Toronto Fan Expo 2012 Fancy Sketches

HijiNKS ENSUE At Dallas Animefest

This weekend I’ll be at Dallas Animefest with Rob from Explosm. We’ll be in the dealer room, terrified of glomping cat-girls and Sailor Bubbas alike. I’ll have both HE Books, Prints, sketch cards, “Grammar Dalek” Shirts and “The Doctor Is In” shirts.

This was my first Toronto Fan Expo, but my second time in Toronto. Once again, I found the city and it’s comic-loving citizens to be as kind as pleasant as the Canadian Constitution requires them to be under penalty of mild reprimand. I only had one goal for my weekend in Toronto, which was to dine once again at Korean Grill House. This is a restaurant where you are given a table that is on fire, tray after tray of raw meat, some tongs and ZERO instructions, guidance or supervision of any sort. It’s $10 all you can (m)eat, and I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite place in the world. I wondered if I was hyping it up to my friends too much, but after seeing them marvel at the quantity and quality of meats, the looks of childlike wonder at the thought of throwing said meats into a flaming grill that was built into the table, and their amazement as we elected to reward ourselves for consuming our own weights in meat with celebratory milkshakes, I knew that I was significantly UNDERhyping the fantastical nature of this (m)eatery. If you are visiting Toronto, there is a KGH on Bloor and another on Queens. The service is terrible, the staff is incredibly uninterested in bringing you more lukewarm soda, and the bathroom was unusable, so please take all of that into consideration when I STILL DEMAND that it is my favorite place to eat.

I left the con a day early so I could get home in time to accompany my daughter to her first day of kindergarten. Delta lied to me and told me even though my flight from Buffalo to NYC was late I would definitely still make my connection to DFW. I was still on the first plane when my connecting flight home took off. Even if every plane had been on time, the flights were scheduled 27 minutes apart. Given the 15-20 minutes it takes to de-board the first plane, the time it would take to get to the other terminal (which was a “bus ride” away according to my flight attendent) and the time to board the following flight there was essentially no way possible for this connection to be made. Delta sold me an impossible flight, lied to me about my chances of making it home, then when presented with a plane load of passengers that missed their connections the Delta agents elected to offer us NOTHING as compensation. No flights into TX (for me at least), no flights on other airlines that might have gotten us to our destinations, no hotel and no travel vouchers.

The dead-eyed, policy spewing assfaces I spoke to (Shout outs to Kentun and Chris the PO at Delta in LaGuardia!) made it clear that if I had been the only one affected I would have been taken care of, but since their error screwed 10-15 people NO ONE would be given any sort of consideration. “What would you have me do? Give ALL THESE PEOPLE a hotel?” Oh, the people your company lied to, bilked and stranded hundreds if not thousands of miles from home? Yes, I would. That would be doing the right thing. Delta had an opportunity to make me a customer for life that night. Instead they made me miss my little girl’s first day of school, lose hundreds of dollars by skipping a day of the convention for no reason, and through their arrogance and lack of compassion they lost a customer (who spends nearly $5000 a year on air travel) FOREVER.

COMMENTERS: Please feel free to share your stories about Toronto, Fan Expo, Korean BBQ, or air trave nightmares.  

Grammar Dalek Shirts Plus New Fighting Time Lords Shirts!

GRAMMAR DALEK SHIRTS ARE HERE! 

The preorder starts today.

There is also a new version of the Fighting Time Lords shirt (created by me and Wil Wheaton) up for preorder.

It is moving from Sharksplode to my Blind Ferret store so that we’ll be able to bring them to conventions (something fans have been asking about for a long time).

The preorders will determine how many of these shirts get made, so if you’ve been wanting either one please place your order in the next few days. If the preorder goes well, I should be able to have these shirts at my next couple of conventions rather than waiting until next year to take them on the road.

I also wanted to remind you that there are 5 HE shirts that likely won’t be printed again and are selling for only $12.95.

Several sizes of each are already selling out. If you want one of these, now is a great time to get it since we need to make room for the new designs.

Thanks!

~Joel

 

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?

 

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.