5 Year Experimentiversary

Today is the 5 year anniversary of The Experiment. That means HijiNKS ENSUE has been my full time job for the last 5 years. That also means it’s the longest job I’ve ever held. What I’d like to say is, “Thanks for sticking with me and making it possible for me to do what I love for a living. Without your support I would still be in some soul-sucking, creatively bankrupt job, but instead I get to do exactly what I want to for a living. It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done and I’m humbled and honored that I get to share it with you.” And while those statements are EXACTLY true, they are not the whole truth.

I started The Experiment with the goal of  being extremely transparent about the successes and failures of trying to turn my passion into my job in the hopes that someone else would read about my experiences, be inspired to do their own thing and hopefully not have to make all of the same mistakes I’ve made. Over the last 5 years I’ve heard from at least a dozen people that started “experimenting” for themselves after following along with my adventure in self employment/ dream fulfillment. Other than being a father, I think that is probably the most important thing I will ever do. If even one person allows themselves to lead a full life of risk and passion and reward and danger and all of the things that are the antithesis of punching the clock, being miserable and constantly waiting for things to get better because of something I wrote or said or did, then I’ve left the world a little bit better than I found it.

If you are a fan of The Experiment and would like to see it continue, please consider making a donation, buying something from the HE Store or Sharksplode or checking out my Amazon Wishlist. I am quite literally 100% dependent on the kindness of strangers. It’s a weird job, I know.

If you want a ZERO DOLLAR way to support HijiNKS ENSUE, please post a few of your favorite HE comics to your site, blog or social media outlet of choice with a few words as to why you think your friends might enjoy reading HE as well.

Hearing from other “experimenters” is certainly one of the most positive outcomes of this whole ordeal. But transparency isn’t just about sharing the positivity. It’s also about sharing the hardships, and the uncertainty. Continue reading

The HijiNKS ENSUE Podcast Returns (again)!

Long story, incredibly short: The HE Podcast is returning this week. The first new episode will be up for download (website, RSS, iTunes) on Wednesday morning. All 51 Post Shows have been moved from The Vault into the main feed. Only about 50 people have ever heard the post shows they were honestly some of our funniest stuff. So you can start by binging on a good 30ish hours of new (old) material.

The HijiNKS ENSUE PODCASTI NEED YOUR HELP! If you want the show to succeed and continue, please consider setting up a DONATION SUBSCRIPTION. Actually getting paid to do this job will make it SOOOO much easier to make sure it doesn’t fall by the wayside again. Also, please leave positive reviews on iTunes and TELL YOUR FRIENDS.

Long story, somewhat long: The HE podcast went on hiatus just over a year ago. The main reason was that my co-hosts were unable to find time in their busy schedules to record. I, being the only one of us who didn’t have a “real” job, had no right to complain or insist on them giving freely of their time but once Josh and Eli both entered a “crunch” phase at their respective jobs, the frustrations of trying to schedule the show became overwhelming. You might remember that I started recording more with “The B Team” of Alex and Roger towards the end. While those guys were more accessible (and certainly entertaining and hilarious), scheduling was still an issue. I knew I wasn’t able to commit to definitely having a new episode up every week, so I decided rather than constantly making excuses I would just hang it up and shut it down. Continue reading

4 Year Experimentiversary, 5 Year Anniversary & More Experimenting

I didn’t realize until after I got home from Emerald City Comicon that I had forgotten to mention the 4 year anniversary of The Experiment. I have officially been professionally unemployed making comics for 4 years as of March 31, 2012. People used to ask me all the time, ” How is the experiment going?” To which I would reply, “It’s going. I’m still doing it. There are ups and downs, but I haven’t given up.” The more and more I gave that answer, which I thought to be a bit an over simplified response seeing as how I didn’t want to get into the details of nearly missed mortgage payments, mounting credit card debt due to travel expenses and rest of the struggles that come with self employment with every person that asked, the more I realized it was actually the most honest answer I could give. There wasn’t actually an end goal for The Experiment. I never said, “If I can do this for 5 years, I have won.” The goal was to just keep doing it. To keep making comics for a living. To sustain myself and my family through following my passion and doing what I love. The unspecified addendum to that ideal was that in order for it to be a success, I had to keep doing it forever. So the actual and honest response to, “How’s The Experiment going?” is “As long as this is my job, I am winning.”Continue reading

2 Year Experiment-versary, New Olmos Shirt and BIG NEWS!

That’s right, you Fancy Bastards. As of last week I have been professionally unemployed as a webcartoonist for 2 years! WTF, right? Absolutely no part of that makes any sense. I wrote more about it in THIS BLOG POST [under the comic]. Again, I just want to say thanks for making this incredibly unlikely anniversary possible.

If you are fairly new to HE and The Experiment and would like to show your support, please consider getting a book or shirt in the store or making a donation.

Battlestar Galactica/UN "So Say We All" T-Shirt

As part of the next phase of The Experiment, I am now producing HijiNKS ENSUE 4 times a week. I know it’s going to be rocky at first upping my output like this but I really think it is imperative to the survival of the comic that I get as close to one comic a day as possible.

UPDATE: I spoke too soon. While it is still my goal to produce HE at least 4 times a week, so far it has proven impossible due to travel, cons and other obligations. WAY TO FAIL!

I am also happy to announce that I was asked by Olmos Productions, Inc. to design a new shirt for them based on the meeting that took place last year between the cast of Battlestar Galactica and delegates of the United Nations. Please check it out HERE and send the link to any scifi/BSG blogs or forums that you frequent.

BOOK NEWS: HijiNKS Ensue Volume 1 Preorder is GO! GO! GO!

HijiNKS Ensue Volume 1: Godspeed You Fancy Bastard is up for preorder in The HE Store NOW!

hijinks-ensue-godspeed-you-fancy-bastard-book

What’s in the book?

  • All of the HE comics from 2007-2008 in full color
  • 116 Pages of geeky goodness
  • “Directors Commentary” on each comic
  • A forward by Bill Barnes of Unshelved (it’s incredibly mean)
  • Early sketches of the HE characters
  • Never before seen comics from my Highschool Newspaper days
  • AND MORE!

If the Preorder goes well, the books should ship in mid to late September. The first books is always the hardest, so please bear with me on the preorder and shipping times.

It is available in several tastey flavors:

ULTIMATE SPECIAL FANCY EDITION (limited to 150): $50

  • The book, signed and numbered
  • A special limited print of the cover image, also signed and numbered
  • A “Godspeed, You Fancy Bastard” sticker
  • Upgrade to “Artist Edition” for just $10 more and I will sketch in the book, essentially ruining it

This edition of the book is for you Super Fancy Bastards that want to help with the printing costs of the book. The price includes a $10-$15ish donation. No other books or prints will ever be numbered so these are one of a kind editions. If I can sell all 150 of these I can pay for ALL of the books I am printing (and sleep at night).

Artist Edition: $35

  • I will sign, personalize and sketch in your book

Regular Awesome Edition: $20

  • A book, with all that other stuff, minus the fancy stuff

Any long time FB’s who are familiar with The Experiment know how important this book preorder is to the continuation of HijiNKS Ensue. You can read more of the dire details of the situation HERE. The bottom line is (and yes, this is basically me begging) if you enjoy HE and want it to continue PLEASE PREORDER THE BOOK. The next month or so is going to determine the future of HijiNKS Ensue.

Godspeed, You Fancy Bastards

-Joel