CRUISE FUNDRAISER UPDATE: All 100 “Bridge Collapse” prints are sold, signed, packed and shipping as I type. If you ordered, you’ll get a shipping email soon.

Me and Wil Wheaton made some shirts for you to put on your body

I have mixed feelings about the ending of Fringe (warning you now, I will definitely be posting SPOILERS]. On one hand, I LOOOOOVED the show, loved the characters, loved the intricate, interweaving plots and subplots and especially loved John Noble’s mushy grandpa face that he wants me to kiss the cheeks of because he is my crazy science grandpa. On the other hand (and this is coming from someone who just said all of those things that I just said), I think they finished telling the story of Fringe a season ago when they finally realized William Bell was the big bad all along and defeated him.

Every mystery established since the pilot: what’s with all the weirdo science crap happening all over the place, who’s this dude David Robert Jones, and what’s his deal, why is Olivia so special, why is Peter so SUPER special, who are the ZFT and are they the bad guys, who are the observers and are THEY the bad guys, who is William Bell and IS HE the bad guy, what happened to Walter’s brain, what’s the deal with Nina and Massive Dynamic and ARE THEY the bad guy? All of these questions were answered to my satisfaction by the time Olivia took the bullet to the head on Belly’s boat.

Everything that happens after that point (and really everything that happens in the first half of season 4) is basically non-integral to the overall story arch of Fringe. Especially considering all the timeline reboots and in-universe retcons that take place in parts of season 4 and the entirety of season 5, those literally do not effect the plot. That said, I did enjoy nearly every episode of the final two seasons. It was great TV and great Sci-Fi. I’m just not sure that all of it was necessary. The argument could even be made that the last two seasons kind of muddy up the mythos of Fringe and detract more than they add. The showrunner already apologized for the “Peter never existed” plot (which should have been 2, maybe 3 episodes max). If you completely ignore the vanishing Peter aspects of season 4, it makes an appropriate endcap for the series (assuming Peter would have gotten out of the machine alive having healed the mutliverse, instead of teleporting to a future war zone). And the “Observers invasion” final season was quite enjoyable, but it was a completely different story from what seemed like a completely different show. It was a ballsy move (skipping 21 years between TV seasons), but I don’t think it was needed.

The Observers might be the one thing that required a bit more explanation by the time Olivia took the bullet and saved the universe(s) once and for all, but I think they could have tied a nice little bow around their existence with one final scene where either Olivia or Walter are greeted by September, who explains how they are from 600 years in the future and how they’ve been intervening in Walter, Olivia and Peter’s lives in order to make sure the two universes were healed. The end. The “we broke the future so we’re going to conquer the past” just doesn’t feel like anything that was ever really planned for Fringe. It felt tacked on at the end. Blah blah blah, still liked it, yadda yadda.

Fringe has been rerunning on the Science Channel for awhile now. I find that I can’t watch single episodes of the show AT ALL. It’s far too serialized to catch a one-off without a definite plan to continue from that point on. Even the early “monster of the week” episodes bother me as standalone adventures because I know too much and I want the characters to know the same as I do. The most satisfying episodes in terms of rewatchability for me are the ones before Peter disappeared where we were alternating between universes. The contrasts between the Universe-A and Universe-B characters, the story possibilities they explored, all of it was just incredibly satisfying. And Walternate… ooh man he was a fantastic character, due in no small part to how my love for Walter fed into my near hatred and ultimate FRUSTRATION with Walternate. That was some expert writing and acting.

Damn, I guess I sort of wish the show had been cancelled after season 4 after all. Oh well. Considering it was primetime sci-fi and ESPECIALLY considering it was on FOX, it’s safe to say I got more quality entertainment from Fringe than I deserved or should have ever expected.

COMMENTERS: How did you feel about the Fringe finale or the last two seasons in general? If you’ve never watched Fringe, what kept you away? Please tag spoilers in your comments with [SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS!!!!!] for the sake of others.

If you used to get HE in your email inbox through Feedburner (a service I stopped using this year because Google stopped supporting it), this service seems to offer the same functionality for free.

Just plugin the HE RSS feed [] and your email address.

Am I Evil? Yes I Am.

All of the discount shirts in the HE store have been FURTHER DISCOUNTED to $12.95! That is IN-SANE. You can get your “And My Axe!” shirts, your “Unicorn Poop” shirts, your “Sci-Fi Tv Movie Title Generator” shirts and more for less than something that costs exactly $14. GO GO GO! 

IT’S OVER! This comic completes the first mini story arc since I started toying with the notion of light continuity in the comics. I’m pretty pleased with the results and I feel like I learned a great deal about how to integrate longer stories into HE in the future (mostly due to mistakes I made during this part of the experiment). Now I just have to figure out if I remember how to do gag comics. Is Doctor Who still a thing? He has a hat, right?

I hope you enjoyed this new beginning for HE. I came up with a LOT more ideas for the E.F.E. than I could fit in these first 6 comics, so I expect we’ll see him again sooner rather than later. My goal is that within a couple of months a new reader will be able to read the recent comics and really get a sense for who the characters are without feeling like they are hindered by years of complex continuity and backstory. I guess we’ll see how that pans out. I have missed getting to comment on things that are happening in geek pop culture AS they are happening. I’m sure, as time goes on, I’ll find a way to strike a happy balance. Either that, or I’ll lose all my readers and have to take a job shucking pigs at the ham works (or whatever they do to pigs at where ever pigs are converted into delicious hams).

I’ve asked for some help with naming the new HijiNKS ENSUE eBook comic collections over in the new Fancy Bastard Facebook Group? The first comic collection will be done very shortly and be sent to all current donation subscribers. Everyone else will be able to buy it for a “pay what you like” donation. You can start a donation subscription for as little as $2 a month and REALLY help support HijiNKS ENSUE.

J.J. Abrams really is sort of unassailable in terms of successes vs. failures these days. At any given time he has 4-5 TV projects in the works and another 2 or 3 movies in various stages of production. He usually gets a TV project off the ground then turns it over to a capable team so he can move on to something else. In a way I like his “sharks can’t sleep” approach to television and in another I am fatigued by his “I started 12 shows in the last 4 years and only 2 of them were good, oh well whatever MORE LENSE FLAIR!!!” mentality. I applaud him for seeming NOT to treat his projects as his babies, which seems to shield him from the heartbreak and stink of the ones that fail, yet give him total credit for the ones that succeed even if he doesn’t take an active role in their production.

COMMENTERS: So I guess my question is, better to be a Whedon or an Abrams? Whedon seem to ONLY do passion projects. He loves his shows so much that they need to go stay with their sister for a while and think about stuff. Abrams squirts his DNA all over our TV’s then immediately swims off to new spawning grounds, leaving his shows to fend for themselves. Does one of these methods produce better art, more heartbreak, both or neither?

The Fringe Candidates

You’re The Last Of The Timelords, Charlie Brown
The Doctor Is In T-Shirt, Funny Doctor Who Parody Shirt, Charlie Brown, Sci-Fi

Your foreign policy record is questionable at best, and you have yet to form a coherent theory as to where Nina Sharp’s true allegiance lies. What makes you think you can lead this country? 

Sorry, non-Fringe fans. Not because you don’t get this comic, but because you aren’t enjoying the best show on TV. This will likely be Fringe’s final season (a year sooner than J.J. Abrams would like), due to it being too fantastic to be profitable. This seems to be the fate of all original, thought-provoking, well acted (extremely well acted in the case of John “Please let me curl up in your grandpa cheeks” Noble), well produced sci-fi on television. Any show that refuses to dumb down it’s intensely complicated, yet expertly executed premise in order to reach a wider audience just isn’t commercially viable on TV.

I think Fringe is the type of show you have to already be a sci-fi fan to enjoy. It asks a lot of the audience, but the average sci-fi fan is already used to accepting things like alternate dimensions, shapeshifters, techno-organic hybrid beings, and Leonard Nimoy. Each of those is probably a stumbling block for the average Joe “Is Real Housewives new tonight?” Television Viewer. J.J. Abrams has said that this season’s finale  can act as a series finale if the worst happens, but that certainly won’t be ideal for the fans or the creators. I want, just for once, to know what the actual planned ending of a high concept sci-fi show was supposed to be. LOST and BSG don’t count since not even the writers themselves knew how those shows were supposed to end.

I used to think the place for shows like Fringe, Firefly, Stargate SG:U, etc was on the Internet, free of the trappings of network expectations, ratings and advertising. I wanted them to be directly accessible to the people they were made for, instead of slotted between Kitchen Yelling and Crime Cops: Topeka on Friday night. But those kinds of shows require MILLIONS of dollars per episode to maintain their level of quality. And I don’t mean 1 or 2 million. It’s more like 6 to 10. These are absurd numbers and certainly not Internet-type numbers. The worst thing about trying to independently produce and distribute sci-fi is the “sci” part and the “fi” part. The medium REQUIRES that spaceships, robots, lizard people and all other manner of imaginary things that simply do not exist and cannot be filmed unless created out of foam latex, pixels and money. So how does the BBC do it? Is it because they are publicly funded? There’s no way Doctor Who costs as much as an episode of Fringe, but the quality is there. Is there a DiY work ethic to BBC shows that the US entertainment industry simply doesn’t abide? Or is there just a wider acceptance amont the average brit for science fiction, and thus sci-fi TV stands a greater chance of reaching a mass audience over there?

COMMENTERS: I’ve asked about 100 questions in the post above. Feel free to tackle any of them. Or just post more Fringe debate questions.

UPDATE 01/25/12: You can now purchase a super high quality 11×17″ print of any HE comic by clicking the “Buy A Print” button between the “Previous” and “Next” buttons in the navigation menu. If you don’t see it, try refreshing your browser cache.

Get HijiNKS ENSUE Comic Prints!

CHICAGO and CALGARY Fancy Bastards: I am coming for you! I will be at C2E2 April 13-15 and Calgary Expo April 27-29 with Blind Ferret.

Regional Nomenclature

TEAM EDWARD [James Olmos]

THERE IS A NEW HE PODCAST!!! EPISODE 82 – C2E2 2011 Webcomics Rountable featuring: Joel Watson of HijiNKS ENSUE, Kris Wilson and Rob DenBleyker of Cyanide and Happiness, Ryan Sohmer of Least I Could Do, and Danielle Corsetto from Girls With Slingshots.

If you preordered HE Book 2, please read the updated shipping times on THIS PAGE.

Fringe, the best serious scifi show on television (prove me wrong, I dare you. I DARE YOU!) was picked up by Fox for a fourth season. Ever since I heard the news via Twitter I have been consulting the scrolls, casting the bones and reading the Alphabits in a vain attempt to figure out how this occurance fits into the Fox’s grand scheme of ultimate geek sadness.

Most of you already know that Fox’s Doom Engine is fueled by the tears of geeks and nerds, and NOT just any tears. No. Only the tears of ultimate suffering. Their Hate Furnace won’t move one inch when filled with tears born of physical pain. It requires a propellant created from equal parts lost hope and broken dreams and wilted spirits. Some are theorizing that putting Fringe in the Friday Night Death Slot, only to renew it against all conceivable Foxlogic is just a ploy to make its eventual termination all the more bitter and the ensuing tear-fuel all the more potent. Perhaps there are darker machinations at play. Perhaps we will explore these in next week’s HE comics. Perhaps. [spolers: we will]


Emerald City Comicon Fancy Sketches Part 1

The only geek greeting you’ll ever need! The Sci-Five!
Get up on that Sci-Five shirt business!

Sci-Five Shirt from HijiNKS ENSUE At Topatoco

I must have said this 100 times over the course of the last weekend but Emerald City Comicon is THE BEST show of the year. In terms of what? Sales, fan interaction, after hours activities, location/host city, general shenanigans? Yes. The answer is yes. I have never had a weekend so packed with wonderful friends, amazing experiences, and so much excitement in my entire life. Here are some of the highlights in mostly chronological order:


  • Southwest lost one of my bags, which delayed me just long enough to run into Wheaton on the way out the airport. We had sushi for lunch. Sushi With Wheaton is my Reel Big Fish cover band [thanks twitter].
  • That night Wheaton and I met Stepto, Jason Finn [of PUSA], Marian Call and John Roderick for drinks and Wheaton bought me a beer. Even if you don’t drink a lot of beer, when Wil Wheaton buys you one you drink it.
  • Jason Finn took Stepto, Wheaton and I to his AMAZETITS italian restaurant, Via Tribunali, for [no exageration] the best pizza I have ever had in my life.
  • Stepto and I went to the Marian Call show at Fremont Abbey. She was dope. Dope and a half in fact.
  • Southwest called to say they found my bag. It had been lost in Albuquerque. The lady told me the condition they found the bag in, and I asked her to repeat herself. “Yes… shredded.” Good. I just wanted to make sure I hadn’t suddenly gone deaf with rage.


  • Day 1 of the show. Angela and I set up an epic booth-situation. She has the same “merchandising” gene that I do, which makes us great booth mates. If you got a pic of our booth, please email it to me.
  • Angela and I had a lovely sit-down family-times Tai food dinner with Bill Barnes at his home. We chatted, played ukuleles and had a wonderful time. Bill’s dog loves me the most.
  • Me, Angela and a dozen other cartoonists did some bar hopping. Someone who shall remain nameless used the pick-up line, “So what is your favorite kind of time travel?” and it worked. This is how you know you are surrounded by nerds. I was beyond impressed.

And that isn’t even the end! Read the 2nd half of my ECCC recap in the next Fancy Sketch comic post.