2015-10-27-sharksplode-brand-new-bag

Brand New Bag

2015-10-27-sharksplode-brand-new-bag

I pitched two ideas for my guest comic over at Cyanide & Happiness. This is the one they rejected.

If you’re under 30, you probably have no idea that for SEVERAL DECADES before you were born it was considered perfectly acceptable to wear a plastic mask of your favorite cartoon character, along with a trash bag (ACTUALLY A LITERAL TRASH BAG) featuring a full body picture of the same character as your Halloween costume. Not only was this considered acceptable Halloween attire for children, but it was an accepted business practice for companies to offer these “costumes” as their “best effort” in exchange for “actual money.”

Do you want A TON of bonus, extra and alternate comics?!  Then my Patreon is THE PLACE for you. Every little bit helps me continue to make a living, and is QUITE appreciated.

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Now I walk through the costume aisles of Wal-Mart and Target and kid’s costumes have achieved near Hollywood levels of production value. There are muscle suits, led lights, articulated armor, sound FX… it’s only a matter of time before children go door to door wearing green body suits, and handing out augmented reality goggles that make the candy-giver see them as a 70 foot tall full CG dragon. Dad will stand to the side with a flame thrower and torch the neighbors bushes for increased special FX.

I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween. We had the fundamentalist Christian alternative: HARVEST FESTIVAL. It’s EXACTLY like Halloween except you don’t get to Trick Or Treat and all the costumes are either animals, cowboys or Bible characters. I had a basic costume rotation each year of monkey, cowboy and… let’s say Noah. In retrospect I was just dressed like a modern day Muslim, but I had a burlap sack over my tunic. The 80’s were weird. One year I got a real screen quality ALF costume. It was my favorite thing ever and simultaneously the worst costume I ever had. The shag carpet full body suit made it 800 degrees and itched all to hell and the fur and latex mask was like a tight, rubbery panic prison for my face.

My wife and I enjoy helping our kid have a unique Halloween experience. She’s been Princess LeiaBoo from Monster’s Inc., a Backyardigan, Jessie from Toy Story, A Ghost, a WitchRaven from Teen Titans (complete with a narrative adventure) and Hermione Granger. This year she’s going to be Amethyst from Steven Universe. I’ll post pics of that one after it’s all assembled.

UPDATE: Here’s a Tumblr post with all the Kiddo costumes so far.

2015-10-26-sharksplode-blacktually

Blacktually

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Holy fuck, what a week.
Monday: Driving across Texas
Tuesday: Broken Computer
Wednesday: Broken Website
Thursday: Broken Car
Friday: Broken Spirits

Any who, I’m back in the comics saddle (the most supple of saddles) for a week, then I’m taking my wife and child on our first (and likely last) real family vacation for a different and subsequent week. Please do not wreck the place while I am gone. The liquor cabinet is locked, but the key is on top of the refrigerator. Help yourself, but leave some for Santa (if you know what I mean… I mean I am Santa and don’t drink all my fightin’ water and funny juice).

Do you want A TON of bonus, extra and alternate comics?!  Then my Patreon is THE PLACE for you. Every little bit helps me continue to make a living, and is QUITE appreciated.

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I did a big ol’ spooky guest comic over at Cyanide & Happiness yesterday. Go read it. 

2015-01-12-stille-nacht-heilige-nacht-krampusnacht

Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht, Krampusnacht

2015-01-12-stille-nacht-heilige-nacht-krampusnacht

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2UPDATE: ONLY 2 WEEKS LEFT!!!

For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 

Sing along if you know the words:
He’s making a list, He’s sharpening sticks.
The list is irrelevant, You all go in the sack.
Krampus comes to take you, that’s alllllll.
Yes, Kraaaampus coooomes to taaaaake youuuuuuu NO NO AHHHHHGHGHG! NO KRAMPUS NOOOOOOO!

HEY HEY HEY, did I mention that I have a Patreon? I do, and because my Fancy Patrons blew past the $1500 Milestone Goal, I was able to redesign the website and clean things up. The comics are about 15-20% larger as well. So far I’ve uploaded embiggened versions of all the comics from 2014. I’ll keep embiggening until all are cromulently embiggened. The downside, is some of the things I had to fit in to the new design completely break the site on mobile browsers. I’ll be working on fixing that over the next couple of weeks. I’ll also be adding in some of the things that are currently missing, like the mobile alt-text button.

2015-01-02-the-ghost-of-christmas-presents

The Ghost Of Christmas Presents

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For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2

HEY HEY HEY, did I mention that I have a Patreon?

SCHEDULE NOTICE: I am taking 2nd week of January (01/04 to 01/10) off to recover and regroup from the Holidays. Comics will resume on Monday, January 12, 2015.

A lot of being a parent is dealing with times when you bust your ass to make it seem like something magical just happened all by itself. A birthday party that you stayed up all night cooking and making decorations for, a vacation you  had to scrimp and save for, a present you bought when your kid wasn’t looking and hid for 6 months while they lamented “I’m NEVER gonna get it!” Parenthood is rife with opportunities to feel unappreciated.

But that’s sort of the point. As a parent, one of your jobs is to shield your young child from all the bullshit you have to deal with as an adult just to get through a day, a week, a month or a year in the world. You want them to perceive ease and a care free attitude for as long as possible, because once it’s impossible it is impossible FOREVER. You never get that back. I didn’t appreciate it enough when I was a kid. I was so focused on growing up and escaping my unhappy home life, that I completely glossed over how amazing it was to not have to work or pay bills or take care of another human being.

It’s also important to make magical things “just happen” for your kids, just to see their reaction. The kind of unbridled joy a child experiences on a “pretty good day” is something few adults will ever experience on their best day. Through them, we parents get to recapture some of that joy. I can’t tell you the enumerable unpleasent (to me) situations I’ve put myself in, just to see my daughter light up.

That said, I do try to teach her how to at least recognize and acknowledge situations where hard work and concerted effort by others has been applied, and to at least not do anything to counteract that hard word and effort. “Just don’t be the kid that makes people want to stop doing nice things for others.” Christ, if that isn’t an applicable mantra for most adults, I don’t know what is.

2014-12-31-the-kids-with-the-haul

The Kids With The Haul

2014-12-31-the-kids-with-the-haul

For the month of January 2015, both of my books are only $5 each. Buy 2 of them and I’ll give you a free mystery mini print. After January they are GONE FOREVER

I am selling them at or below cost so they can go to Fancy Bastards that will appreciate them, rather than a bonfire. Grab them HERE. 

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2

HEY HEY HEY, did I mention that I have a Patreon?

My daughter used to act like she felt sorry for us when my wife and I only had a present or two to open on Christmas day, compared to her dozen or so. I’d try to explain how our situations were different. A) We already pretty much have everything an adult of modest means can have. When we do WANT things, we save up for them over the course of a year or so, change our minds 100 times about buying them, and then eventually, probably buy it and IMMEDIATELY feel bad about spending money on non-essentials. THAT is grown up Christmas. B) Other people besides us buy presents for her. She’s young and cute and gives off a certain quality that suggests to relatives, “I am young and cute, buy me some stuff I don’t need.”

Some years, my wife and I will say, “No presents for us! We’re going to buy each other NEW SHEETS!” Then Kiddo gets sad because we are old and close to death and super happy about getting new sheets, which is the worst thing she can think of.” Other times my wife and I will get each other a modest present that is mostly sort of a surprise, or something off the other’s Amazon wishlist and not a surprise at all. We usually keep it well under $100 (and still feel guilty about spending our own money on things that aren’t life sustaining or government mandated).

We try to only get Kiddo one big (or rather MAIN) present, a couple of smaller things and a few trinkets for her stocking. We also don’t really every buy her random toys throughout the year. Mostly she wants books, and I’m not really keen on imposing limits on her reading. So other than birthdays and Xmas, she doesn’t really get a bunch of new stuff. At least not good stuff. Our house fills to the brim with plastic bullshit from McDonalds and the like at an alarming rate. Twice a year (before birthday and Xmas), Kiddo does a GRAND TOY PURGE. This is where all the McDonalds bullshit accumulated over the last 6 months gets thrown away, and everything she doesn’t play with any more or has outgrown gets donated to charity. It’s super important for me to make sure she A) isn’t too obsessed with material possessions, and B) understands that we are fortunate to have more things, food, house, etc. than we NEED and C) that anyone and everyone in that fortunate position should do what they can to help those who aren’t fortunate enough to have all their needs met.

I hammer these points home pretty hard because I was a selfish kid. I was completely obsessed with accruing more toys (CERTAIN toys. I was very particular and very covetous.), and with keeping everything I had forever IN CASE I NEEDED IT LATER. If I ever got rid of something, I insisted on selling it in a garage sale and getting to keep the money for myself. These are not things I am proud of and certainly not traits I want to pass on to my child. I worked hard to get over these issues, and now I figure I can engrain more altruistic behaviors into my daughter while she’s young so that by the time she’s an adult it will just be a part of her nature.

I look at parenting like the Nielson Corporation looks at people. Sample the behavior of one person and extrapolate the likely behavior of 100,000. If I can instill an innate sense of altruism in one person, then I’m doing what I can to fix the world; to fix the future. This kid is the message I’m sending in into space. She’s filled with the things that I think are important enough to preserve for eternity. She’s my emissary into the void, and her mission is to outlive me, be nicer than I was, and teach people to try and be nicer than she is.