Doctor, It Hurts When You Do This.

Update 09-03-14: I am frantically trying to update/backdate new comics so there are 4 a week for every week since I got back from Toronto.

Teaching kids to deal with and even anticipate disappointment is tough. Teaching them that certain humans called “Genre Fiction Showrunners” revel in building up their hopes, just to dash them against the bloody rocks is nearly impossible. Children want to believe people are basically good, but they lack the experience and emotional sophistication to comprehend that many showrunners often are not… people, that is.

My Patrons can see the original last panel to this comic with completely different dialog and a different ending [HERE]. 


My wife and I will often carry on these deep, philosophical and analytical conversations about the worlds our kid’s shows take place in. Curious George is a frequent puzzler for us. George occupies a universe where no one takes issue with a man raising an ape (no tail = not a monkey) as a child. They can all understand him when he “talks” and they almost always leave him in charge of their stores, restaurants, human children, dumptrucks, air traffic control stations, etc. when the opportunity presents itself. The other, almost MORE crazy, thing people in George’s world do is give him stuff to deliver. “Oh hey, George the animal ape! Can you take this pie to Mrs. Stevens on Elmhurst St. She’s in the Parker building between 5th and 6th in apartment 14b. You got all that, George? George the naked ape? Can you be trusted to take her this food, and to NOT put your feces covered paws all over it? YOU CAN?! Excellent!” They even sent him to space once*.

Then we realized what we’re talking about and go make a sex, or drink delicious wine or whatever grownups do.

*DISCLAIMER: Curious George is actually an excellent show for children from about 2 to 9. Every episode is about using the scientific method to solve real world problems, and I’ve seen the positive effects it has on my daughter. It gets her thinking in that “hypothesis, experiment, evaluate results, try again” headspace. After she finishes an episode, she usually runs to the craft table and tries to build a scale version of whatever contraption George built to stop cap the out of control underwater oil well or whatever.

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

sonic screwdriver earings matt smith elevelth doctor who etsy

After Con Special

Update 09-03-14: I am frantically trying to update/backdate new comics so there are 4 a week for every week since I got back from Toronto.

Inevitably, I always miss something important when I’m out of town. I missed my daughter’s first day of kindergarten while I was away at a convention. I left a day early so I wouldn’t miss it, but Delta flat out lied to an entire plane full of people who had connecting flights and told us even though our first plane arrive 45 minutes late we would all still make our connections. Spoilers: Zero people made their connections, and because so many people were affected by the lie, they decided to help NONE of us.


So Delta lost a customer for life, and I lost a once in a lifetime opportunity to be there for my kid when she needed me. Of course, first days of school are one thing. New Doctors are another thing all together. I’m not sure how I feel about Capaldi yet. I don’t know if I not warming up to HIM, or to he AND CLARA, or just to Clara in general. I feel like her story was complete when The Doctor found out what “the impossible girl” really was. It felt like a complete arch, and now it feels like she just forgot to leave or die or get trapped in an alternate reality or whatever it is most companions do at the end of their adventures.

There are separate rumors that Clara, Capaldi and/or Moffat will be leaving after this series. I‘d be more likely to believe Clara and Moffat were splitsville, and Capaldi will be around for the requisite 3-4 years. It took me awhile to warm up to Matt Smith, so I am reserving judgement on Capaldi for now. I started with Tennant, so I’m not used to an old, cranky Doctor. I see the door open on that blue box and I expect a young, spry, good looking dude to pop out and start causing/solving problems. Maybe the Universe as a whole is just in an older, crankier state, so it needs an older, crankier Doctor. Honestly, at this point my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if Smith was the last Doctor and The Adventures of Jenny, Vastra and Strax started in Doctor Who‘s place. Of course Captain Jack would be in at least half the episodes. Can you imagine him trying in vain to woo the good and lizardly Madame? Fun times, I’m telling you.

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

sonic screwdriver earings matt smith elevelth doctor who etsy

Vacation Sketch Diary 2014: Galveston, TX Day 2

Please to enjoy this second Vacation Sketch Diary situation. We actually bad a blast at Schlitterbahn, which is German for “Towels are $35 at the gift and you forgot to bring towels.” Kiddo is essentially fearless when it comes to water slides. She rode them all. All of them. All of the ones with the big red triangles on the sign that denoted EXTREME DANGER, EXTREME FALLING VERY FAST and GENERAL ETREME EXTREMENESS.

I posted a photo of the experience, as well as a video.

I think I have one more of these in me, then back to regular HE comics.

TARDIS Necklace from Science & Fiction

tardis necklace on etsy from science and fiction




[actually posted on 4/16/14] I’m still playing catch up on a week’s worth of comics. I’ll be posting a second new comic later today, so check back!

This comic is based on the time Kiddo got her first Choose Your Own Adventure book. It’s actually called The Secret Of The Ninja, and she was ENTHRALLED with the concept of reading a book over and over again with different outcomes. She’d have her face buried in the book for a few minutes, then pop up and ask, “Should I drink the tea and go into a trance or continue up the mountain?!” These are the hard questions that every parent eventually has to answer. My fatherly instincts told me which path she should take. “TRANCE, TRANCE, TRANCE! That sounds awesome! The mountain will still be there when you come out of it!”


Patreon Patron-ONLY Hangout is tonight [4/16/14] at 9pm central! $10+ Patrons and above can join me on Google Hangout while I draw, answer questions and do other stuff for about an hour, or until we get bored. I will post the link in the Patreon Activity Feed 5-10 minutes before I get started.

The HijiNKS HANGOUT is tomorrow night [4/17/14] at 9pm central. It’s open to all, and will be streaming live on Youtube (I will tweet the link right before we get started). My guests will be David Willis and Angela Melick. Viewers of our ComfyCon panel can expect more of the same. Tweet your discussion topics, questions and drawing challenges to #HijiNKSHangout.

I wrote a blog post about how my Patreon is going and when to expect the rewards I’m working on right now.


Snatch The Pebble From My Hand

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 5.02.11 AM

Do you live in or around Austin, TX? Come see me and Dave from Cyanide & Happiness and Randy from Something*Positive at Wizard World Austin this weekend (Saturday and Sunday only). We’ll be at the Dragon’s Lair booth selling merch and doing sketches.

I’m actually extremely straight with my daughter when she asks me a question. If she asks me something that I don’t know the answer to, we’ll look it up and both get educated. She’s incredibly smart, so when I feed her a line of BS like the ones in the panels above, she immediately gives me this screwed up look and calls me out on it. Question/joke answer/real answer is just part of our dynamic. I’m not trying to turn her into a cynic, or a wise ass (OK, maybe that one’s not entirely true), but perhaps I am trying to teach her how to think on her feet. It’s shocking how far you can get in life by just being able to instantly and consistently talk words with your mouth while your brain takes a moment to think of an actual answer to a question.


Graphic Knowledge MagazineI did an interview with Graphic Knowledge Magazine (Issue 2) (available here for iOS devices) about the origins of HE, the recent shift to storyline/character based comics, and the ups and downs of this weird job I have. I felt like I was super honest and there’s probably some good info in there for anyone looking to do their own thing for a living.





Comments (25)

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As a result, everything out of their mouths (i.e. the teen years) will also be bullshit.
Your kid is a real scene-stealer, Joel! How long before she gets her own spinoff strip?
HereForTheRide's avatar

HereForTheRide · 82 weeks ago

I must say sarcasm is one of the best parts of parenting. To see the look on their sweet faces when they finally realize that you are yanking their chain. Then to watch as they learn to use it wisely themselves. Gives the mamma goosebumps.
Xample's avatar

Xample · 82 weeks ago

Yay! I’m not the only parent doing this!

Pro tip: Some day she’ll declare you incompetent and put you into a nursing home.

My 4yo frequently calls me out for “tellin’ STORIES.” Those stories are either sarcasm or lies, I’ll let you make the call on that one.
This is why I’m one of the few people who lists Calvin’s DAD as my favorite character from the strip. Because there’s no question why Calvin is as screwed up as he is.

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

lou's avatar

lou · 82 weeks ago

Not just Calvin’s Dad. Don’t forget Hobbes helping Calvin with his math homework, and turning it into calculus.
PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 82 weeks ago

I love that my deadly serious 12-yr-old nephew has started lightening up and successfully trolling his mom. He is so like his uncles, it’s fantastic. Finally, the sarcasm and smart-assery has started emerging!
I didn’t realize until today’s side-of-the-head view that Gracie wore glasses. Part of that is my vision problems. Don’t notice the frames in most panels, though.
You’d fit in well in my family. I come from a long line of harmless bullshitters. Pretty much every household in the extended family on my dad’s side had the Calvin & Hobbes strip where he asks his dad how they determine the weight limit on bridges, and the dad deadpans that they drive heavier and heavier trucks over until it collapses, weigh the last truck to make it over, rebuild the bridge, and that’s the weight limit (and the mom explodes “THAT’S NOT HOW THEY DO IT!” in the last panel). Because that’s totally something our fathers/grandfather would say.
OMG, your family is so awesome and your daughter is so adorable! Can I move in with you guys and be the “cool gay uncle”? I’m sure Josh has that position filled, but I’m willing to share that job with him (and share another kind of “job” with him…hint, hint, wink, wink, say no more)
Kevin's avatar

Kevin · 82 weeks ago

Let me tell you about the Hawaiian Pineapple Famine…
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 82 weeks ago

My dad used to do that all the time. Mom would tell him “just because you’re supposed to be smart doesn’t mean you can’t say ‘I don’t know'”. My brother and I loved it.
I find I’m too serious to be sarcastic with my nephews and niece…mostly because I hate the idea of giving them the wrong information from the start. my padawans deserve better
lou's avatar

lou · 82 weeks ago

Lovin’ the new direction of the strip, Joel! Can’t wait to see how the missus & kiddo get embroiled in your geeky adventures.
I remember my dad pulling my leg and my brother’s all the time, to lighten the mood for big house projects, as well as letting loose with some choice curse words. What’s your policy on swearing at your house?
Thundery End's avatar

Thundery End · 82 weeks ago

You’re actually being facetious, as much as sarcastic, from panel 2 onwards.
That’s how sarcasm can rise above being considered ‘the lowest form of wit’, and gain respectability as a tool of a comedy artist.
If only puns could benefit too. I like puns.

1 reply · active 81 weeks ago

zathael's avatar

zathael · 81 weeks ago

My dad always used to say that the difference between being sarcastic and facetious was love.
zathael's avatar

zathael · 81 weeks ago

When I was eight, I asked my dad why the sky was blue, but turned red in the evening. He sat me down and talked me through light refraction, including drawing pictures and diagrams when I was confused to help me understand it. By the end of it, I had a better notion of the physics of light than most high school students.

I only hope to be as patient once I’m a dad myself.

manbeardman's avatar

manbeardman · 81 weeks ago

the very first word my niece learned to spell was poop my sister still has not fogivin me for that
Chris M's avatar

Chris M · 81 weeks ago

I’m so glad I’m not the only one who does this… it sometimes makes it difficult when I’m actually being serious tho.
ThePhysicist's avatar

ThePhysicist · 81 weeks ago

I have viewed the current comic every day since it posted, and chuckled every time. I’ve lived that scene both as the kid, and as the dad. You captured it PERFECTLY… it’s a beautiful thing, man.

1 reply · active 71 weeks ago

That’s very kind of you to say. Thanks!