Those big changes I was talking about, the new direction for HijiNKS ENSUE? This is them. These are it. Well, this is the beginning of it anyway. For the past 6 months or so (maybe a year), I’ve been feeling like I wanted to do something different with my comics. I’d get ready to write a comic pointing out how a thing in a movie was like another thing in a different movie or in some way connected to a seemingly unrelated thing and I would realize that I had already made a similar joke about a different film or TV show. The entertainment industry is cyclical and I was starting to feel like I had done every kind of gag I could do poking fun of TV and movies over the last 6 years and now I had looped back around on myself and my subject matter. I could either keep doing the same thing over and over, driving myself and my audience to apathy, or I could stretch my creative muscles in a different and challenging way.
Those interested in goods from The HE Store should watch this space. I’m not saying the biggest blowout sale I’ve ever run is around the corner, but that is exactly what I am not yes are too saying. I’m saying that.
I was also getting the nagging feeling that I wasn’t being super honest anymore with my comics. I’ve always made a point to write about the things I care about the most. Whether the joke hits home or not, the honesty and genuine emotion behind my comics is usually pretty easy to pick up on. The problem was that the things I cared the most about, being a father, raising a young geek, figuring out how to be a parent while still being myself, weren’t represented in the comics at all.
When I started doing short story lines in the comics a little over a year ago I’d find that when a story line ended, I didn’t really want to go back to pop culture jokes. I wanted the stories to keep going. But I always tread very lightly and made sure not to get too bogged down in continuity. The more I did this, the more I realized how limiting it was from a creative standpoint. I couldn’t teach you, The Fancy Bastards, how to love or hate or latch onto a character if they didn’t have any real… character! If they were just soundholes through which jokes were projected, they were completely interchangeable and indistinguishable. But in my head they are VERY different, nuanced and complex. I wanted to share these aspects of my characters with my readers in a meaningful way.
After a life-changing conversation last March with my friend Josh Cagan in a hotel lobby over a bottle of Brandy, and a few follow up creative brainstorms with David and Wil (3 writers and storytellers who I admire a great deal), I decided this would be the year that I took the plunge. This would be the year that I established continuity in HE, and gave my characters actual lives, friends, jobs, love interests and started telling stories as well as jokes.
The humor and the geekiness that the comic is built around will stay the same, but the tone with certainly shift. There will be dramatic and heartwarming moments along with the jokes. I know that sounds pretty basic, but for me it’s a MAJOR undertaking. I am going to be talking about fatherhood, marriage, and delving into the pasts of the characters that lead them to where they are now. I am going to touch on aspects of The Experiment in comic Joel’s life, and how those choices made him the man and the father that he is (or at least put him on the path to be the man and father he wants to eventually be). I have never done anything like this before and it’s super terrifying. I am prepared to lose half, if not all of my current audience and rebuild from the ground up if it means staying honest and not getting stagnant and bored with my work.
From a logistical standpoint, the first 3 or 4 HE books will encapsulate the “pop culture days” and a new book will eventually start with the comics you are reading now. The next few comics will be spent establishing a sort of fixed point in time from which to build off of. I’m going to be reintroducing the characters in a way that hopefully doesn’t feel forced.
SHORT VERSION: HE has continuity and stories now. The geek humor and what not aren’t going anywhere. The hyper-specific references to certain TV shows that most people probably don’t watch are gone (and pretty much have been for all of 2013). Timely pop culture stuff will still be explored in the Lofi Comics. If I get better and telling stories and faster at producing the comics as a result of the momentum, I will do everything in my power to produce more than 3 HE comics a week.
Commenters: Here we go. I hope you trust me enough to stick around. I think it’s going to be fun.
Have you seen my wife’s latest geeky jewelry creation? LIGHTSABER NECKLACES AND EARRINGS!