibe, you know?

Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Sonic Screwdriver earrings my wife made! 

sonic screwdriver earings matt smith elevelth doctor who etsy


Learning Through Osmosis

 This is such a true story, it is MULTIPLE true stories. With an S. The first time this happened I was in Toronto and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls toys were being debuted at the show. Kiddo was obsessed with the movie and I was missing her first day of 1st grade to be at this particular convention, so I wanted to get her a cool gift. I went up to the booth and browsed what was in the case. There was a mother with her young daughter, 8 or 9 years old (American years… no idea what the Canadian metric conversion age is.), and it quickly became clear that we were looking at the same things. I feared her mother had warned her about the “grown men who like to play with ponies,” of which I was not one, but CLEARLY appeared to be one at that moment. I almost said aloud, “I’m shopping for my DAUGHTER,” but I thought better of uttering what is likely the shameful battle cry of the self-hating adult pony enthusiast.

My Patrons can see the original last panel to the previous comic which spawned the writing process for THIS comic [HERE]. 


A more subtle approach would be to ask, “How old is your daughter? Mine is 6 and she LOVES this stuff.” But as I thought the words they immediately became twisted and creepy. “HoWwWwww OLLLLLD izzzz yoURRR DAWWWWWWTERRRRRR?!?!? [pant pant hisssssssss]” Better to just smile as un-creepily as possible and wait for the booth worker to come over. She arrived and addressed the little girl first. “I want Twilight!” she belted enthusiastically. “OK, just let me get one from the back, eh? [aboot soory]” the associate replied. I had already been away from my booth for longer than I intended, so I just raised my hand and said, “Make that two.” I might as well have said, “I’ll have what she’s having,” then given the mom a wink and a pair of finger guns. Then I could just hold my wrists together and wait for security to put them in handcuffs. A more direct approach would have been, “I’LL HAVE THE SAME PONY THAT THE CHILD IS HAVING! I’LL HAVE IT FOR MY OWNNNNN!”

Anyway, I felt goofy buying it at a convention, but Kiddo loved it and that was the point. A year or so later at SDCC I had the exact same experience, only more so humiliating. My con-wife, David, had procured through man-child sorcery a special VIP pass to the Hasbro booth, which let you skip the massive line of other man-children and purchase whatever they were offering that reminded you of when you were young and alive and so much further away from an inevitable death. David and I made the death march from the webcomics area of the floor to the Hasbro booth which, while only being about 10 rows away, took a good 30 minutes to reach in SDCC time. The cases were full of robots and ponies and maybe some robot ponies, but definitely NO pony robots. I flashed my VIP (Very Impressive Pony) badge and was ushered to the front of an impossible long line.

To my chagrin, I learned that all of the stuff in the cases was not, in fact, for sale and was, in fact, for filling space in cases. The only thing they sold at this booth was convention exclusive toys, most of which cost upwards of $50-$100. I usually spend about $20 on Kiddo’s convention gift and maybe another $10 on comics for her. The cheapest thing they had, that would be of any interest to her at all was $35. It was a limited edition pony who was based on a character from an episode that she had seen, but who only actually appeared in the comics, which she had not read. I had come all of this way, and no booth was going to have shorter line than this. Maybe she would think the “con exclusive” aspect of it was cool. Whatever. “I’ll take a… Mane-iac Mayhem Equestria Girl.” The booth worker looked at me like, “Of course you will, Beardo,” and wrapped it up.

I wiki’d the character once I got back to the booth, so I could at least know what I was presenting to my child. That’s how it happens. That’s how you get THE KNOWING. Not, necessarily by being interested in your kid’s toys and shows themselves, but by being interested in your kid. Granted, there are lots of things she’s into that I am GENUINELY into. Adventure Time, Minecraft, Ninja Turtles… Our Venn Diagram of interests has plenty of legitimate overlap. MLP: FiMOMGLOL just isn’t my bag, and so I feel like a goofus when I have to display my uncharacteristically extensive knowledge of the subject matter.

My daughter lives in a world where everything she likes is the universally adored, coolest stuff ever. “How could anyone NOT like Littlest Pet Shop?! [I could list 1000 reasons] It’s the COOLEST! [It is not]” But, rather than be the dad who “doesn’t get it, doesn’t WANT to get it,” I want to be the dad who begrudgingly watches the overly bubbly, hyper manic, highest possible pitched shouting matches that are her favorite shows, so that when she wants to talk about them (which is always), I will have more to say than, “That’s nice, Kiddo.”

The problems occur when I actually start to have opinions about this stuff. Like how, in a world with three distinct evolutionary offshoots of the dominant species, where one of the subsets is so much more powerful than the other two as to make them appear crippled, does a caste system not naturally develop? Here’s how a real world Equestria would break down: Unicorns on top, ruling the Pegasi and Earth Ponies with an iron hoof. Just dominating every aspect of pony life and taking what they want, when they want, from whomever they want. They are telekinetic magic users in a community where everyone else can’t even get a book off the shelf without gnawing at it with their teeth! The pegasi are their enforcers. They are still subjugated by the unicorns, but they are awarded special privileges for keeping the Earth ponies in line. The Earth ponies are garbage. Just pure, fucking nonsense garbage. They dig trenches, and break rocks, and pull shit around in carts and probably serve as a food source for the upper classes.

Bare minimum, this shit is all going down 5 minutes after the unicorns figure out magic. Extrapolate a bit further, probably after an uprising or two, and the unicorns have completely wiped out the other two classes and enslaved… I don’t know… whatever species Strawberry Shortcake is.

Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Sonic Screwdriver earrings my wife made! 

sonic screwdriver earings matt smith elevelth doctor who etsy


When I Say Pants, You Best Pants…

Update 09-03-14: GAH! Toronto Fan Expo was a ton of fun, but the preparation, time spent there, time traveling home and recovery have and ARE costing me greatly in terms of productivity. I am frantically trying to update/backdate new comics so there are 4 a week for every week. I’m doing my best. Luckily I don’t have much travel planned for the rest of the year.

The only real, honest reason to be your own boss and work from home (as I am and do) is to have the power to decide when to wear pants. Of course there’s the freedom, and the fulfillment and the loving the work and the blah blah blah, but primarily it’s the pants thing. It’s not so much deciding when actually to WEAR pants (because no sane, self actualized person would ever consciously decide to put on pants while not under duress), as much as it is deciding when and how often to perform activities that REQUIRE you to wear the pants. Got a bill that requires you to go somewhere and pay it in person? That’s a pants bill! Cancel that service immediately! Need to go to a store and buy a thing? No you don’t! You already have too much shit! Don’t create a pants problem where none exists. Trying to meet a potential mate who doesn’t already live in your house? Just die alone! Why prolong the inevitable, and why prolong the pants?

The typical career path of the self employed, creative type is slowly but surely whittling down “pants time” to the absolute minimum, with the ultimate goal being achieving a state of “Pants Zero.” It’s like Absolute Zero or Inbox Zero, but for pants. This is honestly the closest any self employed creative is ever going to get to the concept of retirement. We typically understand that we’re all going to die at our drawing desks, or keyboards, or pianos with a big grin on our faces. Working ever increasingly more and harder (not smarter) as one approaches death IS the plan. The only way to sweeten the already sweet lifetime of sweet toil is to make sure while the graph line of “time spent working / age” goes steeply from the bottom left to the top right, that the line for “time spent working /  wearing pants” starts at the bottom left and declines sharply right off the page.

I am extremely lucky in that I am not wearing pants right now, and I am rarely called upon to do so. It’s like when you try and do the dishes and they somehow come out dirtier than before, then people eventually stop asking you to do the dishes. I have time and time again displayed my ineptitude at being a person who puts on pants to get the mail, or answer the door. Eventually people just stopped expecting it of me, and I move ever closer to my Pants Zero goal. I have maybe two pants days a week, and even then it’s usually only for 2-4 pant-hours at a time (a pants-hour is calculated as two time’s a regular hour, because of how shitty it makes you feel and how everything sucks twice as much when you’re wearing pants). Seriously, though. Fuck pants.


Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Sonic Screwdriver earrings my wife made! 

sonic screwdriver earings matt smith elevelth doctor who etsy