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?

Welcome To The Rock

“George Hurt You” shirts are in the store!!!

Show Us On The Trilogy Where George Hurt You - funny star wars t-shirt, george lucas shirt, star wars parody

I like to imagine that if Jorge Garcia and Sam Niel backed out of J.J. AbramsAlcatraz due to extreme insulaphobia, the producers would just go down the list of combination Lost and Jurrasic Park stars. First they would ask Matthew Fox and Jeff Goldblum, then Evangeline Lily and Laura Dern until they eventually settled on the guy that played Boone and the bottom half of an animatronic triceratops.

I watched the two episode premiere of Alcatraz and I definitely enjoyed it. It seems to be the J.J. Abrams show that has learned from the mistakes (real and perceived) of previous J.J. Abrams shows. It is a serialized mystery like LOST, but they have clearly planned out a trajectory for the show as opposed to “let’s keep doing crazy shit and hope it all works out in the end.” I say this only because there is no way he would pitch another show with no endgame after the complete shit-bagel that was the final three seasons of LOST. It also relies on the LOSTesque “present day/ flashbacks” plot device to tell it’s 50 year spanning story. It worked for the first few seasons of LOST and I expect it to work for this show as long as they don’t lose themselves trying to make TOO MANY interweaving back stories in the flashbacks.

Despite the fact that I think Fringe is the best show on television, period, I know that there are aspects of it that have scared off a mass audience and even universal adoption among geeks and sci-fi fans. Chief among them are the show’s “bad guy/experiment gone wrong of the week” elements overshadowing the overall story arch and vice versa. With a show like Fringe, or the X-Files or now Alcatraz striking a balance between episodic story and seasonal story is key to maintaining audience interest without leading to frustration. Alcatraz has laid the groundwork for a pretty flexible mix between the two that should lend itself to compelling stories with a fair amount of payoff vs. new questions. Since the premise depends on some 250+ inmates, guards and personel coming back from the past (seemingly one at a time) there should be room for a nice mix of “there’s a new murderer on the loose,” “there’s an inmate that we can feel sympathetic toward,” “hey, now there’s  a guard and we need to help him find closure,” and due to the large numer of returning baddies they should be able to do the occasional ep featuring groups of them coming to the present to cause trouble.

Of couse, I might be just overly optimistic that Bad Robot is going to take everything they’ve learned from making (mostly) high quality television over the last decade and put that knowledge to good use. As a frustrated fan of LOST and an evangelist for Fringe, the “right things to do” seem obvious to me. Then again, I don’t make TV shows.

Speaking of people that make TV shows and J.J. Abrams, my dear friend Amy is now a writer/executive producer on Bad Robot’s Person Of Interest. It premiered at a time that I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of the amount of TV I was already watching, but I have only heard good things about the show. I need to start watching and get caught up.

COMMENTERS: What did you think of Alcatraz? Good start, shows potential or pass?  How exactly has their island time effected Hurley and Dr. Grant’s daily lives? What other combination of LOST/Jurassic Park cast members should be on Alcatraz, or any other show for that matter? How about an CSI spin-off starring Anna Lucia and Nedry? She’s the angry, drunk, tough-as-nails detective who keeps accidentally murdering people, and he’s the fat, bumbling forensic scientist that keeps getting acid spit into his face!

Speaking of other people that make TV showsJon Rogers makes a show called LeverageWil was a guest star on that show, during filming he got the whole cast saying/doing the “Sci-Five,” Aldis Hodge adlibbed one during the season finale (“The Last Dam Job”) and IT MADE IT IN! A phrase coined by one of my shirts, was uttered and acted out in a TV show that I watch. ON THE TV! What is that I don’t even…

Apparition Stipulation

Wil Wheaton and I got excited and made this “Fighting Time Lords” shirt for you! No, really. Specifically FOR YOU.

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

More alternate subtitles for Mission Impossible 4: 

Mission Impossible 4: Ethereal Accord
Mission Impossible 4: Phantasm Arrangement
Mission Impossible 4: Spectre Covenant
Mission Impossible 4: Shadow Proclimation
Mission Impossible 4: Spooky Plan

Seriously, Tom Cruise. What is the deal with being so damned likable in movies, yet so scummy in real life? “Ghost Protocol” even SOUNDS like Scientology jargon. “Margaret has gone against Tech and become a Suppressive Personality. She’ll never achieve Operating Thetan Level 6 now. Engage Ghost Protocol!”  Regardless of Mr. Cruise’s more eccentric beliefs (specifically the ones about all humans being psychically drained by the parasitic souls of ancient aliens that were blown up in giant volcanoes billions of years ago by the galactic overlord Xenu), he makes some damn fine movies.

Well, he stars in and produces some damn fine movies, at least. I feel like the real credit for MI: 4 being an absolute joy of an action movie start to finish goes to Brad Bird and J.J. Abrams. What a freakin’ creative, ultra-geeky team, amirite? Brad Bird directed The Incredibles, which while not Pixar’s best film (that’s a toss up between WALL-E and Toy Story 3), IS there best story/ character piece. And Abrams is almost single handedly responsible for giving geeks a reason to watch TV over the last 6 or 7 years. Honestly, I had no real interest in the Mission Impossible franchise until J.J got involved. In fact, I really don’t even remember the first 2. The third installment, however, is one of my favorite action movies. Phillip Seymour Hoffman just KILLS it as the big bad. When he is telling Tom Cruise what he’s going to do to his wife and family and friends, I really felt like he was completely out of character and completely serious. Like maybe the FBI should tap his phones or something. That dude is probably a murderer. He’s at least drowned a dog or stabbed a few hoboes. Where was I? Oh, yeah. MI: 4: GP: TLDR: JKLOL is loads of fun, has at least three jump-out-of-your-seat-moments and should really be seen in the biggest possible theater (IMAX ’em if ya’ got ’em) to be fully appreciated.

COMMENTERS: Did you see Ghost Protocol? What did you think? Are you struggling with the same conflict over Tom Cruise’s good looks and charm on screen, and dirtbag space religion brainwash scheme off screen?

A Friend Of A Friend

Wil Wheaton and I got excited and made a thing! Check out our University of Gallifrey Fighting Time Lords Shirt over at Sharksplode.

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

I am closing out some current t-shirt and print designs. Please check out this blog post since the stuff on closeout probably won’t be available again.

NEWS: You can hear me briefly on this ABC Australia podcast, Nerdzilla, talking about X-Men: First Class. The full interview will be posted sometime next week.

NEWS 2: I have donated a copy of HijiNKS ENSUE Volume 2: My Heart Is A Hate-Filled Pineapple to be auctioned off by the Toronto Chapter of Can’t Stop The Serenity. It features THIS SKETCH. The auction is June 18th.

NEWS 3: The story I recorded for the Machine Of Death Podcast, “Loss Of Blood,” can be downloaded NOW. It’s been so long since I recorded it that I can’t remember if I sucked or not. Either way the story is very cool.

Josh IRL did see a preview of Super 8 last night. I did not. How do I compensate? Hmmm… let’s check my bag of tricks… OH! Make fun of George Lucas. Blammo! Comic!

I probably won’t have a chance to see Super 8 this weekend, so I doubt I will be able to offer insightful commentary on the subject in a timely fashion. Of course I didn’t see the first seven in the series anyway, so I would probably be totally lost with this eighth installment. I wonder if Dwight and Juno starred in all of them. Is this one a prequel?

It seems like Super 8 sends a very clear message. That message is: HEY! Remember in the 70’s and 80’s when Spielberg’s movie were the bees tits? Remember that combined sense of suspense and wonderment? You want more of that shit? You NEED it? Well, we gots it for ya’!

They even released a Spielberg stye painted portrait poster for Super 8. I wonder if there’s a cameo by a young CG Drew Barrymore. For now I am just going to attempt to avoid the constant barrage of spoilers that the next few days are going to bring.

COMMENTERS: Post your spoiler free thoughts on Super 8! Also, post other ideas Lucas had for this movie or any other movie made by his friends.

A Man Has Needs

This Wetworks pilot from J.J. Abrams (starring Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn) probably isn’t trying to be the next LOST <cough>FlashForward</cough>, but the connection to the geek-favorite frustration bonanza is certainly part of the potential appeal. I would be more likely to watch it if in every episode Michael Emerson gets the crap kicked out of his crap-bag and O’Quinn does that orange peal smile thing. You know, just as a nod all the fans.

Abrams is a busy man. In between buying my Groverfield shirt over a year ago (did I tell that story already? I did? Oh, I tell it constantly? Oh.), executive producing Fringe and Undercovers, directing Star Trek 2 and Mission Impossible 4, and producing Cloverfield 2 and Super 8 he still has another 15 projects in the works. And did I mention the thing with the shirt? He might be our generations most prolific geek. Or perhaps he knows something we don’t know about the end of the world, and he wants to get as much geekery in as possible before some sort of cataclysm. Did I say anything about the shirt yet?

Speaking of Fringe, holy crapternate (the alternat universe version of “holy crap”) was the season premiere stellar! Again, Fringe is the best sci-fi on TV and you should blow through the sort-of-stumbly season 1 to get to the oh-so-goods of seasons 2 and 3. Fringe‘s only flaws are that there are times when it isn’t on and that it can’t love me back.