What Lies Beneath

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2UPDATE: ONE(ish) WEEKS LEFT! THEN THEY’RE GONE GONE GONE!!!

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. 

POTTER AND DAUGHTER IS NIGH! The Harry Potter podcast I’ve been recording with my daughter is dangerously close to getting released (when my Patreon reaches $1750). Read more about it here.

COMMENTERS: Why do some of you pretend all cats are not evil? Why do you lie? Does your cat have information on you that you don’t want getting out? Does it have a member of your family hidden beneath the floor boards or trapped inside its cat tree? Do you need help? If you need help, blink three times. If the cat has already chewed off your eyelids to prevent blinking, try screaming hysterically, “OH GOD OH FUCK OH NO THE CAT OHHHH GAAAAAAAHD MY EYES THE CAT HAS OH NOOOOOOOOOOOO WHAT HAS IT DONNNNNNE?!?! WHAT WILL BECOME OF MEEEEEEE?!?! OH GAHHHGHGHGHGLLLLLNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!?!”

Bubblegum, Bubblegum, Toil and Troublegum

hijinks-ensue-january-2015-book-sale-2UPDATE: THIS WEEK! NEXT WEEK! THEN THEY’RE GONE GONE GONE!!!

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. 

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

I went back and forth on whether or not to do this comic about a dozen times. One of my main goals when rebooting HijiNKS ENSUE was to have the comics NOT be so inside my own head, NOT so insistent that you be on the same page with me on every TV show, movie, Internet thing, etc. that the average HE reader couldn’t relate to the subject matter. Still, the more and more I thought about NOT doing this comic, the more it kept creeping in my brain because this is very close to an actual conversation that my daughter and I had and I really wanted to share it.

I’ll get more into it in the next comic’s blog post, but my kid has “cuteness blinders” for all things insidious and evil. For those of you that don’t watch Adventure Time, Peppermint Butler is… wait for it… a peppermint who is also a butler, specifically butling for the ruler of the Candy Kingdom, Princess Bubblegum. At least, that’s his day job. In recent seasons they’ve shown that Peppermint Butler is also an upside down bloody pentagram on the wall type sorcerer. I mentioned this to Kiddo at some point as in, “But of course we all know he’s actually evil,” and she was all, “WHA-HUUUUUUUUHHH?!” She demanded evidence, and I pointed out that in the episode we had just watched he was torturing another candy fellow in his cave, while reciting dark incantations to summon and bind a demon in order to force it to do his mellifluous bidding. To which she replied, “Well… yeah… but… HE’S MADE OF CANDY!” Cuteness blinders, man. I’m telling you.

COMMENTERS: Have your kids (or did YOU as a kid) ever completely missed the true intended nature of a character because of their cuteness? What about the lack there of? Anything that was supposed to be cute and cuddly that totally freaked a kid out?

May Not Be Suitable For All Audiences

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. 

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 completely redesign the website.

Everything my kid watches on the television falls into one of two categories. Pretty OK and UNWATCHABLE CUTESY SHOUTING CONTEST. The pretty ok stuff comes, as the comic above suggests, mainly from PBS Kids. Shows like Word Girl, Martha Speaks, Wild Kratts, and Curious George actually do a commendable job of blending entertainment and education while simultaneously not being obnoxious to parents.

The rest  come from all over. Nick, Disney, Cartoon Network, probably the channel where they sell knives at night, maybe a ditch with half a snake in a Coke can… just all over. I can’t really pin down the source of the annoyance other than a seemingly universal opinion among children’s television producers that kids always want to hear character screaming, shouting, shrieking, shrilly cackling or singing makeshift autotuned pop songs that are vaguely about friendship and mostly about “being yourself” and “dancing” and “dancing yourself” and “self esteem achieved through dancing” and “dance esteem.”

Adventure Time is the outlier, because it is truly phenomenal genre fiction cleverly disguised as a show for tiny children and adult stoners. Not even Game Of Thrones can match the world building going on in Adventure Time. It’s FUCKING vast. AT is also unique in the way that it has created a framework within itself where the writers are free to completely abandon the established characters and locales (even the typical time and space dimensions in which the show takes place) and just expand outward in every creative direction to tell some incredibly complex and often times bizarre stories that still manage to stay grounded in the world from which they spring. Vast, man. I am telling you. Vast.

It also doesn’t hurt that it is expertly written and voice acted. It’s genuinely funny for adults. The most interesting thing I notice while watching it with Kiddo is what makes me laugh, but not her. What makes her laugh, but only makes me smile, and what makes us both laugh heartily at the same time. SPOILERS: It’s the farts.

COMMENTERS: What things do your kids or just kids in general enjoy that you can’t stand? What gives you common entertainment ground? 

Learning Through Osmosis

 This is such a true story, it is MULTIPLE true stories. With an S. The first time this happened I was in Toronto and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls toys were being debuted at the show. Kiddo was obsessed with the movie and I was missing her first day of 1st grade to be at this particular convention, so I wanted to get her a cool gift. I went up to the booth and browsed what was in the case. There was a mother with her young daughter, 8 or 9 years old (American years… no idea what the Canadian metric conversion age is.), and it quickly became clear that we were looking at the same things. I feared her mother had warned her about the “grown men who like to play with ponies,” of which I was not one, but CLEARLY appeared to be one at that moment. I almost said aloud, “I’m shopping for my DAUGHTER,” but I thought better of uttering what is likely the shameful battle cry of the self-hating adult pony enthusiast.

My Patrons can see the original last panel to the previous comic which spawned the writing process for THIS comic [HERE]. 


A more subtle approach would be to ask, “How old is your daughter? Mine is 6 and she LOVES this stuff.” But as I thought the words they immediately became twisted and creepy. “HoWwWwww OLLLLLD izzzz yoURRR DAWWWWWWTERRRRRR?!?!? [pant pant hisssssssss]” Better to just smile as un-creepily as possible and wait for the booth worker to come over. She arrived and addressed the little girl first. “I want Twilight!” she belted enthusiastically. “OK, just let me get one from the back, eh? [aboot soory]” the associate replied. I had already been away from my booth for longer than I intended, so I just raised my hand and said, “Make that two.” I might as well have said, “I’ll have what she’s having,” then given the mom a wink and a pair of finger guns. Then I could just hold my wrists together and wait for security to put them in handcuffs. A more direct approach would have been, “I’LL HAVE THE SAME PONY THAT THE CHILD IS HAVING! I’LL HAVE IT FOR MY OWNNNNN!”

Anyway, I felt goofy buying it at a convention, but Kiddo loved it and that was the point. A year or so later at SDCC I had the exact same experience, only more so humiliating. My con-wife, David, had procured through man-child sorcery a special VIP pass to the Hasbro booth, which let you skip the massive line of other man-children and purchase whatever they were offering that reminded you of when you were young and alive and so much further away from an inevitable death. David and I made the death march from the webcomics area of the floor to the Hasbro booth which, while only being about 10 rows away, took a good 30 minutes to reach in SDCC time. The cases were full of robots and ponies and maybe some robot ponies, but definitely NO pony robots. I flashed my VIP (Very Impressive Pony) badge and was ushered to the front of an impossible long line.

To my chagrin, I learned that all of the stuff in the cases was not, in fact, for sale and was, in fact, for filling space in cases. The only thing they sold at this booth was convention exclusive toys, most of which cost upwards of $50-$100. I usually spend about $20 on Kiddo’s convention gift and maybe another $10 on comics for her. The cheapest thing they had, that would be of any interest to her at all was $35. It was a limited edition pony who was based on a character from an episode that she had seen, but who only actually appeared in the comics, which she had not read. I had come all of this way, and no booth was going to have shorter line than this. Maybe she would think the “con exclusive” aspect of it was cool. Whatever. “I’ll take a… Mane-iac Mayhem Equestria Girl.” The booth worker looked at me like, “Of course you will, Beardo,” and wrapped it up.

I wiki’d the character once I got back to the booth, so I could at least know what I was presenting to my child. That’s how it happens. That’s how you get THE KNOWING. Not, necessarily by being interested in your kid’s toys and shows themselves, but by being interested in your kid. Granted, there are lots of things she’s into that I am GENUINELY into. Adventure Time, Minecraft, Ninja Turtles… Our Venn Diagram of interests has plenty of legitimate overlap. MLP: FiMOMGLOL just isn’t my bag, and so I feel like a goofus when I have to display my uncharacteristically extensive knowledge of the subject matter.

My daughter lives in a world where everything she likes is the universally adored, coolest stuff ever. “How could anyone NOT like Littlest Pet Shop?! [I could list 1000 reasons] It’s the COOLEST! [It is not]” But, rather than be the dad who “doesn’t get it, doesn’t WANT to get it,” I want to be the dad who begrudgingly watches the overly bubbly, hyper manic, highest possible pitched shouting matches that are her favorite shows, so that when she wants to talk about them (which is always), I will have more to say than, “That’s nice, Kiddo.”

The problems occur when I actually start to have opinions about this stuff. Like how, in a world with three distinct evolutionary offshoots of the dominant species, where one of the subsets is so much more powerful than the other two as to make them appear crippled, does a caste system not naturally develop? Here’s how a real world Equestria would break down: Unicorns on top, ruling the Pegasi and Earth Ponies with an iron hoof. Just dominating every aspect of pony life and taking what they want, when they want, from whomever they want. They are telekinetic magic users in a community where everyone else can’t even get a book off the shelf without gnawing at it with their teeth! The pegasi are their enforcers. They are still subjugated by the unicorns, but they are awarded special privileges for keeping the Earth ponies in line. The Earth ponies are garbage. Just pure, fucking nonsense garbage. They dig trenches, and break rocks, and pull shit around in carts and probably serve as a food source for the upper classes.

Bare minimum, this shit is all going down 5 minutes after the unicorns figure out magic. Extrapolate a bit further, probably after an uprising or two, and the unicorns have completely wiped out the other two classes and enslaved… I don’t know… whatever species Strawberry Shortcake is.

Calling all Whovians with holes in their ears! Just look at these Sonic Screwdriver earrings my wife made! 

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