Guest Comic By Lar deSouza

Guys! It’s my birthday! I am 31 years old which is 217 in dog years, or 10 years old in Vulcan years, or roughly 31 years old in Vulcan years assuming they age at the same rate as humans until they reach middle age which is a theory I have never seen any evidence to contradict. How old would I be on Jupiter? 31! And dead! There’s no air, you weirdos!

I have been inundated with happy birthday wishes on Twitter, Facebook and the new Fancy Bastard Facebook Group. Thank you all for the kindness and support. If you were so inclined as to offer more than well wishes, I am certainly not one to take away that right from you. Here’s my Amazon Wishlist donations page and the HE Store (in case you would much rather buy something for yourself on MY birthday. Go ahead. Be selfish. You have my blessing).

I’ll be wrapping up the current leg of the E.F.E. storyline this week, then moving on to some one off gag comics for a bit. I’m also working with my friend Phil to get the site ready to allow me to post a LoFi comic on the same day as a regular HE comic, which means I can post extra stuff whenever I want as opposed to only on Friday on the weekends. We’ll see how that goes.

My most excellent friend Lar was kind enough to doodle me a… doodle for my birthday. I lept at the opporutnity to chop it up and turn it into a comic. My birthday present to myself  (with Lar’s help) is a lazy-ass Sunday. I didn’t even CONSIDER getting dressed today. You can see Lar’s work on Least I Could DoLooking For Group, on Tumblr and you can buy some beautifully geeky prints in his store such as D20 Slave Leia, My Little At-At, Undersea Princess Doctor and The Cutest Little Abomination

Guest Comic By Lily Watson (Age 5)

The Doctor Is In T-Shirt, Funny Doctor Who Parody Shirt, Charlie Brown, Sci-Fi

Hang on, there must be something in both my eyes. 

I am flying out to Chicago today, so I decided rather than posting some filler I would share with you the side project I’ve been working on with my daughter. It’s called Daddy/Daughter Digital Drawing Time. First some back story: Last December at Dragon’s Lair Webcomics Rampage I picked up the first trade of DC Comics Tiny Titans to bring home to my daughter. I’d been wanting to introduce her to comics and it seemed the perfect title to do just that. The stories are genuinely interesting and funny, but still at a level she can fully absorb and the art is just fantastic. She tore through the first trade in a few days (well, my wife read it to her a little each night before bed as the kiddo was 4 at the time and still learning to read). It turns out that comics are a pretty fantastic way to get young children interested in reading. More so than any other book in her vast library (quite literally hundreds of books), she was super engaged and really trying to read the words to keep up with the pictures and NOT getting frustrated when things got tough like she normally does. I realized we had found a winner and we picked up another trade at Barnes and Noble. Again, she was enthralled. Unfortunately the series ended right around the time we discovered it, but there are still another 5 or 6 trades to pick up which should be plenty for her.

C2E2 in Chicago is this weekend! I’ll be with Blind Ferret at Booth 432. More details HEREIf you are coming to C2E2, you really don’t want to miss our panel:

Panel: Webcomics Roundtable With Blind Ferret and Explosm!
Date: 4/14/2012      Time: 4:00PM – 5:00PM      Location: N426c

Since my daughter has been old enough to hold a stylus, we’ve been drawing on my Cintiq together. At first she would scribble in Photoshop or play with the shape tools. Then she got hooked on KidPix, a drawing app for kids with an unnecessary amount of silly noises, goofy animations and a UI designed specifically to annoy parents and delight children. I don’t remember if it was my idea or hers, but a few weeks ago we decided that she was going to draw a character from Tiny Titans. I realized as we were getting started that this was her very first attempt at replicating pre-existing art. This was essentially how I learned to draw. I would look at panels from Amazing Spider-Man or my Marvel trading cards and do my best to recreate them on paper. This exercise really trains your artistic muscle memory and helps you develop a base skill set to work with when it comes time to create you own original art. So she decided on drawing Raven. I found a reference image, opened a new Photoshop document and set up a brush tool that I thought she could work with easily. I introduced her to the concept of “inking” vs. “coloring” and made sure she was working on the appropriate layer. As she drew I tried not to tell her what to do, but instead ask her questions that might lead to discoveries. “Is that circle the same size as Raven’s head?” or “Are those legs the same length? Do you want them to be?” etc. For the most part she would start by just drawing an arm or a leg the way she always does. After reminding her that we were trying to make it look like the picture, she would stop, think about it for a second then try again. This was one of those proud Daddy moments that sticks with you forever. My little girl was learning how to look at the world like an artist. “How big is this in relation to that?” “What shapes is this made of?” “How many lines does it take to do this?” These are the questions that artists ask themselves 1000 times a day without even realizing it. I’ve always thought the difference between an artist and a non-artist was just the ability to see things for what they’re made of, their base components, and then store and index that information for later retrieval and output. In my brain right next to “my house is grey” is “my house is 2 rectangles, 2 triangles, a square…” and so on. AND SHE WAS LEARNING HOW TO DO THIS! AT FIVE! I was beaming and she was having a blast. She was so happy at the results she told me to “show them to all of my friends,” so I started posting them on Tumblr.

It’s not about teaching my daughter to be an artist. If she gives it a shot and decides she likes softball better, then that’s her choice to make. For me, it’s about exposing her to who I am, what I care about and what I know. I want to show her how to do the things I know how to do, and make her understand why I do them. Why I care about them. I want to be the voice in her head long after I’m gone that asks “Are those legs the same length? Do you want them to be?” just before she says “Nope. Who cares if they are?” and goes back to doing it her own way. I believe this is the way that we, as parents, pass on more than DNA. I started this comic specifically so I would be proud of the answer when my daughter was old enough to ask what I did for a living. Five years into this experiment and I’m prouder than I ever could have imagined, but not of myself. I’m proud of her, and grateful that I get to be the one to show her how to draw super hereoes. Seriously, what is going on with my eyes? There’s definitely something in both of them.

COMMENTERS: Did you parents or any influential adult in your life teach you a skill or get you interested in a hobby as a child?  Did you stick with it? How did that experience affect who you are today, or how you might parent your own kids?

Special thanks to Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani for making such a fantastic comic. Without Tiny Titans as catalyst, I’m not sure we would have started drawing like this together. Whether they ever know it or not, they’ve helped create a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Check out more of there work at Blindwolf Studios. I hope I get to see them and say thanks at C2E2 this weekend. Maybe I’ll bring them a print of this “guest comic.”

Guest Comic By Brian Patterson Of D20 Monkey

Wil Wheaton and I got excited and made this “Fighting Time Lords” shirt! 

Gallifrey University Fighting Time Lords Shirt - Doctor Who parody, geeky tees, funny t-shirts,  nerdy shirts

Since I am packing and print-making and prepping for C2E2, Brian Patterson was kind enough to provide you with an illustrated funny-time concerning role playing, Time Lords and a completely different kind of role playing. Brian makes a comic called D20 Monkey, which should quite adequately fill the dungeon and or dragon shaped hole in your geek soul that HE just doesn’t do anything for. Brian did THIS other HE guest comic last June, this one from March and THIS guest comic for my friend Alina just a few weeks ago. He has a shirt HERE that I think is amazingly well designed and funny, even though I would be a total poser if I were to wear it.

COMMENTERS: Have you ever had a game or movie or whatever that you were just DYING to share with your friends? Something from childhood that you might have perhaps been remembering through a filter of stupid child memories? Did it live up to the hype or were you disappointed and embarrassed. This has happened to be a few times with movies. The first was the partial-Python Beatles spoof The Rutles*, and the other was the 90’s gangta rap Spinal Tap homage Fear Of A Black Hat. Both were quite unique and hysterical when I first saw them (around age 15), but context is everything. In the intervening decade the mockumentary format was run pretty square into the ground, and I (as well as those I was so excited to share these films with) had become desensitized and jaded to the genre.

*Upon further reflection I might be confusing my second later in life viewing of The Rutles with a different post-Python project called Ripping Yarns. The Rutles might still be hilarious.

C2E2 in Chicago is this weekend! I’ll be with Blind Ferret at Booth 432. More details HERE
If you are coming to C2E2, you really don’t want to miss our panel:

Panel: Webcomics Roundtable With Blind Ferret and Explosm!
Date: 4/14/2012
Time: 4:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: N426c

Come to this thing! It will be 100 funs!

Guest Comic By Terry Blas Of Briar Hollow

Get it now @ Sharksplode! People will be scanning your chest like freaking crazy! 

Wil Wheaton QR Code T-Shirt, The Code, @wilw, WilW, WWDN, Scannable Wil Wheaton Shirt

As I am travelling in the belly of an iron sky engine, or bird cannon as you may call it, anc likely braving a pack of deadly imaginary bloodwolves, please enjoy this guest comic by Terry Blas of Briar Hollow. Terry presented this oddly beautiful watercolor painting of Josh to me at Emerald City Comicon this weekend and, after realizing it was neither cookies or booze, I realigned me expectations and graciously accepted. It really is fantastic, if not disturbingly arousing… I mean confusing… I mean who’s hungry?

Thanks to all who came out to support me at ECCC. You have reaffirmedkey belief that ECCC is the best comics show there is and Seattlites (rainfolk, or mistkind) are a kind, enthusiastic and generous bunch. More so than any other show, you guys make me feel likes rock star.

Additional thanks to Blind Ferret for being gracious booth hosts, wonderful business partners and good friends all weekend. I love those Canadical sonsobitches.

COMMENTERS: This weekend I took maple tequila shots out of hollowed out Cadburry eggs. We called them “Sadburry eggs” but they were anything but. They were quite fantastic actually. Is there a weird ass drink/candy/food/tile grout compound that you have tried or would like to try? Is anyon willing to make their own Sadburry Eggs and post the videos and/or recipes online?

Guest Comic By Kris Wilson Of Cyanide And Happiness

Wil Wheaton and I got excited and made this “Fighting Time Lords” shirt for you! 

Gallifrey University Fighting Time Lords Shirt - Doctor Who parody, geeky tees, funny t-shirts,  nerdy shirts

JoCo Cruise Crazy II Guest Week is stranded up on a desert island! I am surviving on the contents of the buffet trays that keep washing ashore and have constructed a rudimentary shelter out of David Willis. The good news is the drinks are now free. The bad news is the drinks are all sea water. Those of us that remain has formed a simple organizational hierarchy, but I fear for the safety of Piggy. I just don’t think he has what to takes to not be murdered. HEY A CRAB!

Sometime around 1997 Kris Wilson along with an elite group of boobies-obsessed preteens, middle aged engineers and Rupert Murdoch met in secret to write the original charter for the Internet. Kris was the one that decided on the “dot” in “.com” due to its ressemblance to both a dick hole and the dickhole-shaped birthmark he has on his dickhole. At only 15 years old, this dude was shaping the very web-o-tron that we live, work and prey on today. Was his early entry into the hall of eHeroes a case of child prodigy, lax parenting or both? The answer, like our collective innocence, is lost to the ages. The answer is also “both.”

There are few people on this planet whose company I enjoy more than Kris Wilson’s. And that is saying a lot considering he spells his name like a girl and he was born in Wyoming. We met at C2E2 2010 in Chicago and within moments we were singing karaoke’d Creed to a party of drunken bride’s-harpies. It was a fast friendship after that and an even faster, more furious courtship. I expect the court proceedings to be even more so 5ast and 5uriou5.

Kris is one of those guys that’s down for anything, ready to run with any joke premise no questions asked and would rather lift up those around him than bring them down or see them fail. These attributes are what has kept him alive all these centuries and what will make facing him in The Cartoonist Quickening all that much harder. Still, I shall have his head for my trophy belt. My belt of heads. It is impossible to sit down while wearing that thing.

He and his Explosm cohorts (one of which is on a boat with me right now! Hi Rob! Can you get me another rum punch? No? You’ve forgotten how to walk? Whale venom will do that to you.) are working on a TV pilot for Comedy Central right now. At least I’ll be able to say, “I knew him when…” and “Can I borrow like $40,000? I KNOW you got it man! I KNOW YOU GOT IT! YOU COCKSUCKER! THEY’RE GOING TO TAKE MY HANDS! MYYYY HAAAAAANDS!”

The above comic illustrates everything I love about being a self-employed cartoonist. The dialog comes straight from a BUSINESS EMAIL between me, Kris and a few others. BUSINESS. Like the stuff you get paid for. That kind of business. What?

COMMENTERS: What conversation, activity, or other whatever have you been the most shocked by (either positively or negatively) in a business setting? One time my old boss called me into his office to look at something that was wrong with his computer. When I got there he typed on his screen, “You can totally see down [female coworker]’s top from here. She keeps shaking her foot and making them bounce. I can’t get any work done. I don’t know what to do?”