Nth Class

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.

I have only experienced a full Planecouch once in my life. It was a rare and wonderful bit of magic. Upon realizing my good fortune, I actually raised all the armrests and laid down across all three seats. I was like a king in one of those big king chairs, except 50,000 feet in the sky and going like 300 miles an hour. It was some of the most baller shit I have ever been apart of. I almost had a second Planecouch once, but fate had crueler designs for me.

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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

https://www.etsy.com/listing/200762224/doctor-who-inspired-sonic-screwdriver

Where Wings Take Dream

TORONTO FANCY BASTARDS! I will be with Cyanide & Happiness at FANExpo Canada, August 28-31 at booth 456! I’ll have lots of shirts and prints and we’ll be doing sketches all weekend. We’ll also be hosting the 3rd annual Toronto Banana Bar Crawl! I hope to see you there! MORE INFO HERE! 

This is basically a true story. I am not an easy sleeper. I can pretty much only sleep in my bed, in my house and even then it’s pretty hit or miss. Sleeping at night is a learned skill for me, and I learned it using certain tools. Replace those tools with a fold out couch in Denver or an air mattress in Seattle and all the learning just fades away. I did, however, manage to sleep in an airport just once. I can’t remember which convention I was coming home from, but I know I hadn’t slept in at least 2 days. I had to quickly lay claim to a spot and devise a plan that would A) wake me up on time) and B) alert me if any of my stuff was moved. I think I had 2 suitcases and a backpack, so I held the backpack like a baby and tied the suitcases to my feet using a luggage strap. I put my phone, with the alarm set as loud as it would go, in my pocket, my glasses in my suitcase and my headphones in my ears. I rolled over and proceeded to drool and twitch while unconscious for a solid 45 minutes. My only real hope was that I would look just crazy enough that no one would think to bother me. I suppose it worked, because I awoke unrefreshed and unmolested. Airport Terminal sleep is anything but restful. At that point it was just necessary for survival. It was the sleep equivalent of eating your own leg to survive. Considering the cost and quality of airport sandwiches, that might have also been a necessary tactic.

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COMMENTERS: Where’s the oddest place you’ve ever slept, or the most inappropriate/unfortunate thing you’ve ever slept through?

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

https://www.etsy.com/listing/200762224/doctor-who-inspired-sonic-screwdriver

The Show Is Over, Say Goodbye

David is my con-wife, and thus it is my responsibility to take care of him. I make sure he gets where he needs to be, that he’s well fed and that he stays hydrated during the day. Any free food or snacks or luxuries of any kind that I am afforded via fans or acquaintances, I do my best to share with him. In return he doesn’t put up too much of a fight when I convince him that any free booze “WE” were given by fans was actually meant for “ME” and I am “PROBABLY” going to “SHARE” it with him. He also repays me in how he falls asleep very quickly at night and lays there, mostly silent, while I stare at the ceiling wishing I could sleep in any bed other than my own. That is, unless I try to watch TV or keep the lights on past his bedtime. Then he gets VERRRRY cranky.

The pants difficulties depicted above actually happened to David and his MARITAL wife as we all were leaving Seattle this year. I’d like to take credit, but, “The more you pull it, the longer it gets!” is an actual thing David, an actual adult human, exclaimed in an airport as his MARITAL wife pawed and grasped at his crotchital region. At that moment, the muse spoke to me, and I wrote down everything he said. It was poetry in pants problems.

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COMMENTERS: Do you have a con-wife, or a work-spouse,  or a consummate travel partner or any other kind of oddly intimate, but non-sexual relationship that seems to only activate in a certain place or while performing a certain activity?

The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)

Last month the HijiNKS ENSUE Patreon went over $1500, which means 4 new comics a week is in full effect! This is the 1st new HE comic for this week. Here’s hoping I can keep it going. At $2000/mo we hit 5 new comics a week, and that’s when I flee to the desert and hug a cactus until a family of rattlesnakes makes a home in my skull.

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I’ve been planning to draw the final panel of this comic for several months now. It is my favorite image of David Willis that I have ever drawn. I cannot say that this has really happened 100% as depicted above, but I also cannot say that we’re totally doing this the next time we see each other. I expect our money will get mixed up, and then we’ll have to sort out which money belongs to whom the way our founding fathers did: By adding up who has the most Transformers and giving all the money to the other guy.

Conventions are a weird thing. They cost a ton, they drain you physically and mentally and they usually destroy whatever productivity or momentum you had going on with your regular work, but we (cartoonists) are compelled to keep doing them. I can honestly say that 80-90% of the drive for doing conventions is getting to see my comic-friends. Sometimes the money is good and it comes just when I’m not sure how I’m going to pay the mortgage, and getting to interact with readers face to face is a real treat, but the friendships are the thing I would feel like I was missing out on the most if I stopped going.

Being a traveling Internet cartoonist is like carrying on a dozen or so long distance relationships. Sure, you can text and skype and stay in touch via Twitter and Facebook, but you don’t really get to build new memories or new shared experiences until you’re getting kicked out of a hotel lobby together because that particular hotel doesn’t allow drunken pizza parties at the coat check desk at 4am and WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU ANYWAY TO TELL ME WHERE I CAM… WHERE I CAM… WHERE I CAN AND CAN’T HAVE A PIZZA PARTY DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO I DRAW BRO ARE YOU EVEN A INTERNET?!

Anyway, it’s a fun time more often than not and a necessary recharge for the relationships in my life that happen one weekend at a time, four to five times a year. I have to pack a lot of living into that single weekend in order to feel like my con-friends aren’t so far away once I get home. Hotel lobby or not, we ARE having that drunken pizza party, dammit.

 

Comicon Uber All Us

Last month the HijiNKS ENSUE Patreon went over $1500, which means 4 new comics a week is in full effect! This is the 4th new HE comic for this week. Here’s hoping I can keep it going. At $2000/mo we hit 5 new comics a week, and that’s when I flee to the desert and hug a cactus until a family of rattlesnakes makes a home in my skull.

becomepatron

I’ve enjoyed being able to share some of the weirdness of traveling to comic conventions with you Fancy Bastards via this story line. The sideways, backwards, wrong way Uber icon thing actually happened to me and Rob Denbleyker from Cyanide and Happiness at SDCC. We just stood on the street corner watching the icon twist and turn, go through buildings and circle back the wrong way. The part about the lady attendant in the men’s room was actually a thing I freaked out about at SDCC, though I did manage to keep my composure. It didn’t care that it was a lady in the men’s room. I paused for a second, thinking I was in the wrong place, but it certainly wasn’t the idea of a strange lady looking at my back while I pee that worried me. I simply cannot come to terms with the concept of bathroom attendants in general.

So many questions come to mind. Are they just standing there silent staring at urinals when no one is in there? Are they relieved or annoyed when someone does arrive? How do they feel about doing a completely unnecessary job  that actually ads multiple levels of complexity and confusion to a very simple process? Washing your own hands and grabbing a paper towel out of a dispenser is an uncomplicated process. It’s also the culmination of what is, for most, a PRIVATE activity. Introducing an addition human being between you and the hand washing apparatus is orders of magnitude more convoluted than NOT doing that for everyone involved. I want to tell them to let me do it myself, but that somehow seems rude. What if you ran into the bathroom to have a horrific emergency type toilet experience and then came out and had to face a pretty, smiling women who knows EVERYTHING you just went through? Should she pat you on the back and offer condolences? Should she avert her eyes and shame you for your misdeeds?  What about the ones that try to sell you things? Candy, cologne and condoms: The 3 C’s of bathroom attending. Who in their right mind would buy toilet candy from a bathroom lady? What if she was in no way identified as an employee of the establishment?  Would you buy food from a strange women who was hanging out in the men’s room? EVERYTHING about bathroom attendants give me cause for alarm and distress. 

[UPDATE 8/26/14]
I won’t be using Uber again until they publicly disavow their anti-competitive practices and apologize for “Project SLOG.”

Uber, on the other hand, is a fucking magical dream (despite the app glitch depicted in this silly comic). Traveling from city to city and con to con for the last 7 years has taught be a lot about the misery of public transportation. I’ve stood in the rain for 30+ minutes, frantically trying to hail a NYC cab only to have it snatched out from under me by some cab-sniper ranting and raving about how he saw it first, from his vantage point around the corner and behind a bush. With Uber, you set up your account (takes about 3 minutes), then press THE button, the ONLY button in the app. The button that says, “Send a driver to my current GPS location (or the location of my choosing if I want to move the little location dot over to the street corner or whatever), and have them be in a clean and newish car, and show me on a map exactly how far away they are and every turn they make along the way, and text me when they get here. Also make them have my number to call me in case they have a hard time locating me, or if I’m drunk and I tell them I’m at 4th and B, when I’m actually at 4th and E (which is a thing I did). And just for grins, let me rate their performance when they’re done to weed out the shitty drivers from the system.” Like I said, It’s a god damn “We live in the glorious future” amazing miracle service. We used it exclusively in San Diego this year and it made EVERYTHING about a normally untenable situation (getting to and from the Convention Center each day) a delight.

Uber is a disruptive technology that is clearly superior to traditional cab companies in every way, which is why traditional cab companies are so scared of them. I say to the cab companies, Improve your service, compete instead of shut out, or watch me laugh as you are BURNED TO THE GROUND.  This year at SDCC, me and Dave from Cyanide & Happiness had this one driver who played us “Funkytown” and The Gap Band and told us stories about riding around in his custom van, listening to The Gap Band and smoking weed when he was a young man. He was our angel and I’ve missed him every day since.