Oh The Places

BOOM! That’s the end of the first major storyline of the new HE comics. It was fun to make, and I hope it was fun to read.

I have a new store NEW STORE new store NEW STORE!!!

The new HE store is live at explosm! There are new signed prints and posters (previously only available at conventions), and for the first time I’m offering signed books! More info HERE.

hijinks ensue nycc 2013 blog image

I will be at New York Comic Con  this weekend (10/10 – 10/13) with Cyanide and Happiness at booth 2247! More info HERE.

UPDATE ON THE FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH DRIVE: If you are still waiting on your Fancy Digital Sketch, I am SUPER BACKLOGGED on these. I am very sorry it’s taking so long. Doing 50+ original pieces of finished art always sounds easy, until you agree to do it and take money for it. I am working through them, but if you need yours urgently, feel free to let me know via email.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Starfleet pips choker

Star Trek Starfleet Pips choker Necklace Etsy


Comments (49)

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eviljimmy's avatar

eviljimmy · 88 weeks ago

All of the current characters are being killed off in my crossover event with DC.
Sagebrush's avatar

Sagebrush · 88 weeks ago

After you do that, can we get a fan petition together to bring them back?
Yeah, well… that’s good character development.
lou's avatar

lou · 88 weeks ago

NNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!! Damn you, DiDio! Even if it’s not his idea, it’s still fun to blame him for the worst story decisions in DC comics.
So what’s the estimate for them coming back from the dead?
They all come back as Pink Lanterns.
Thank the WhiteGuardian.

That “Joel” character doesnt even have any superpowers. And his origin story: completely unbelievable.
Doesn’t work? draws for a living?
At least give him an interesting death:
( Something with Darkseid , make him a Black Lantern ? ) .
Then, after he’s resurrected the 2 or 3 requisite times, he can finally do something worthwhile with his comic life— Like Join Batman Inc so he can at least fight like a ( Joss Wedon character ) girl.

Anna77's avatar

Anna77 · 88 weeks ago

I just finished reading through your archives tonight and gotta say the most recent ones have been my favorites by far. Pop culture stuff was funny but a lot of times it just didn’t hold up well. This newer stuff is timeless.

2 replies · active 88 weeks ago

I really appreciate that, and totally agree about the lifespan of the pop culture comics. I hope I am creating something now that my kid will be able to read and understand when she’s older. I know she’s never going to get my Lost and BSG jokes.
thelogos's avatar

thelogos · 88 weeks ago

Could one say they would be lost on her?
Dean's avatar

Dean · 88 weeks ago

Werewolves aren’t extinct, they’re just hiding.

4 replies · active 88 weeks ago

Another hollow moon conspiracy theorist!
Dean's avatar

Dean · 88 weeks ago

Yes, they’re hiding inside the hollow moon, thus the phrase ‘full moon’, or ‘moon full of werewolves’. How is this not obvious?
Allen's avatar

Allen · 88 weeks ago

This comment rocks and you rock for making it.
They’re not extinct or hiding. They just went home
Matt's avatar

Matt · 88 weeks ago

I propose that werewolves be the first extinct species we revive through cloning.

6 replies · active 88 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 88 weeks ago

I’m pretty sure the award for that will go to a pokemon.
Dean's avatar

Dean · 88 weeks ago

Our dinner plates demand the return of the dodo!
Allen's avatar

Allen · 88 weeks ago

No they don’t. Dodos tasted awful.
Fren's avatar

Fren · 88 weeks ago

Ye gods, just imagine if someone manages to clone some manner of ancient, extinct animal and they eat it, and it’s delicious.

Do you think they’d name the fast food chain Jurassic Pork?

Allen's avatar

Allen · 88 weeks ago

Lizard King?
lou's avatar

lou · 88 weeks ago

For what? Some kind of Super Soldier project?
So awesome and beautiful and funny and inspiring. Well done and keep up the good work Joel.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

Your comics have been well timed in my own crisis of work faith. Thank you for putting this out there and letting us know it’s okay to take risks to make ourselves happy.
Glad you’re enjoying it.
Conrado's avatar

Conrado · 88 weeks ago

Joel, I’ve been reading the comic since forever (I know, I know… It’s just a figure of speech…). I like the change, the evolution you’ve had in your drawing style, the inclusion of storylines, the shift to a new frame of reference that includes the people you care about the most and, above all, the way you risked everything to go for your dream. Your work resonates with me.
You get my outmost respect!!
Thanks for the smiles!!

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

Thanks for the kind words.
HikingViking's avatar

HikingViking · 88 weeks ago

A transdimensional sentient murder house realtor? I think Trent Reznor uses one of those when he home shops. Look at that, your daughter’s backup plan already has a potential client!

2 replies · active 88 weeks ago

lou's avatar

lou · 88 weeks ago

I heard the same thing about that time Jimmy Page bought and moved into the former house of Alistair Crowley.
thelogos's avatar

thelogos · 88 weeks ago

Glenn Danzig has a platoon of them on retainer.
Eric's avatar

Eric · 88 weeks ago

I’ve been off HijiNKS ENSUE for a little while and just caught up with the new direction. I can only say, about effing time! I totally enjoyed it so far and looking forward to more.
Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 88 weeks ago

One of these days I am going to go a con at which you have a booth, and I will give you money a possibly small bottles of booze so you can draw me things. On this day I shall rejoice, for your comic brings me much merriment. Therefore, I have a question for you: What is the nearest con (that you attend) to south Mississippi? For verily, gas is pricey and monies are tight.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

Geez… nothing really. I’ve never done any shows in that part of the US. Sorry. I would love to alleviate you of your cash and booze, but unless you want to fly to a bigger destination type convention, it probably won’t happen.
I have to say as a long time reader, I haven’t noticed any difference at all—Other than the introduction of 3 female characters. For all the talk of revolution, I think this lack of change is a good thing.

Or maybe the plan is to keep adding 3 new female characters a week, until you finally add a Nikki Pixel with Amazonian Geek powers, battling against with Wil Wheaton with StarTREK Stu powers, to fight for the soul Of the “Fancy”.

1 reply · active 88 weeks ago

JoJo's avatar

JoJo · 88 weeks ago

Am i the only one that keeps asking himself why (or how..) comic-Joel is so prepared on the field of lapinthropes? I mean, he didn’t even flinch, or took time to ponder the answer. he just went BAM! here’s what you have to do. Something is amiss here, i tell you…
Sleeper agents for wererabbits? Secretly a wererabbit himself? Did his past as a wolf clan got cancelled in the reboot? Also, ponies.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

The thing with young kids is you have to keep your improv skills sharp. Always “yes, and…”
FSilvermane's avatar

FSilvermane · 88 weeks ago

A Vet for Were-Bunnies,….nice,…. I assume you read “Bunnicula” to her as a child,….that way she has the option of working with Vampire Bunnies too,…..
Justplainsomething's avatar

Justplainsomething · 88 weeks ago

when my dad used to tell me he’d support whatever I wanted to do, I’d say, “What if I wanted to rob a bank?” “Are we talking a big branch or some small town thing? Plan it out first.”
Dono's avatar

Dono · 53 weeks ago

I had to do it. Nice ETSY spot y’all have. So, I got the mushroom earrings and they had this cute * to read.

These earrings feature mushrooms which will make you grow bigger or give you extra life!* The mushrooms from Super Mario Bros. look super cute mismatched, but are also available as matching sets. Happy playing!

*Earrings will not actually cause owner to grow or extend owner’s life.” <see Hehe

The Taco Of Certainty

I guess this is the first present day appearance of Emily, other than via phoneI can remember at least a dozen times over the last 6 years that I’ve stated 100% that my wife will never appear in my comics. Not a chance in the world. Except there she is. So guess what? You from the past, no matter how right he thinks he is, is probably pretty wrong about at least some stuff. Probably a bunch of stuff. Certainty is a tricky thing. It implies you know all pieces of information relevant to a situation, all side of all stories and are somehow super-intelligent enough to determine the absolute truth of said situation.

Still, I’m pretty certain about tacos and how they are useful for making metaphors. I’m also certain that doing comics full time was the right thing for me and my family at the time. Future me may look back, as future versions of selves are wont to do, and say, “BEEP! ZORP BLOP X22222277ghghghZZZZZZzzzzz!” And, boy, would be be right. Oh, future me has a synthetic voice box and is also just a projection of a disembodied consciousness through an intricate array of holomatrices. Weird, right?

COMMENTERS: Present day you is future you to some past version of you. That’s just science. What thing was dumb old past you SUPER CERTAIN about that current present/relative future you no longer thinks is so incredibly certain or possibly even thinks the opposite of? No, I could not have worded that question more simply.


NYCC 2013

I will be at New York Comic Con Next weekend with Cyanide and Happiness at booth 2247!

UPDATE ON THE FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH DRIVE: If you are still waiting on your Fancy Digital Sketch, I am SUPER BACKLOGGED on these. I am very sorry it’s taking so long. Doing 50+ original pieces of finished art always sounds easy, until you agree to do it and take money for it. I am working through them, but if you need yours urgently, feel free to let me know via email.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Tetris earrings!

Tetris Earings!


Comments (72)

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Beth's avatar

Beth · 89 weeks ago

I was certain I’d get a college degree (probably in Anthropology) and be an academi and have two kids. Both girls.. I even knew what college I would attend. I was accepted to the college but had already had anthropology dam crushed and had a chance to visit England. 10 years later I have no diploma, have one boy child with no plans for more and live in England..and so unbelievably glad I made the choice to visit England and have this life.

Oh and I was certain I’d have an R2D2 by now.

I have a theater degree. I am now in Retail Management. I never pursued a career in my field. I would dabble in community shows but that was the extent of it. I’m not bitter about it, nor do I dwell on it for it is past.
My point is, I am glad for you that you have been able to do what you dreamed of doing. Thank you for the smiles and the heart-rending you exhibit in your art. I hope The Experiment continues for quite some time. Tacos on me when we meet one day!

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

That’s very kind of you. Thanks!
Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 89 weeks ago

Emigrating. Whatever I did, I would not end up living in the same village as my parents.. not even in the same country.

Well, guess where I ended up settling down after some time abroad and some time in another city?

Emigrating may still happen – I don’t know.

I refused to cut my long hair from age 14 to almost 18 because people (my mom, my school) were always telling me to cut it. As soon as I was on my own and no one cared I shaved it to about 1/4 inch. Without the fight I didnt enjoy it as much. Still, I have long hair in almost all of my dreams which makes me think I secretly miss it.
Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 89 weeks ago

Wasn’t an 80s kid and I had pretty strict parents, so no long hair for me. When I was on my own, I didn’t – like – grow it immediately, but my girlfriend liked it so it grew.. it’s still long. I’m lately wondering about cutting it or leaving it. I think I’ll decide in 2 years 🙂
When I was a kid I would say to myself “When I grow up I’ll have enough money to buy all the Star Wars Action Figures I want.”
Then as an adult in 1999 I bought all the new Star Wars toys for my past self and hung them all on my bedroom walls. 😀
bubujin_2's avatar

bubujin_2 · 89 weeks ago

Aww, Joel, this brought a near tear to my eye. Sweet strip today.

As a kid I couldn’t see living anything other than the standard American life. I’m now 20+ years living in Japan and not regretting it.

3 replies · active 89 weeks ago

DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 89 weeks ago

I should have told my sister not to marry that guy. Faced all the fighting and anger and whatever else and just said it outright, no matter what the cost.

Although that would probably ONLY mean that now she expects me to say “I told you so”, but you never know.

Junkyard's avatar

Junkyard · 89 weeks ago

Ow… right in the feels!
Mike Ferris's avatar

Mike Ferris · 89 weeks ago

This new direction has turned me from an “occasional drop-in” to full on Hijinks Fan. Love the comic, Joel!

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

Glad to hear it. Thanks!
I think the funniest version of super-dumb past-me is super-dumb 18-year-old me. I was convinced I’d go to law school and work in corporate law (!) and have a BMW by the age of 24 (!). These weren’t just things I wanted, they were things THAT WOULD TOTALLY HAPPEN. Not only was 18-year-old me super shallow and materialistic, but completely unrealistic. And stupid. So very, very stupid. I’ve done such a 180 with my life, and even though I’m not in a great place now, I’m eternally grateful I gave up on that rubbish when I did.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

The only future I ever saw for myself as a teenager was moving to Austin, TX and being a full time musician. I made no other plans and planned for no other possibilities until… I moved to Dallas and none of that stuff happened.
el_b's avatar

el_b · 89 weeks ago

I’m beginning to think that This is storyline is just a giant hint that you want donations 😛

3 replies · active 74 weeks ago

That’s a pretty cynical take on something Im really proud of. I’m telling a fictionalized version of my own story. I am being honest and pushing myself creatively. If you think talking about how, as an artist, I dont make a lot of money is some sort of sympathy pea, then please consider yourself exempt from ever supporting the comic financially.
el_b's avatar

el_b · 88 weeks ago

sorry if I came off cynical or insulting, it was only meant as a joke. I followed your comic for a few years now and have no intention of Insulting you.
Justplainsomething's avatar

Justplainsomething · 89 weeks ago

Well, since I just turned 28 a few weeks ago I was thinking about how 18 year old me thought I’d be a virgin until I was married. Bwahahahahahahaohgod. Yeah. no. I mean I was a very straightlaced sort of 18 year old and in the last 10 years both my sense of the world and my general sardonicness (shut up, it’s a word) has grown by leaps and bounds.

2 replies · active 74 weeks ago

I could go into a whole thing about christianity and homophobia and who was definitely bound for hell, but then I would run out of Internet and in the end everyone would just be sad.
{CB}Marsupial Vomit's avatar

{CB}Marsupial Vomit · 89 weeks ago

This comic warmed my heart. I just had almost the same conversation and experience with my wife and kiddos. Except the metaphor was enchiladas and guitar strings. I don’t even know what the hell I was trying to say…

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

It’s like that old saying: You never throw out the enchiladas with the guitar strings.
Gordon's avatar

Gordon · 89 weeks ago

I used to be a Christian. So there’s that.

6 replies · active 88 weeks ago

Didn’t everyone?
I used to be a Jehovah’s Witness, so I got you beat. (Technically, it was thrust upon me, but I didn’t officially break free from it until I left for college)
I hope you are celebrating extra birthdays now to make up for it.
If by “extra birthdays”, you mean “gay sex”, then yes, I am partying hard.
Of course that’s what I meant.
I was a Mormon, until I discovered coffee, booze, and sex!
Fren's avatar

Fren · 88 weeks ago

Vampire Jesus, is that you? I know you gave your blood for us, but asking for it back? That’s no fair!
Collect it in jars. A medical professional may be able to reinstall it.
“That’s it, I quit 3d Model Design and Art. There’s NO WAY I can learn on a Mac and get into the game industry.”
Jay's avatar

Jay · 89 weeks ago

i’m not going to check this comment for responses and it’s a little late but.

You guys should totally make a “Sometimes I forget my wife is Awesome” T-Shirt.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

Going forward, I do plan to make more t-shirts and merch that reflect the new sensibilities of the comic. But I feel like Im still getting to know them. Good idea though. I’ll put that in my ideas list.
There’s a lot of dust in this comic. Yup, it’s dust. Must be coming in from the new store construction.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

The new store will be selling dust masks.
Tony's avatar

Tony · 89 weeks ago

Present-me doesn’t completely lament art school. It was a great experience, and I made a lot of lasting friendships (and would probably have more evidence of that if present-me talked to them more often and spent less time giving into the shame of not having cool jobs like all of them do).

But given a time-traveling DeLorean, present-me would definitely punch past-me very hard before, after, and several times during the explanation of how he doesn’t have to go to art school right out of high school, does not necessarily need the word “game” somewhere on his college degree to get a job making games, and should definitely keep an eye on this “internet” thing because it’ll be useful for supplementing his education with tutorials and art communities. And, if past-me is having trouble figuring out what to do with all that time he’s going to spend not going to college right out of high school, present-me will point out that there are lots and lots of countries that he is a long way from affording plane tickets to because there are genocides that sound less evil than having to repay private student loans while working part-time at a job where you wouldn’t want more hours even if they offered to pay you quadruple for them!

1 reply · active 88 weeks ago

Zee's avatar

Zee · 88 weeks ago


Me too, Tony. Me too. 🙁

lou's avatar

lou · 89 weeks ago

Little kid me never put much thought into what any future version of himself would do, as he had to live day-to-day in fear of bullies. Same for pre-teen me. Teenage and college-age me thought present me would be an engineer, a real-life mad scientist pushing the boundaries of human thought and reaching to the stars! I would have a big house, lots of money, and beautiful women by my side!
Past and present me both do not understand how the more complex economic concepts work, so I actually still have to live with my parents (in THEIR nice big house in wine country), my Computer Engineering degree hasn’t got me much permanent work, and I’m still single. But I take stock of the good things I have in life and work to improve my present to secure the best possible version of future me.
Although one possible future me would be a grizzled, trench-coated, part-machine badass Mad Maxing it up in a post-nuclear wasteland, with a bandolier of cigars lit only with the flaming wreckage of something I just blew up.
Joel, today’s strip made me smile, and I’m psyched you made your wife and daughter regular characters. Keep up the great work, man!
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 89 weeks ago

College me was dealing with undiagnosed depression, started realizing it around junior year and thought that I could grit my teeth, power through college, and just get over it without actually taking time to get over it.

Yeah, that didn’t work. I don’t know if what I wound up with is officially a nervous breakdown but it was the emotional equivalent to running a car without maintenance until it falls apart and then being stuck with no no way to get anywhere while you fix it.

1 reply · active 88 weeks ago

PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 88 weeks ago

Yeah, same here. Took me a ridiculously long time to fix it – “Sometimes I’m not depressed, so I shouldn’t be worrying about all the times I cry uncontrollably and sleep 18 hours a day, right? It’s just temporary!”
Runcibletune's avatar

Runcibletune · 89 weeks ago

20-year-old me was absolutely convinced that she wanted a career in musical theatre. I had done a year of a bachelor of music and thought it was dumb and boring, so I moved across the country to go to a triple-threat performing arts school.

Turns out -surprise!- I don’t like acting! Eventually at 25 I went back and started again in my first year of a B.Mus. I’ll graduate this year, with plans to become a choral conductor. Which 20-year-old me would have thought was totally lame, and which present me is ever more convinced is an ideal fit for me.

Stranger's avatar

Stranger · 89 weeks ago

Before Time Me thought I’d atleast have a job and maybe actually make something resembling money from art on the side. Welp, Im 27 now, havent had a real job yet, been bounced around different mental health groups since I left school, and any money I make is chicken feed at most.

Turns out, hoping life will be good when you’re older is often a complete pipe dream. Still waiting for the good life to start.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 89 weeks ago

Teenage me was sure she would never get married, and if she did, it would be at maybe 40 years old.

23 yr-old me thought getting married to the guy I dated since I was 19 was a good idea.

They were both idiots (both of us think we got married WAY too young), but present me seems to be making it work, so there’s that! I look forward to looking back at present me and rolling my eyes! 🙂

J.P.'s avatar

J.P. · 89 weeks ago

My freshman year of high school, I declared I’d have my PhD and be a geneticist by 30. I’ll be 40 in December and I quit/burned-out-of my English PhD program in May (I also swore in high school that I’d never major in English, so my MA and MFA are just icing on the young me/not-so-young me cake). For now I manage a toy store.
Long time reader, first time commenter. I sent you an email a little while back about some annoying ads. Thanks for your quick feedback btw. Anyway, I always figured I’d be successfully running a business by now and making lots of money, either programming my own games or renting them out (this was back when people still did that) or fixing people’s computers. These days I help with a friend’s struggling web hosting startup for no cash and accept freelance programming and repair contract work. Other than that I live on Disability, which is something I also didn’t think would happen. I’m happier than I thought I’d be being poor, and honestly I have more people around I care about than I thought I would by now.

I’m 26.

1 reply · active 88 weeks ago

I guess what I’m saying is I’m a lot happier being poor and loved than I would have been being rich and lonely, even though the latter is what I envisioned for myself in my younger days.
Ken's avatar

Ken · 88 weeks ago

Not sure what is tugging at your soul with the recent comics. But if I want something dealing with families I’ll go read For better or Worse, or All in the Family, or Hi and Lois .. in the newspapers. If the experiment is to not die of boredom, perhaps you need to pull yourself our of this self-reflective funk and get back to truly entertaining the readers.

5 replies · active 88 weeks ago

A) Thanks for taking the time to comment.
B) Go fuck yourself.
C) If you want something dealing with GO FUCK YOURSELF, then you should probably GO FUCK YOURSELF TO DEATH. UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD. PLEASE DIE.
D) Pull your head out of your own ass and get back to truly FUCKING YOURSELF.
E) Fuck you.
Wow! Easy, man, easy! I disagree with “Ken.” I think the Experiment is a truly big deal for you and that it is working out for you is exceptional.

I actually had a tear welling up for the last panel. Keep up the work as you see fit to present it. Kudos.

Nah, I refuse to go easy on entitled pieces of shit like Ken. He’s not my boss and no one asked for his shitty opinion. He can see himself out the door immediately for all I care, but I do ask that he do it quietly so that he doesn’t disturb the Fancy Bastards who are here to have a good time. Fuck that guy. No seriously. Right in the face.
Zee's avatar

Zee · 88 weeks ago

I hate to school you, since you seem to be having more monetary success than me, but as someone who enjoys a moderate amount of popularity in another type of online/ art circle: Bad form. I know it’s your box of soap to stand on, if you want to, but attacking your fans for having an opinion of your current material that you don’t agree with is going to turn you rabid, you really should reconsider your “experiment”. Your material right now is not bad, but the underlying message isn’t necessarily untrue: your core readership probably didn’t sign on for the material you’re currently making. Some people will like it. Some people will not. It’s fine once in a while, of course, but the man is somewhat correct. You still have to entertain your readership to succeed. And now, you’ve probably sent enough of a negative message that he won’t be reading again, ever. In fact, he will probably tell twenty or thirty friends that you are a giant d-bag now. Even your keels, dude, and don’t over-react to criticism, even if it isn’t as polite as it could be. He loses nothing when he tells you he thinks this material stinks. When you tell him to go fuck himself, you lose readers. From what I can see, you ain’t Penny Arcade/ PVP yet, to go tell people to go fuck themselves.
“I hate to school you, but Im going to try any way…”

Entitled assholes like Ken don’t deserve civility or to have their opinions taken seriously. I’ve written extensively about why Im taking a different direction with the comics. It’s not a “maybe I’ll do this sometimes” situation. This is how it is now. I’m not looking for suggestions for “improvement”, especially when they are essentially saying “go back to the way things were when you weren’t making the comics you really enjoyed making.” Ken, and you and anyone else who aren’t on board with the new direction of HE are free and welcomed to stop reading. But that’s it. Just stop. Don’t tell me why, don’t make a big announcement and don’t think you have to get a final word in before you go.

Ken did not offer “criticism.” He offered a shitty fucking comment, designed to undermine my creative decisions. Further more, I didn’t ask for his opinion, nor do I require it, nor do I consider it valid since he isn’t one of my A) friends or B) peers. This isn’t YouTube. You can’t just go around telling content creators, “Hey, your thing sucks. Change it so I can be happy.” This entertainment is free. Take it or leave it. You aren’t my boss, and it sounds like you (and Ken) won’t be readers for much longer. See yourself out. I don’t care if Ken, his 30 friends and you think Im a douchebag for giving away my art, my creativity, my humor and my SELF for free. I think Ken’s a real piece of shit and if you agree that his approach was “constructive in any way” then you probably aren’t too far behind.

Cori K's avatar

Cori K · 88 weeks ago

I was a freshman in college in a math class, and after years of being (as my high school went to great lengths to convince me) pretty mediocre, something clicked. The professor pulled me aside and told me that I shouldn’t stop at the BA–I should someday go for a doctorate. Not necessarily in math, but, you know, I should do *something* with my life rather than just getting through college as fast as I could. I remember smiling, nodding, and thinking he was insane (really cool–a biker/civil engineer–but a little crazy). Pshh. What did he know? I was hell-bent on getting a BA in an acceptable, okay-by-me field in four years and going straight into a career that made my family happy.

Eleven years (and a double-major BA and an MA) later, I’m about 36 hours from the oral defense of my doctoral exams, and I’ll be proposing a dissertation on religion and webcomics. Not bad for someone the guidance counselor said wasn’t even smart enough to go to the local state college. But I think I owe that professor a “you were right,” too.

(And I, for one, like your latest storylines–character depth is good, and you do it without being all cheesy and crap. That’s not to say that I don’t love the earlier HE stuff too, but variety, change, all that, it’s a good thing. Keep up the great work.)

Fren's avatar

Fren · 88 weeks ago

Well, there’s been a few people over the years that I lost touch with, and some bad bad things happened to them. I know, I know, no way in hell I could’ve saved any of ’em, but man … still tugs at you now and again. If only you were there, right?

Eh well.

Kaidah's avatar

Kaidah · 71 weeks ago

This comic makes me tear up every time I read it.

Waiting For My Real Life To Begin

Yay! I finally get to reveal a major aspect of the new comics: Flashbacks. Since I wanted to keep the comic universe basically in present day, but I really wanted to be able to tell the story of the early days of my comicing career, I decided to juxtapose certain events with relevant and revealing looks back into the characters’ past. I wanted to be able to write from the perspective of someone who’s been doing this (comics, parenting, marriage, etc) for a while, but I kept thinking back to all the weird shit that’s happened to be over the last 5 or 6 years that would make for great jumping off points for story lines. From a storytelling perspective, this is the best of both worlds for me and I’m pretty excited about it.

COMMENTERS: Did you ever get fired from a job, get dumped by a significant other, or in some other way shat upon by the Universe and have it turn out to be a catalyst for a major positive change in your life?


We are putting the final touches on the new HE store which will hopefully launch tomorrow this week(?) HERE.

UPDATE ON THE FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH DRIVE: If you are still waiting on your Fancy Digital Sketch, I am SUPER BACKLOGGED on these. I am very sorry it’s taking so long. Doing 50+ original pieces of finished art always sounds easy, until you agree to do it and take money for it. I am working through them, but if you need yours urgently, feel free to let me know via email.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Tetris earrings!

Tetris Earings!


Comments (56)

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Wesley's avatar

Wesley · 89 weeks ago

Having been a victim of bullying for most of my youth, I came across anxiety training during my teens. This completely changed me from being completely socially incompetent to merely socially awkward but more importantly gave me the self-confidence to go out there and express myself. I’ve since been able and confident to speak in public, which has been a major uplift for me in other areas where I was insecure.

I’m pretty sure that I would have ended up a 40-year old virgin if not for that.

Jeremy's avatar

Jeremy · 89 weeks ago

Laid off in 2009, due to what the company owner claimed was insufficient business, I started my own competing company (with not so insufficient business) and then moved to another country where I now live happily. Catalyst!
This comic was really great! At first glace I questioned why the change in color. Then I saw the “5 Years ago” tag and realized it was a flashback. The blurred background was very effective and I got caught up in the dialogue. And then, the final line caused me to laugh out loud. Well done Sir! 😀

Oh, and the comment question…

Varmint's avatar

Varmint · 89 weeks ago

I’ve been working a go-nowhere retail job that I’d held for nearly eight years, mostly out of complacency and the fear of being unable to pay my bills without it. I’d applied for better jobs on and off over the years and had been rejected each time, and the resulting demoralization had pretty much convinced me that I’d never do better. Recently I’d been facing the prospect of being let go for not meeting a sales quota.

Rather than wait for the process of performance evaluations to begin, I decided rather uncharacteristically to get off my ass and start aggressively applying for jobs in a field that I actually went to school for, because at this point I figured that I had little left to lose, rejection be damned.

Long story short, it turns out that I aced my last interview; I start my new career next week.

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

That’s fantastic. Congratulations.
Varmint's avatar

Varmint · 89 weeks ago

Thanks. It’s nice to be moving forward again.
Doug's avatar

Doug · 89 weeks ago

I worked at a radio station through college and kept working there for a few years after. Put in over 7 years and was then laid off. My wife and I both worked there, so we were both laid off the same day. We lived in a small town, so other jobs weren’t available so we moved to Arizona. We lived with my parents for a year while I started a new job and made some money to support us. Now, 5 years later I’m a senior level developer/analyst, own my own home, and am loving life so much more. My wife went back to school for a second degree and is now a full time graphic designer. Getting let go by that place was the best thing that could have happened to us.
Flashbacks are cool – I like them! – but I think maybe the color scheme could be less pastel? The pinks/baby blues said “dream sequence” to me, rather than “memory”… Maybe instead of making colors paler, they could be made less saturated? Of course that might just be me.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with them 🙂

I love the pale colours, the strip stands out from the current timeline but doesn’t go all Lo-Fijinksy. A more familiar flashback tone such as sepia or grayscale would maybe too obvious, but that’s just my opinion.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

Thanks! I think the effect sets the art apart enough that you know it’s different, but no so different that it’s distracting.
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bubujin_2 · 89 weeks ago

In June I was let go due to a downsizing that had been in the works over the previous four months. So no surprise there. But the BS corporate was feeding us and the transition has rather sucked. To add insult to injury was that I had a 20-year relationship with the organization but was earlier passed over for a position I was eminently qualified that would have kept me around.

So I’m sort of enjoying at the moment a semi-retired condition. But still too young to be fully retired and still have a kid to get through H.S. and college. So catalyst is still pending on what I want to be when I grow up. Now if I can just get off these damned comics boards…..

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

I know this is a cynical viewpoint, but one thing I’ve learned from working a million jobs is that a company (no matter how large) will NEVER prioritize your needs over their own. The second word in “human resources” is very telling. No matter how kind or considerate they are when you work there, when it comes to the bottom line you are a stapler, a cell phone, a company car, a vacation, a health insurance package and often a financial burden. Never expect any company that isn’t run by YOU or your family to treat you like family when $$$ is all they see.
In 2002, I was fired. It was a complicated situation, but basically my boss was a terrible bully who had already run two other people out of the department (of four). He used the system to find a reason to fire me.

At the time, I had recently finished my education to change fields, but was having issues finding a position that a) would accept education without relevant experience and b) would pay a decent wage.

My mother-in-law happened to need a database built (my new field). She agreed to pay relo costs to move us and put me in for a security clearance. I agreed to accept about 80% of the going rate (which was still a raise for me).

Ten years later, I’m an in-demand professional with an excellent resume and a great salary. And it probably wouldn’t have happened without that initial boot to the rear.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

I think it’s awesome when family can give you a leg up. Everyone deserves help.
Carol Elaine's avatar

Carol Elaine · 89 weeks ago

Colin Hay song title FTW!


I was laid off from Disney over 10 years ago. At the time I’d been there for eight years and, though I hated what I did (some weird hybrid of legal, finance and marketing), I was comfortable.

Getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’ve since worked in politics – which was fascinating – and I’m currently working at JPL, where I’ve been for over seven years. I love working here. It may not be my dream job (I’m an assistant, but I’d love to do more creative stuff), but I strongly believe in its mission of space exploration. It’s the first place I’ve ever worked that I could actually see myself retiring from.

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

Do you know Bobak? He and I are buds. If I ever come down there, he’s promised to give me a tour.
Carol Elaine's avatar

Carol Elaine · 89 weeks ago

I’ve seen him around (including at the Wiggle Waggle Walk last weekend), but I don’t know him. You’ll LOVE the tour of JPL. It is awesome.

When he shows you the full scale model of Curiosity (and I know that will be a “when,” not an “if”), that’s in the lobby of the building where I work (Bldg. 180). I love seeing that thing nearly every day.

Becky S.'s avatar

Becky S. · 89 weeks ago

My first job, post-grad-school, was as a tech writer for a financial software company. 30 days into the job I realized it made me feel unclean, that I was overwhelmed, and that I hated the work. But it had taken me 6 months to find a damn job, so I buckled down and did my best to learn how to do the work, in spite of minimal training and oversight. I thought the misery was paying off when I got a $4,000 raise after 7 months on the job.

Then, 1 month later, I was fired. During my performance review. Queue three-and-a-half months of job searching in between bouts of intense depression and anxiety in which I questioned my ability to be an effective and competent tech writer.

I took a job as a contractor building servers at a company a friend worked for. A monkey with reasonable power drill skills could do the job, but I was working with a buddy, the people in the company were friendly and laid-back, and I wasn’t using up my unemployment. The much-reduced comparative salary and lack of benefits didn’t bother me as much as unemployment did.

Then, through a series of conversations, the company realized I was a tech writer with a couple of masters degrees. Two years later I’m the solo documentation person, make a good living, and absolutely love my job and the people I work with and for. All because a financial company fired me.

I’m glad The Experiment seems to worked out just as well for you, Joel.

patti's avatar

patti · 89 weeks ago

i liked the old content of your comic but because it was about pop/nerd culture it sometimes lacked depth, which was ok because it was funny and made me laugh, but im enjoying the new content because it reflects on real life more and keeps me coming back because i feel more invested in the characters and there lives, i like that your people aren’t perfect and have flaws and are struggling. thanks.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

That’s really helpful feedback, and basically exactly what I was going for, so thanks!
I think I’m on the cusp of that moment. I’ve been in and out of day jobs for a year since moving back from Florida where I was working a dream job. There are a few things on the horizon that could be potentially life changing but there just out of reach right now in certainty. I’m only 27 and there are things that I’ve done that I can be proud of but I still don’t believe I’ve reached that one significant moment where I can say everything has changed. I did at a time and then it was taken away from me via circumstances beyond my control.
Mike Z's avatar

Mike Z · 89 weeks ago

I worked at a large game company for many years. They didn’t make the kinds of games I wanted to make, but it was fun so I stuck with it even though after a while I sorta wanted to be doing something else. Then they got bought out and were shut down in 2009 (we found out via Kotaku!) and I didn’t want to continue to work at the new parent company making games that were even further from what I liked…so I took the opportunity to try being indie, and started really working on a fighting game. Close to five years later, I’m still having the time of my life working on our game and the fan support is amazing.

There are always ups and downs and stress in any field, but given the choice between staying with something that’s “just a job” and taking the chance to try making something you really enjoy into your career, I highly recommend the latter.

You chose wisely, Mister Joel, because you took the chance.

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

“we found out via Kotaku!”

That’s beautiful.

What’s your game?

Mike Z's avatar

Mike Z · 89 weeks ago

Since you asked, it’s Skullgirls – I skipped mentioning it because that wasn’t the focus of the story. :^)

And yeah, check it, the article even says “are to be laid off today”: http://kotaku.com/5406449/rumor-rip-pandemic-stud…

Congrats on your employment liberation anniversary!

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

Oh the actual anniversary was months ago, but thanks.
5 years and still going strong. I wish I had a story like that unless you count that I dropped out of college and went full time working nights. 15 years later I’m still employed full time and can afford all the books i want
Tiffany's avatar

Tiffany · 89 weeks ago

I was staying in a dead end job as a bank teller because it was close to home NV and the hours didn’t suck. I got fired for a customer service mistake the day before my birthday in January. I spent nine months unemployed, playing videogames to escape from a minor depression, sending out resumes on Craig’s list and pretending everything was fine. All while trying to survive on $400 less a month after buying a new house in December.

A week ago I was hired as the funding assistant for an estate planning firm. A bit less an hour than the bank, but a guaranteed 40hrs a week, which the bank wasn’t. Best of all I never have to listen to complaints about fees I have no control over, get yelled at because no one keeps track of their balance, or get robbed at gunpoint again.
Honestly, the robberies were pretty good days.

I don’t know much about academia, so please explain how getting a masters and a PhD is a job. Like, who is paying you to do these things? Also, I think that’s a fantastic topic of study. You and Randy Milholland (somethingpositive.net) could talk for hours.
Mike's avatar

Mike · 89 weeks ago

In 2007 I was studying visual communications at a pretty prestigious art school. Unlike my previous college, it was in a bigger city with much higher cost of living. So worked full time. On black Friday, some kind person looking for a digital camera gave me a virus. It turned into bronchitis and then pneumonia. I missed my final projects and failed out of art school. I was devastated. I went to the associated community college, but I was drinking heavily. I want able to pull my gpa up, so I was kicked out in 2009. Then my girlfriend of three years dumped me, and the job that caused all that trouble fired me. I ended up drinking magnums of wine while reading Hemingway and listening to Bright Eyes. I bottomed out. Since then I’ve realized art wasn’t right for me, gotten redirected on a new career, got engaged to a wonderful woman, and I’m almost 2 years sober. So all’s well that ends well. But seriously, fuck black Friday.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

Oh man. That was a tough read for about 9/10ths of a paragraph. Glad things turned around for you.
Neph Sy's avatar

Neph Sy · 89 weeks ago

Back in the 90s I was working at a company that was going through hard times and had entered bankruptcy protection, in an attempt to turn things around. Liked my job (didn’t love it), but hated my supervisor. Some branches had closed, but my location was one of the most successful. One morning my name was announced over the intercom and I had a 5 minute meeting with a Human Resources person who told me that my job did not exist anymore and that I was no longer employed. Only two people were cut from my department, I asked how this decision was made (meaning why I was targeted), but received no answers. Still in shock, I had to go to my part time job a few hour later to work my shift.

So with the help of some severance, unemployment, and the part time job, I had the time and a bit of money to take classes, so that I could get the skills to be self employed. Developing the business was slow as I was still working part time at night, plus I had a temporary teaching job. Then the owner of the store, where I had worked for 8 years mentions that we should talk about when I was going to leave??? She admitted that I was her best employee and had never done anything wrong, she just wished I had never started working in my craft (which she sold at her store!). One of her relatives was jealous of my business and felt threatened by me, since we made the same craft, and applied for the same events. So I was so insulted that I quit, my contract soon ended and I suddenly had so much free time that I was able to apply for more events and sell in more stores. Thus being forced to be completely self employed and more competition for the relative’s business.

Eric 's avatar

Eric · 89 weeks ago

After I finished college I went to work for a company doing web design work. When I started it was great working in my field but it slowly turned into one of the most stressful experiences of my life. Constant harassment from supervisors about deadlines even when all work was being done on time. Coworkers all blaming each other when thugs go wrong and just generally unpleasant work environment which was not being helped by management who made project goal incentives for people who finished stuff faster. It was terrible and was apparently making me terrible to be around. I hit a point I couldn’t take it anymore and left. Making a radical career jump I got a job working in human services. I started working with mentally disabled individuals finding employment and building job skills. Not the most glorious of jobs but I enjoy doing it and I’m happy.
When I was 19 I went to university to try and get a job that would get me a career. Then through a series of misfortunes (including the divorce of my parents) I failed out of school and got a JOB.

Four years ago when the kids were in full time school I applied to go back to university. I was rejected because of my previous grades, but I appealed and wrote letters to the head of the faculty, the head of registration and everyone else I could, and I did eventually get in (there is a lesson in that).

in two years – the year I turn 50 (and 31 years after my first attempt) – I will be getting my BFA with honours.

Reading all these comments really inspires me. I know when my catalyst comes, I’ll be ready for it.

The comic’s new direction is also making this community so great. I love all the honest stories and feedback from everyone. It’s a nice place. I like it here.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

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PokeyPuppy · 89 weeks ago

In 2005 my marriage was imploding, the awesome seasonal job I had held for 4 years was coming apart in the worst way, and then Hurricane Katrina wiped out my regular job and home.

I got a job in DC (phone interview), drove from Washington state to DC in 3 days by myself, and started work 8 hours after I arrived. I finished my first day crying on the phone with my husband – the job was great, but I was just a mess.

But having a solid job helped pay for couples therapy, which was REALLY necessary, and the relocation is what landed (a) my husband’s job, and (b) my current ownership of my own business. Since I’ve been called “bookworm” since I was 3, owning a bookstore is a dream job. And both my husband and I are so happy together again. Money problems, PTSD, and chronic depression do not make for a happy relationship!

PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 89 weeks ago

Also, I love the new direction of the comic! And the washed out color for the flashback is great – I think it not only marks this as a flashback, but also speaks to the emotional tone at that time.
We both had slings until she didn’t fit in them any more. Just recently passed them on to some friends who have a newborn, but so far he only likes the sling when Im the one wearing it. Sling confidence, i suppose.
thelogos's avatar

thelogos · 89 weeks ago

My long-time partner left me recently after being together for 9 years. A couple of months later, I started hiking every week and playing my favorite sport 2-3 times a week. I’ve met lots of great people. I’m also loosing some weight in addition to having fun times.
Pat Myers's avatar

Pat Myers · 89 weeks ago

Well, I was laid off from my job after 4 years. I wasn’t even upset. I wanted to leave and this meant I got unemployment. So I was able to dedicate my time to making comics and meeting people who weren’t psychopaths. Win-win.
Zach's avatar

Zach · 89 weeks ago

I was doing in-home computer repair and making a grand total of -$250 every month. I was let go for ‘not having enough experience’ (or mouthing off to my boss, whatever). Three weeks later I’m staring at a dwindling bank account, maxed out credit cards and a rent payment I don’t know how to cover. Then the phone call came in.

“Hi. We saw your resume. Would you like to work for Major Tech Company?”

Suddenly I am an engineer making more money than I could have ever thought possible. All because I got fired from a crummy go-nowhere job.

Scarlettb's avatar

Scarlettb · 89 weeks ago

It took me more than a year to get a job after I graduated college. When I finally (FINALLY) did, it was working with a program that provided therapy and foster care to juvenile sex offenders. Let that sink in for a minute. Juvenile. Sex. Offenders.

My job? Admissions. So I spent my days reading their application packets, which were exhaustive, DETAILED accounts of what had happened to them, and what they had done to others.

This summer, the stress of the job combined with my MS and the heat, and I had a serious exacerbation. 6 weeks off on disability. Came back. Cried every day. 4 weeks into being back, my neurologist puts me on a new medication to which I had an allergic reaction that made me literally suicidal. Back off on disability, and was informed on Day 2 of said disability that they don’t want me to come back. Super depressing.

HOWEVER. My headaches are less than they were. My shoulders no longer hover around my ears. I have not cried since the day I left. And a dream job I applied for on a whim is flying me up to interview in person in two weeks. So…fingers crossed that this is the catalyst moment, but even if I don’t get this position, I am so, so glad that I don’t work where I did, because that was literally (and I DO mean literally) going to kill me.

Jon B's avatar

Jon B · 89 weeks ago

I got fired, spent a few days drunk watching Star Trek, and then wallowed in shame for about two months.

Then I launched a distillery. Life got pretty amazing after that. I refer to this year as the year everything changed. I sleep better. I weigh less. I talk to my wife and friends more. I worry about more things, but I care about life more.

Hang in there.

I’m really digging Past Joel’s hair. Any chance of bringing it back for Present Joel?
I was a fresh-faced college grad working my first job in LA as a Story Executive (a pretty BS title anyways) when the 2007 WGA writer’s strike happened. My boss didn’t fire me, but let me know he couldn’t afford to pay me anymore. I hated the job, hated wearing heels to work every day, hated having to deal with stuffy executives all day, but man, the money was nice. I ended up broke and living on the couch cushions of my friend’s dead grandmother’s apartment in San Francisco. (She’d been gone a while, it’s cool. It wasn’t haunted, though we did find some Nazi stuff.)

I worked for Apple for a while and for a small knitting/dye store where I learned tons of stuff about dying and fabric manipulation but would never advance in either company without drinking the koolaid. I convinced myself I was in love with a guy back in Los Angles and moved back down. It didn’t hurt that there were zero film industry jobs in the Bay Area and I had made some new contacts in LA.

The very night I moved back, I met his new girlfriend who is now his fiance. After the initial oh-shit-I-fucking-hate-you, we eventually became good friends and it was at her urging that I published my first book. Now, I’ve published five, and am a steadily working prop master for indie films. I’m not rich, will probably never be, but I love my job and love writing.

Do I wish I had more money? Do I wish I didn’t work 12 hour days? Do I wish I could fly back to see my parents more often? Of course. But last week, I had a 15 on 15 Nerf war with my awesome nerdy LA friends. I’ve had dinner with my greatest childhood hero. And tomorrow I leave for (exotic!) Bakersfield to work on a film with A-list actors. And that’s pretty rad.

Life is insanely crazy. I’m never sure if I made all of the right decisions. I think I made the best ones I knew how. And I’m still floundering a bit but man, what a story it will make!

Kaidah's avatar

Kaidah · 71 weeks ago

I wasn’t really shat on by the universe, but much like the birth of your daughter was for you the impending birth of my first son was the catalyst for a major positive change in my life.

I was once the manager of two gas stations for a local chain and I really enjoyed it. I wasn’t making much, but it was regular and allowed us to do pretty much what we liked. Then my fiance (now ex-wife) got pregnant. I was 23 and we were living in my dad’s basement. The people I’d worked for at the same salary for over two years wouldn’t even discuss a raise with me. Needless to say, I was crapping my pants about how I was going to support my new family. About a month later I was offered a job with the maintenance company that serviced our pumps. I didn’t know squat about gas pumps, and it was for less money per hour but with better benifits and regular raises. I was comfortable where I was, and knew if I cocked up the new job there’d be no going back. Many a sleepless night followed

I then made the scariest decision of my life, and havent’ regretted it since. That was 13 years ago next week.

I took to the job like a fish to water and succeed beyond everyone’s expectations (including my own). My first year I made more than I ever had before (God bless overtime pay), and somewhere around year 7 I paid more in taxes than I had made a year managing those two stations. All because I was going to be a dad and had a family to support. It’s not glamorous, the hours are long, it’s often physically demanding and my clothes constantly reek of gasoline…but I love it and have never once been ashamed of telling my kids about what I do.

The Taco Of Doubt

Hey look, it’s my two least favorite things to draw: Buildings and cars! And lots of them too! Where did all of this blood come from? Is it mine? Probably!

COMMENTERS: What thing have you had to cut out (for financial reasons, lifestyle change reasons, etc) that you miss the most? What thing have you refused to cut out, regardless of the circumstances. For me it was Starbucks. No matter how broke we’ve been since The Experiment started, I’ve insisted that I allow myself the one luxury/vice/indulgence that I partake in, which is iced grande soy lattes.


We are putting the final touches on the new HE store which will hopefully launch tomorrow this week(?) HERE.

UPDATE ON THE FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH DRIVE: If you are still waiting on your Fancy Digital Sketch, I am SUPER BACKLOGGED on these. I am very sorry it’s taking so long. Doing 50+ original pieces of finished art always sounds easy, until you agree to do it and take money for it. I am working through them, but if you need yours urgently, feel free to let me know via email.


Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store “Science and Fiction?” Check out her latest geeky creation, a Pacman inspired necklace!

Pacman Necklace on Etsy

Comments (38)

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Having a fridge full of fancy beer is the thing I miss most from having a real job, that said I still get a six pack of something nice evey other paycheck or so.
Stephanie's avatar

Stephanie · 89 weeks ago

For two years I was just barely able to afford to have cleaners come and clean my house every other week. I’m self employed and business has been bad for a while now, so I’ve cancelled cable, got rid of the phone, don’t eat out, etc etc but the thing I miss most is having my house cleaned for me. I don’t care if I never get back to TV, phone, & fancy food. As soon as business improves though, I’m getting the cleaners back.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

This is probably the number one thing on my wife’s “if we ever have more money” wish list.
The thing I miss most about my husband having a regular job is positive numbers in the back statement.
Last Sunday I cooked a meal that I couldn’t wait to have. All day long I was thinking I can’t wait to have dinner. It was a five dollar whole chicken that I seasoned and roasted with root vegetables.
AND I got several sandwiches out of it during the week.
It doesn’t have to be expensive to be delicious!
Carlos A.'s avatar

Carlos A. · 89 weeks ago

I miss…
junk food. Used to buy fried potatoes, doritos and stuff. Still miss those. =(
Jason's avatar

Jason · 89 weeks ago

A year ago I had to cut comic books out of my budget. It makes me sad but unfortunately sometimes life is like that.

3 replies · active 86 weeks ago

It doesn’t help when you calculate the cost of the entertainment time vs other sources of entertainment. $3-4 for 20 minutes of reading, once a month isn’t such a great deal compared to dvd’s and books and screwing around on the internet for free.
Its not that you are helping to get a book cancelled. You are doing what comes naturally given your options and available cash, and THAT in turn is reshaping the industry… which means books gets cancelled, more titles go digital only, more titles go trade only, etc.
Oh man. Emotional cliffhangers?! Joel, what have you done! (It’s awesome. I love it).
PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 89 weeks ago

Dance classes. Not cut out entirely, but I don’t have the time or money to spend as much on dance as I would like.

At least I still dance around the house and stretch like a crazy person, and my husband is used to it!

I love this story. I am also super enthusiastic about karaoke. I have a pro KJ set up at my home. We just threw a karaoke party for my wife’s birthday this last weekend.
Can you do a tiny window sill garden?
sookiecookie's avatar

sookiecookie · 89 weeks ago

So is the end game of this storyline “buy my wife’s shitty jewelry or we’ll die in the streets”?

3 replies · active 89 weeks ago

meagankn's avatar

meagankn · 89 weeks ago

Wow, dude. You’re an asshole. Are you seriously mad because Joel is promoting his wife’s work? Also, it’s not shitty. I bought one of her necklaces and it was really high quality and I get a ton of compliments on it. So go eat a dick and stop being negative for no reason.
Blocked this miserable piece of shit, but I’m leaving the comment here as a reminder that this type of behavior is not tolerated. We are trying to have a nice, pleasant corner of the internet.
Handigoat's avatar

Handigoat · 89 weeks ago

Ah, the difference one word makes. If not for the “shitty”, this might have been snarky and humorous instead of douchebaggerous.
TJ Kiltman Anderson's avatar

TJ Kiltman Anderson · 89 weeks ago

Geeez, That Was Unnecessary
Doctor_Who's avatar

Doctor_Who · 89 weeks ago

Thing I gave up when I was unemployed: any and all video games that were not 100% free. I think I bought myself a single PS2 game for my birthday. And this was 2009, so a used PS2 game was like $7.

Thing I could not give up: weekly meal at Five Guys. Since I couldn’t find a job for over a year after college, I took the opportunity to finally learn to cook and start eating right. For the price of a week’s worth of microwavable cheap garbage, I could make a big pot of stew or lean chili, or a nice pasta dish. It was better tasting, more filling, and I lost 40 lbs.

But I would have gone crazy if I couldn’t cheat once a week with a massive pile of vinegar soaked fries and a burger.

Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 89 weeks ago

Ok Joel, just saw the second episode of Agents of Shield.


I think my favorite part was where Simon slammed his staff into the ground to knock out the bad guys with a science pulse then got River to safety on Serenity and flew away. But I just couldn’t understand why Mal wasn’t on the ship…….. -.-

3 replies · active 88 weeks ago

Stephen's avatar

Stephen · 89 weeks ago

Lol but in the movie, it was Serenity that pulled them out and helped then with the breakout. And it’s the opening scene of the movie that I refer to. We didn’t get to see him break her out in Firefly, she was in a box. But anyway….Whedon keeps reusing things! Does he expect us not to notice!? If he’s gonna reuse things from Firefly/Serenity I WANT THE WHOLE SHINY THING BACK, DAMMIT!
Ali's avatar

Ali · 88 weeks ago

In the movie, it wasn’t Serenity that helped with the initial rescue of River. It was whoever Simon hired to help him.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 89 weeks ago

After I graduated from university, I quickly learned the job market was basically non-existent in my area, but I was already used to living like a college student, so I coped pretty well. The thing that I really hated was when my car reached a state in which I could no longer afford to maintain it, and public transportation was sh*t at the time, so I had to rely on other people to get around. I hated the loss of independence, but stubbornly maintained my own place, and managed to feed myself and two pets (a cat and a dog). I was pretty much hanging on by my fingernails, just out of sheer obstinacy.

Luckily, I got an insurance settlement which, combined with a little help from my family, got me enough money to get a new car in less than a year.

Fortunately, my circumstances got better after a while, so I can’t complain these days.

The thing I’ve always refused to do without was a stereo system. I have to have my tunes, and I like them better when they’re bouncing off the walls than when they’re fed directly into my ears. I took my system from home when I went to college, and have upgraded every time I was able to.

In terms of things I’ve stopped compromising on, it’s good quality bread. Cheap bread is just plain horrible and unappetising, and makes me either want to avoid eating it, or wasting money buying something else for my lunch. Good bread isn’t all that much more expensive, and it’s worth it, IMHO.
Gretchen's avatar

Gretchen · 89 weeks ago

Hey Joel, I just wanted to give you a heads up. I got the blogtrottr email this morning that you have a new comic up, but the link leads to a “page not found” error, and it’s not on the main page, either. I wanted to let you know something went a little wonky with the site, just in case you weren’t already aware of it. LOVE the new direction of the comic, by the way. Can’t wait to read the next installment! 🙂

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

The site moved to a new server. Once your local DNS cache updates everything will be fine.
Gretchen's avatar

Gretchen · 89 weeks ago

Thanks 🙂
I would have to be on the streets before I would give up my cats. Anything else, fine, I’ll cut back, but those two brighten up my life every day. Fortunately, my partner and I do OK on our student stipends, and as we are in the UK we get free healthcare and other human rights.

Also, screw that other guy. I see your wife’s creations every day and think *WANT*.

Amanda's avatar

Amanda · 89 weeks ago

Unless some miracle happens, come February I’m gonna miss free laundry. We’re in an apartment right now that has a w/d in unit, but they’ve raised the rent so much that we’re paying more per month than my aunt says they pay for their 3 bed/2 bath house on 10 acres. And I can’t find anything that meets our needs that’s even remotely affordable.

I think mostly, though, I missing living in a house. I even miss yardwork…at little.

Laura Y.'s avatar

Laura Y. · 89 weeks ago

I definitely miss the housecleaning. I also miss having enough money to not feel rushed on the very rare occasions when we get a sitter and go out.

The one thing I won’t give up is my smartphone. I must have the interwubs available to me at all times.

Ali's avatar

Ali · 88 weeks ago

WoW. The non-trial version, anyway. I miss playing my monk so much it hurts sometimes. #firstworldproblems?

Field Sobriety Test

The big giant mega blowout HE Store sale is over, and we are putting the final touches on the new HE store which will hopefully launch tomorrow HERE.

UPDATE ON THE FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH DRIVE: If you are still waiting on your Fancy Digital Sketch, I am SUPER BACKLOGGED on these. I am very sorry it’s taking so long. Doing 50+ original pieces of finished art always sounds easy, until you agree to do it and take money for it. I am working through them, but if you need yours urgently, feel free to let me know via email.

Joel is headed home so I guess we’re about to meet his wife. Hear that, ACTUAL WIFE? I’m about to draw you in a comic or whatever! Let the record she that she did not protest. Let the record ignore that she is asleep because it’s 4:30 am. Things you whisper alone into the dark are totally admissible in court.

COMMENTERS: By virtue of being married to me and being totally supportive of my creative endeavors, my wife has sort of obligated herself to appearing in the comic. She’s had 6 years to get used to the idea, so I can’t say it will be that much of a shock. That is, until I get to the LEGEND OF THE ULTIMATE ROBOBEAST: ORGY WAR 2068 storyline later this year. What are the unwelcome obligations and perks that come along with your spouse or significant other’s job/profession/whatever? Does their job give you free travel all over the world? Perk! Does their job require free travel to New Jersey? Less of a perk!


This is my wife’s birthday week! Celebrate it by buying yourself a present from her Etsy store “Science and Fiction.” Check out her her latest geeky creation, a Pacman inspired necklace!

Pacman Necklace on Etsy


Comments (17)

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Neph Sy's avatar

Neph Sy · 89 weeks ago

He has the unwelcome obligation of helping with many facets of my business as an unpaid helper. Being a schlepper, and driver for 6-13 hour drives is probably the worse of it. I’m so lucky!

His previous job had great perks for my business; free photocopies, access to free dial up after business hours, a free laptop that no one wanted (it was so old, and permanently locked into a charging station base). Free trip to San Diego once. Health insurance.

Cdogg's avatar

Cdogg · 89 weeks ago

My husband is a philosophy professor, so he gets free trips to conferences once or twice a year, so we just need to buy me a ticket and we have an almost free vacation! We went to Vancouver and Edinburgh last year, which I definitely call a perk.

But, on the other hand, I’m married to an over-educated man who spends his days with annoying undergrads and gets paid to argue, so that can be a bit of a pain in my ass… 🙂

PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 89 weeks ago

Husband’s job requires a TON of travel, which is not a perk for me – he’s gone a lot. But every time we travel, free air travel & hotel stays in swanky rooms from all his points, so that is a GREAT perk!

I have a bookstore, so his marriage perk is access to tons of books for cheap-or-free, which in our household is a major deal. Books everywhere…

Her job gets us a discount on fuel to drive around and visit people/places more (which if you know what fuel costs in the UK, is pretty handy).

My job gets her free access to pretty much any decent gig when her favourite bands come to town…

In about 2 months we get medical, vision, and dental coverage which is a huge god damned perk, and before that he’s finally making enough money I can actually see a dentist for some emergency stuff. Huge perks. Downside? he works 12-15 hour shifts 5 days a week so I get no help around the house and our kid frets about how much he misses his dad. My husband’s perk for marrying me is that I’m a tolerable housewife, really good cook, and can keep things functioning when he’s away. Downside for him is that I’ve been in severe pain for several months and lash out in a furious rage when anyone tries to touch me.
The hubs works in Physical Therapy, so he basically fixes whatever is wrong with my apparently aged-before-it’s-time body. Wonky hip, neck pain, shoulder pain, I just point, grunt, and hiss ‘dooooo sooooomethiiing’ and he fixes me up.

The downside is I’m also the guinea pig for any new ‘techniques’ he wants to try out before he inflicts his patients with new torturous ways of making you ‘feel better’. Many have left me writhing in pain. But hey! Being able to turn my head 360 degrees is super-useful now!

PokeyPuppy's avatar

PokeyPuppy · 89 weeks ago

Definitely – shouldn’t be considered a “perk,” should be something everyone has! Stupid health care system *grumble grumble*
Neph Sy's avatar

Neph Sy · 89 weeks ago

I’m Canadian, just because we have “free” healthcare doesn’t mean everything is free.

It’s still good to have separate private health coverage for medication, eyecare, dentistry, therapy, hospital stays…etc.
Medication costs for some illnesses or conditions are major!

Justplainsomething's avatar

Justplainsomething · 89 weeks ago

I have one of her Quidditch necklaces and it is PRETTY.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

Really glad you like it.
lou's avatar

lou · 89 weeks ago

When one of my parents goes out of town for business for a week or more, they both go and make a mini-vacation out of it. Last year, my mom had a conference to go to in Germany and the Czech Republic, and Dad went along because of their centuries-old breweries, bringing home the beer steins and bottle openers to prove it. To quote Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there!”
I’m a massage therapist. I think my girlfriend appreciates this muchly.

Shame we live a state apart and all.

1 reply · active 89 weeks ago

this is the perk to end all perks as far as Im concerned.
My other half and I both work at the same University, so I get car rides and the occasional middle of the day hug. It’s nice.
rostheskunk's avatar

rostheskunk · 28 weeks ago

Mmmm Solyent Green Mountain Dew.