Civilian Casualties

I’m not saying this happened to me at the barber shop a few days ago, but I’m not NOT saying that this is EXACTLY what happened to me when my barber asked me if I was watching Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

I often forget that most people just watch TV instead of CONSTANTLY and RELENTLESSLY SCRUTINIZING and ANALYZING it. I also forget that many people (probably most people) aren’t super passionate about the things they talk about. Most people just talk to make sure the sound making parts in their head regions still function. It’s an involuntary act, like breathing or how your left eyelid twitches constantly (everyone has that, right?).

When normal humans ask you a question like, “Do you like that TV show?” the absolute most they are expecting in return is, “Yeah, it’s pretty good. The star is attractive and I like how it’s provides about 43 minutes a week that I’m not alone with my dark thoughts.” I forget that I intentionally surround myself with people who have both nuanced, informed opinions on the things they enjoy AND expertise in that subject. What I’m basically saying is I guess I’m an elitist prick, I think my friends are cooler than regular people, I think most people are classified as REGULAR PEOPLE (which is a monstrous thing to think in the first place) and the thought of having “small talk” with a “regular person” makes me want to feed a stray cat to an ATM.

HEY SHIRT WANTERS: I’ll be posting holiday shipping deadlines over at my store soon. If you want something before, let’s say, around the last week of December, you should probably order it now.

Want to help me bring back the HijiNKS ENSUE Podcast?! Or at least a NEW PODCAST called HijiNKS ENSUE?!  Then my Patreon is THE PLACE for you. My next goal is to relaunch my podcast and updated weekly. Go on and help out if you can. Thanks!



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  1. Hey, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the only thing related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’ll ever watch until Deadpool and hopefully Squirrel Girl is released

    • If a Squirrel Girl movie is released, Hollywood may as well just close up shop. There will never be a need to watch any other movie ever again. It will be the best of all possible movies.

      • Uhm, what do you mean not “strictly released” (I assume you meant “strictly related,” but same question) to the MCU? It DIRECTLY references the first Avengers movie, repeatedly. It is absolutely MCU canon. Maybe not “important” in the whole scale of things, from the perspective of the big A, but it’s not a matter of fanon or opinion or debate, it IS in the same universe.

        And Deadpool is Fox, not MCU. Unfortunately.

  2. One of the reasons I married my husband is because when I do this, he responds with 90 minutes of his own nitpicking critical analysis, we fight over who’s more right, and then order a pizza. It’s a good system.

  3. I know that feeling, where everyone around you is gliding by serenely while every storytelling medium is shouting bullshit at you from all angles demanding attention and examination, but that’s not entirely fair Mr. Watson.

    You’re born to that style of telly, but as an Irish man I find a lot of those series daunting or unrewarding. With the prodigious output of the standard American series, people can be forgiven for not getting absorbed in every moment of 20 hours of often fairly cramped, episodic and necessarily generic weekly presentations made to fit antiquated predigital requirements. Lacking the inclination for that doesn’t mean lacking the capacity. Maybe they like films? Everyone can’t be a ruminant, right?

    I love marvel, but I still can’t bring myself to try Agents of Shield. Daredevil on the other hand was closer to a focused, immediately available miniseries with some sturdy meat to it in a tight 13(?) episodes.

    Dat 2nd episode ending fight!

    I’ve enjoyed your work for years, by the way. Power to you for having the balls.

    • “I love marvel, but I still can’t bring myself to try Agents of Shield. Daredevil on the other hand…”

      You’ve made no mistakes here. The current MUCH BETTER seasons of SHIELD is ONLY for people who sat through the first two miserable, unfocused, BORING seasons. I would never recommend a newbie check it out. Your life is better off suffering through none of the nonsense to get to the few bright moments.

  4. I get this way with book GoT vs show GoT since everyone seems to love the show and I hate it. Yes I’m a book snob and wear that badge proudly and would love to tell you all about how the books are better and the show royally effed it all up and yes the actors are pretty and the sets and costumes amazing but the different characterization and storylines are ridiculous and… ( bees comin’ atcha)

  5. Couldn’t get into Gotham at all and SHIELD felt really weak going into Season 2. However when it comes to MCU, I feel Netflix is really ruling the roost with DareDevil and hopefully with Jessica Jones which I’m going to binge watch this weekend.

    I have had this issue where someone asks my opinion about a show and then they seem really annoyed about my passionate hatred (I tend to stay calm when I really love something so as not to frighten people away from watching). IF YOU DIDN’T WANT TO KNOW, THEN YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE ASKED.

    • I started out hate-watching Gotham just to see how bad it got, and then at some point it stopped feeling like two different shows fighting for space and found its “gritty cop procedural of 1960s Batman” balancing point and I started having fun. Then Supergirl came on the same timeslot, I had to pick one of them to watch not-live, and procrastination gets in there.

    • The biggest problem is when someone says, “Oh you like nerdy stuff. Do you watch [INSERT INCREDIBLY BASE, LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR, PANDERING BULLSHIT]?” and to ME that sounds like, “Hey you seem like you probably like wet garbage,” but to them it’s a genuine compliment or at least a genuine attempt to get to know you better.

  6. Ask me about Elementary or the Rober Downey Jr. Holmes movies and watch the bees issue from my mouth.

    I have been a Sherlock Holmes fanatic for over 30 years. Elementary and the RDJ Holmes make my heart hurt and my head explode. Sherlock is a far superior re-imagining of the Holmes stories.

    And the whole left eyelid twitching thing is just weird. Everyone knows that it’s the right eyelid twitching that’s normal.

    • Holy fuck, I read halfway through your comment thinking you were about to DEFEND Elementary and RDJ Holmes. Buhgeeeeez. I was so confident that Elementary would be laughed off the air just for the sheer HUBRIS that it displayed in adapting Holmes when such a superlative adaptation was already underway. Nope. It’s a fucking smash hit. Everyone in the world loves it. I also realized that if 3 million people watch it, that’s 3 million people who absolutely wouldn’t be into Sherlock. The quality is saved for the few, not the masses.

      • Ehh… I’m British and I can at least appreciate Elementary. At least they’ve tried to do their own thing – I was extremely skeptical when I heard Lucy Liu was cast as Watson, dismissing it as a flashy gimmick but I feel it actually works between her and Jonny Lee Miller. I’m still not happy how they handled Moriarty/Irene Adler but that has come into the storyline so little that I tend to ignore it. I’m enjoying the start of this season, because anything with John Noble in is bound to be good.

        Having said all that, Sherlock shits all over Elementary. I see Elementary as diluted methadone when I can’t get the fresh Heroin-like taste of new Sherlock.

        • Lucy Liu as Watson is about the only man/woman pairing on broadcast TV where there ISN’T a romantic subplot, too, so kudos to them for that.

      • Uh . . . I like all three recent versions of Sherlock (BBC, Elementary, and RDJ), on their own merits. BBC is clearly the best, yes, but the other two have plenty of good points. So . . . am I the “masses” who just don’t know “quality” in this commentary?

      • Some friends of a friend on Facebook love it because they see Elementary as turning into an excellent study of addiction wrapped in a familiar cloth. I could never get that far because the first few episodes were just abysmal. Which is a shame, because I think, acting wise, Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu make for an excellent, platonic partnership and I like the idea of Watson as a woman (see Joanne Woodward in “They Might Be Giants”). And while Rhys Ifans is too freaking skinny to be Mycroft (as is Mark Gatiss), I love his work.

        Maybe someday I’ll give it a run on Netflix. I’m in need of a new show to binge that doesn’t require that much thought.

        But yes…bugggzzzzz!!!!

      • I really don’t understand. Elementary is incredible. Whether BBC is far superior depends on what you’re looking for. Sherlock is basically take Sherlock, drop him into modern day, and that’s it. He hasn’t changed or evolved at all with the times, and the show is still pretty problematic from a racial and gender perspective at times. Elementary, on the other hand, has incredible acting AND it has actually updated the characters for the modern era.

        I’m not prepared to argue about which is better, because that’s so incredibly subjective, but I’m really surprised to see so many people who seem so negative on it. Maybe you never got over the fear that it was trying to copy Sherlock (which it wasn’t and isn’t)?

  7. This happens to me all the time and I just stopped caring. Also I knew by the first panel you were talking about Agents of Shield so thumbs up to my nerd brethren.

    • Follow up: Does anyone watch Supergirl? Or as the trailers made it look “Supergirl wears Prada?” Is it worth for a person who loves Gotham, is getting super bored with Agents of Shield but hanging on, and watches Flash and Arrow as guilty pleasures not because their in anyway relatable or good? Once Upon a Time is in that last category too.

      • Supergirl is OK. It’s still finding it’s footing, but there’s nothing glaringly bad about it. I have a feeling this whole first season, like most super hero shows, is going to be monster-of-the-week. It feels a bit like early Smallville in that sense. But the acting, FX and overall story work are fine. I’m not sure if I’m giving it more of a chance than I would other shows BECAUSE I think it’s important for a female-lead super hero show to be on TV or because I actually like it. I know that I get genuinely excited when there’s a new ep of Flash and and get about half that excited when there’s a new Arrow. But I don’t actually get excited when there’s a new SG. Not yet, at least.

      • I’m actually enjoying “Supergirl”. I kind of wish they’d back off on the whole “love triangle” thing between Kara, Olsen, and that IT guy whose name I can never remember, but given the events of “The Flash” I’m guessing that’s kind of a trademark for the showrunners. It was nice that we didn’t have a lot of “will she or won’t she?” about using the powers and wearing the suit

        • Love quadrangle now with Lucy Lane(Lois’s… niece was it?). The CW-itis has escaped quarantine and spread to the mainland.

          That said, it’s clunky but every show starts out clunky, and I’m interested enough to see where they go with it. And part of me has to squeal when Dean Cain says “I know everything there is to know about Superman.”

        • ‘Supergirl’ actually made me reconnect with my ex.

          She looks and acts EXACTLY like her, in this show – and it took me two whole episodes to realize why I found her so attractive (more so as Kara).

          We originally drifted apart due to boredom – now, I’m thinking about buying her a Supergirl outfit… 😀

      • I watch Supergirl and record Gotham. (For later consumption.) It’s kind of interesting how the two different production teams treat two properties from the same comicverse. Supergirl is written a bit like what you’d get if your little sister who played with dolls when she was young (but occasionally snuck into your room and read your comic books out of curiosity) grew up and was tasked to make a superhero-themed TV show. It’s light enough for an early-evening audience, and with just enough Bechdel-test romance and smart female characters to (maybe) attract a female audience; but dark and Action-y enough to (possibly) interest a comic-book-savvy male fandom.

        Gotham, meanwhile, is every bit the dark, gritty, desaturated, noir-ish, sort-of-police-procedural that one might have seen in the early days of Television. (Think “Naked City” with super-villains — and slightly more graphic violence.)

        Supergirl is still finding it’s legs (though you don’t have to look too hard to see Melissa Benoist’s nice ones), but it at least looks promising — although it seems like it’s going to follow the Superman/Lex Luthor formula established in “Superman: The Animated Series” with the introduction of Gazillionaire Tech-Industrialist Maxwell Lord. (Even down to the — mild spoiler here — “I’ll be watching you!” scene in the villain’s tower/fortress.)

        Gotham is a bit more established, and we’re already seeing most of the characters slipping into their super-villain (or hero) personae. Special props to Robin Lord Taylor, who has been giving his Penguin a human dimension that the comics never seemed able to. Also, I can’t wait to see what Cory Michael Smith does with Edward Nygma/The Riddler. Frank Gorshin and Jim Carrey did interesting things with him, but I have the feeling that Smith will make him memorable.

  8. Where are the bees over camel-casing Daredevil? What kind of sock-shoe, sock-shoe monster capitalizes the second ‘d’? Probably someone who doesn’t refrigerate their ketchup…

  9. –You guys, how awesome is it that there are SO MANY nerd shows on right now?! 😀 I remember when we were lucky if we got one. Okay, maybe two, because Star Trek in some iteration was usually in there somewhere too.

    So, you know, like all of television history up ’til now. Truly we are in a golden age.

  10. Never was into comics as a kid so I am not sure what is right or wrong regarding universe canon. But DareDevil is a great show…..loved season one. (I secretly call him Vag-Man because he sure can take a pounding)…cant wait to see the red head bare her fangs and cry blood.

    cant wait for season two.

  11. I’ve more often been in the position of being asked “hey, have you seen [xyz show]?” and I have to respond “no, I don’t have cable and it’s not on the streaming services I use.” And then they proceed to talk to me about the show in a way that suggests I’d actually said “yes”. It’s happened too many times to be a coincidence, so I’m just going to accept Joel’s explanation of “Most people just talk to make sure the sound making parts in their head regions still function.”

  12. I’ve spent the past ten years or so working on my inclination to OPEN MOUTH AND UNLEASH AVALANCHE OF BEES. Look, I’ve got opinions, ok??????? I’m finally starting to get to a place where I can have a normal light conversation about nerd-esque pop culture with “normal” people and not dominate it like a frothing jackass.

    That said, Did You Know that online advice columnist Captain Awkward uses “bees” or “THING is full of bees” to indicate a problem in a relationship? I have a sneaking suspicion that people who read this comic might like her site also.

  13. There’s only a few shows that will really hit my venting nerve, for the most part innocent commenters are safe. But once you hit one of those few…run for the hills.
    Great strip as always, loving the new style

  14. Shortly after beginning college I realized how awkward this situation can be for people, and Iearned to not immediately go FULL BROADSIDE when casually questioned about topics of personal interest.

    At this point I’m accustomed to starting out with the “standard normal person response” (“I like it/I don’t like it.”), then escalating if the other person pursues that line of conversation further.

  15. I see 50 or more good webcomic ideas. on this post alone.
    If Sharkesplode isnt ‘sploiding your inspiration, there is just Hijinx Ensue ,
    even Old-timey style ,

    Well read it, and like it.
    That poor poor women was just a casualty.

  16. Just because you can complain about something a lot doesn’t make you smart. It doesn’t mean you’re better than people who are less passionate about something. You’re just a loudmouthed idiot.

  17. Late to the party and it appears the various comics are dead on the web, but what the heck…

    I always find it amusing to tweak those people like the main character in this comic. I let one fellow wax eloquent and enthusiastic about Battlestar Galactica…how awesome it was, what made it awesome, how he personally could make it even *more* awesome…for almost half an hour (it was a weekend and I had nothing better to do). When he finished orally orgasming and needed breath, I just blinked and said flatly, “Really? I just like it because it’s on Tuesday nights.” Which of course it wasn’t and he quickly corrected me, to which I replied, “It’s not? I must be thinking of some other show then.”

    Or interrupt with an upthrust hand and a frowning, “Wait!” When they pause, look them in the eye and state very clearly, “I. Don’t. Care.” If they try to continue, maintain eye contact and repeat, “I. Don’t. Care.” I think it’s the eye contact that does it, but I’ve never had anyone get past the third “I. Don’t. Care.”

    Unless I happen to be a fan of whatever they’re fangasming about. then we just talk over and around each other and neither of us hear what the other is saying and don’t care; we have a grand time anyway.

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