Before I launch into things, I wanted to ask for your vote at buzzComix really quickly. The top list has reset for October over there and I think it would be really great if we could position Theater Hopper in the Top 3. Heck, if we could get the number 1 spot, that would be a real treat.
To reward those of you that vote, there is an extra sketch related to the comic that you get to view. I think you’ll really enjoy today’s sketch. It depicts Tom’s first unfortunate selection in a clobberin’ rock. Anyway, about today’s comic.
I know it seems like the narrative has been jumping around a little bit these last few strips. Tom hopped into the car with Jimmy on Wednesday and it seemed his paranoia went out the window. Now today’s he’s driving, but the car is out of gas! What’s going on?
I’m just discovering that as I’m wrapping this up, there are some loose ends that need to be tied up and I have to cram a lot of detail and dialogue into fewer panels. In any case, I hope things aren’t TOO jarring and you’re still able to enjoy the story.
You may have noticed that I included some special guest stars in today’s strip. It’s Zach Miller’s Joe and Monkey! If you’re not reading JaM right now, then you’re really missing out on some quality work. Zach has fallen totally in love with his creations and it shows. Did I mention he updates 7 days a week now? It sure beats the updates we’d get every month or so back when Zach was drawing No Pants Tuesday!
I included Joe and Monkey for a couple of reasons. First, I felt that the arc had gone on long enough to warrant a little extra wattage from guest stars. Kind of like when Janet Jackson shows up on Will and Grace, or something. It’s a treat for the people who have stuck with the storyline this far.
The other reason was that Zach has been an exceptional confidant as I feel my way around this story. Zach has a little bit more experience telling a longer narrative than I do, so he’s been great whenever I needed to bounce and idea off of him. I wanted to thank him for it.
I don’t want to give away too much because I got in trouble for it in the THorum, but I think you’ll find the story will really tighten up when it concludes next week. As much fun as I’m having, I’m also kind of ready to put it to bed. I miss talking about movies!
Speaking of movies, there still hasn’t been much in theaters that has captured my attention. I guess Ladder 49 looks kind of interesting, but I probably won’t see it. Pardon the pun, but it looks like a reheated version of Backdraft to me. Do we really need a quasi-remake of a film that came out 13 years ago?
I’ll give props to the producers trying to sneak Joaquin Phoenix past us as a leading man in an action film. Good try, fellas! I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to live vicariously as a hero through the visage of a man with a harelip.
Shark Tale comes out today. Snore! It looks like Dreamworks tried to take the best of Shrek and the best of Finding Nemo and crammed them together to make an unwatchable pile of crap. I’ve read it’s like watching an underwater version of The Flinstones where instead of lame puns about rocks and boulders, they’re about trout and seaweed.
The only new movie that I have my eye on is I Heart Huckabees. The plot is too complicated to go into here, but you can regard it as an existential comedy. Think Magnolia, but with a sense of humor and less frogs.
I’m mostly attracted to its pedigree. David O. Russell wrote and directed the picture. He also did Spanking The Monkey, Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings. He was part of that late-90’s boon of auteur filmmakers that I really enjoy. Alexander Payne and Sam Mendes would also fall into this category.
Casting Jason Schwartzman as the lead in the picture is a good choice. I’ve been a fan of his since Rushmore. Not so much a fan of Slackers, but he was due for something like this. He’s very approachable, but slightly skewed and I like his delivery.
I’ve also heard good things about Jude Law’s performance. Between Huckabees and his lead role in Alfie later this fall, he sound like the one to beat at this years Oscars. They’re already predicting a split between Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor for these two roles. I’ve read that Russell was even able to get a strong performance out of Mary (you can call him Marky Mark) Wahlberg!
All that said, I’m probably staying home this weekend anyway. I’m prepping all the mailing labels on our new shirt so I can mail them out as soon as the order is delivered to my door.
Have you bought a shirt yet? If you haven’t, start collecting the deposit on aluminum can’s now. We’re only accepting pre-orders until October 15th. Once the order to the printer goes out, you’re going to have to wait a little while before you get another chance to get one for yourself! Click here to check out all the style and color options!
That’s about all I have for now. Have a great weekend!
…and so ends the crossover. Exit Joe and Monkey. Stage left, even!
In honor of their appearance, I have created a special JaM reward sketch that you can view by voting for Theater Hopper at buzzComix. It depicts Joe finally learning the important difference between e.p.t. and E.M.T.
A major shout-out needs to go out to Joe and Monkey creator Zach Miller. I already gave him some minor kudos on Friday, but this time I’m handing out the King-Sized kudos. Not only has Zach been a great sounding board to bounce ideas off of as I conclude the arc, but when I needed help finding the punch line to today’s strip, Zach was more than willing to lend a hand. I mean, who better to get the tone and the feeling of the characters right than the guy who created them? The e.p.t. joke is totally his and I appreciate his help. It was a real treat to take his characters for a little spin around the block. I had a blast working with them.
Can you believe the storyline that started way back on September 6 is almost over? A whole month dedicated to one arc. It’s crazy for me!
And I swear that it will end on Friday. No more phony extensions like I gave myself last week! This time it has been plotted out. It is set in stone! The closer comes on Friday and that’s it!
Anyway, I know I’ll be saying it a lot this week, so thank you to everyone who has supported this arc. It’s really helped to wake me up creatively and it’s been a blast.
I also want to say thank you to everyone who has bought our new t-shirt. Response to this design has been a lot stronger than the old Pimp Tom t-shirt. I have a feeling we may have hit on a design that I can continue to sell on the site for a long time.
It’s funny, y’know. The concept for the shirt originally began as an inside joke for the members of the THorum. I can’t get into the whole history of it, but I thought only a few people would buy the shirt since they were the ones who inspired it. Instead, when I’m checking my referral logs, I’m seeing links to all these other communities with other movie fans saying “Hey, check out this shirt!” and linking to the site. So if you’re new to Theater Hopper after coming to check out the shirt
Oh, Tom. When will you learn to stop being such a nuisance and stand out of the way when someone is being given the Heimlich maneuver? If only someone had posted a warning sign to educate you about the pitfalls of being in the blast zone…
# THE REST OF THIS BLOG WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN 2009 #
Well, there you have it! 32 days and 15 comics later, we’ve come to the end of the storyline. Although we’ve established Jimmy as the moral center of the comic, he’s still as naive and sincere as ever. Proof of which can be witnessed in an incentive sketch you can view by voting for Theater Hopper at buzzComix.
I’m not really sure how to go about discussing this storyline without repeating a lot of what I’ve already said in earlier blogs. I’m also feeling like I’m a little “too close to the project” right now, so I fear that my analysis will be slightly more skewed than if I gave myself some time away from it.
What I CAN say is “Thank you” to all of the readers that supported me while I exercised a different set of skills. I tried my hardest to develop the characters, sharpen my dialogue, ground the situations to reality and improve my art style. Maybe I didn’t meet all the goals, but I know I’m at least half way there and I have you guys to thank for it.
Read through the blogs during this arc. You’ll witness a lot of self-doubt. I never knew from day to day if the direction I was taking things in would alienate readers. The feedback I got was invaluable. Not only did you guys tell me I was on the right track, but you instructed me to push it further! As a result, I attempted to sharpen my focus while telling a bigger story. Over a month later and this is the result.
I think it’s safe to say now that I’m very proud with the way things turned out. Sure, everyone kind of ended up back where they started. Jimmy got his old job back and Tom will probably go back to his antagonistic ways. But we learned a lot about the characters along the way. What’s that saying about “the journey, not the destination?”
As happy as I am with the result, I’m ready to start being more topical again and talking about current movies. I think we’re finally starting to emerge from the post-summer slump and we’ll start seeing some really good movies soon.
Until then, thanks again to all the readers that supported me through telling this story. I dedicate it to all of you.
Before I get too far away from the computer, I wanted to take a moment to point out our newest advertiser Awake the Witch. It’s a really cool online specialty store that sells all kind of authentic Pagan accessories.
I don’t want to trivialize things by suggesting that you could pick something up for Halloween, but it IS that time of year. If I’m wrong for pointing that out, just send me an e-mail. Don’t curse my first born, or anything. ;D
If Tom were a grid-iron great, what would he look like? Click this link to vote for Theater Hopper at buzzComix to find out!
Well, here we are. The first strip back from the extended storyline that concluded last week. It’s a little jarring for me to try and get back into gag strip mode. It’s kind of like turning the ignition on a car that’s already running. It makes that horrible grinding noise and then you feel like an idiot?
Yeah, kind of like that.
I haven’t seen Friday Night Lights yet, but I’ll admit to being curious about it. The reviews HAVE been good. Cami and I were watching Dinner For Five on IFC and they had both Billy Bob Thorton and director Peter Berg talking about it. It helped to generate interest for me. Cami even said we should go see it.
I guess there’s just something in the back of my head that says “Don’t bother.” It probably has more to do with persistent sports movies cliches…
# THE REST OF THIS BLOG POST WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN JANUARY 2009 #
You would have to be living under a pretty formidable rock to be unaware that actor Christopher Reeve passed away this weekend from hear failure. Some of you may have wondered why I’ve been relatively quiet on the subject until now.
Mostly it was because the news of his death didn’t enter the news cycle until Monday morning after that day’s comic had already been posted. I also didn’t want to mention it into the blog like it was some kind of historical footnote. I knew a comic strip dedicated to his memory was the only way to go. Being a site about movies, it should be expected. I know I certainly expected it of myself.
The reason behind the kind of confrontational attitude in the comic had a lot to do with the opinions I’ve been collecting since Monday. Trolling the internet as I do, you’ll see a pretty wide variety of reactions to Mr. Reeve’s passing. By in large, I would say the response has been shock and sadness. But every so often, you encounter a bitter soul that can’t seem to find anything positive to say about a man that left behind a legacy of inspiration and lobbied tirelessly for the advancement of research for the paraplegic.
I was particularly emboldened to go ahead with today’s strip after reading comments left by Absath over at Ctrl+Alt+Del. An unfortunately uneducated reader sent him an e-mail calling Reeve selfish for trying to find a cure for his paralysis only after suffering the affliction himself…
# THE REST OF THIS BLOG POST WAS LOST WHEN THEATER HOPPER MOVED TO WORDPRESS IN JANUARY 2009 #
I read this article about French movie theaters and concert halls jamming cell phone signals and I simply had to respond. Personally, I think it’s a great idea. These venues have done everything short of taking cell phones away from the more obnoxious among us and giving them a time out. Using technology to keep people from interrupting movies or performances forces a doctrine of public civility without the potential of having an usher punched in the face by a perturbed Chatty Cathy.
In case you weren’t aware, today is the last day you can place your order for one of our new “Spoiler” t-shirts. Since I don’t want to take the gamble you’re not reading this blog, I decided to go for the more direct approach with my message.
That got your attention, right?
Once the clock strikes midnight tonight, I’m going to close off this first round of pre-orders, get everything together and send off the information to the printer. If you aren’t able to make the deadline, don’t worry. I still plan on continuing to sell the shirt. Another pre-order period will take place over the span of another two weeks. This time, the next cut-off will be October 29. So if you miss the boat this time, set aside a little dough next time you get paid and we’ll hook you up.
Incidentally, once I have the “Spoiler” order information sent off, I plan on adding another design to the store.
Yes, it’s the image of Truman stuffed into a purse. Demand was high for this piece, so I decided to cave into peer pressure. This shirt will go on sale Monday and you can expect another announcement about it then.
Incidentally, both of these t-shirts would make GREAT holiday gifts, so if you’re thinking about purchasing a shirt for someone else, it’s always a good idea to pre-order early. The closer it gets to the end of the year, the busier our printer will be. So shirt orders could potentially take longer to fill. Just putting a bug in your ear about it.
That schilling out of the way, I wanted to make a short announcement.
You might have noticed that I didn’t link to buzzComix at the top of the blog. Well, that’s because today I’m doing something a little different.
Usually I provide a reward sketch that branches off from the theme or subject matter of that day’s comic. Instead, I decided to switch things up a little and share a sketch of two new characters I’ve been developing. Their names are Boulder and Mouse. If you want to see an early rendering of the pair, just vote for Theater Hopper at buzzComix by clicking this link.
I was kind of doodling, thinking about the recent story arc with Jimmy and my thoughts started to drift toward the idea that I would like to expand the Theater Hopper universe and give the main characters a larger supporting cast to play off of. Then these two spilled out of my pen.
Looking at them, their personalities and background stories immediately crystallized in my head. I’m not going to share too much right now, because I haven’t settled on exactly when I’m going to introduce them into the comic. But once they arrive, you’ll get the whole back-story. TRUST ME!
I was just really excited by what I ended up creating and I wanted to share it with you. If you’d like to discuss the ever-growing Theater Hopper family, I’ll be starting a thread about it in the THorum soon. You can toss in your two cents there. And don’t forget about our fun community building weekly event The Friday Five going on EVERY FRIDAY in the THorum. We ask you 5 questions about yourself and you answer them! Couldn’t be more simple!
Anyway, that about covers it for me. Cami and I are going to see Team America: World Police tonight at the Century (or as Cami likes to call it, “The America Movie”). It should be a good time.
Don’t forget to order your shirt and my thanks go out to those that already have! You guys rock!
Have a great weekend!
Today’s buzzComix incentive sketch kind of flips the script a little bit. It’s not entirely unprecedented as a concept, but it’s still fun. Plus, it gives me a chance to give Puppet Tom a little extra time in the spotlight. Click here to see it.
I did get a chance to see Team America: World Police this weekend and my response has somewhat waned after walking out of the theater. I think there might be a backlash to the hype surrounding this film. Several critics are calling it the funniest of the year. I’ll admit that I laughed and even had fun quoting some of the lines afterwords, but the more I think about it, the less I like it.
The movie’s funny parts don’t stem so much from being clever, but more from the “Oh my gosh! I can’t believe they did that!” category. More shock value than genuine laughs. And there are more juvenile aspects of the film that I initially laughed at, but upon review, really aren’t that funny.
For example, the film takes great pleasure out of deflating well-known Hollywood liberals. Alec Baldwin is a prominent figure and the head of an actor’s organization known as the Film Actor’s Guild. So whenever Alec Baldwin appears on screen, his name is displayed with an unfortunate acronym behind it. It’s pretty third grade.
I don’t think I should spending too much time analyzing the politics of a puppet movie, but it seems like liberals in the movie are treated a little more unfairly than those on the right. Essentially, the movie would try to convince you that you shouldn’t listen to people like Sean Penn or Janeane Garofalo because they don’t know what they’re talking about. But since when do Team America’s writers and directors Trey Parker and Matt Stone have all the answers? It seems more than a little hypocritical to me.
Personally, I think a lot of critics are hopping on the “IT’S OUTRAGEOUS SO IT MUST BE GOOD!” bandwagon. Frankly, the first South Park movie was more irreverent.
That aside, I was very impressed with how the film was shot. The cinematography is excellent and the sets and props have to be seen to be believed. A lot of care and attention to detail went into Team America and it shows. From what I could tell, there was nary a special effects shot in the thing. All the effects were physical. If anything, see it for that. But don’t strain to hard trying to decipher the politics. The undercurrent doesn’t run that deep.
In site news, I know I said on Friday that I was going to have some new shirts for you to check out today. Well, that didn’t happen this morning, but I might be ready to go by tonight. I was out late Sunday night and didn’t get a chance to set up the store. Kind of a lame excuse, I know. But I have to have a social life, too!
I sent the printer the first order for the Spoiler shirts and I’m just waiting to hear back from him on production estimate. Those of you who got your orders in on Friday can probably expect to see you shirts somewhere around the middle of November at the latest, but I don’t know for sure yet.
Those of you who missed last Friday’s deadline. Don’t worry. I’m still taking orders. The next pre-order deadline ends October 30. So you have until then to get your name in for the second batch of shirts!
Thanks to everyone who ordered. Response has been strong. Hopefully I can still come up with designs that will hold your interest. I’m having a lot of fun trying!
Talk to you soon!
C’mon. You didn’t think I was going to let the week slide by without taking some shots at our resident, Theater Hopper punching bag Ben Affleck did you?
If you REALLY want to see Jared blow his top, click here and vote for Theater Hopper at buzzComix to view the extra, incentive sketch.
Watching the trailers for Surviving Christmas, I don’t have much to complain about. The movie seems like a fairly harmless holiday confection where desperate people learn valuable lessons about themselves, their families and “THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS” ™. A pleasant distraction.
TOO BAD THEY’RE RELEASING IT IN FRONT OF THE WRONG, STINKING HOLIDAY!
Halloween is two weeks away. What business does a Christmas movie have cluttering up the multiplexes, confusing the issue? The Grudge, I understand. Saw, I understand. Surviving Christmas… I do not understand.
DreamWorks, what are you thinking? I don’t remember a disconnecting in marketing this bad since Disney released The Santa Clause 2 on October 27, 2002.
All I’m saying is that Surviving Christmas better be really funny if it’s going to get over the hump of not one, but two holidays in two months before putting it’s intended target – Christmas – between its sights.
Will the movie even last that long in theaters? It could potentially be on video and on sale for the holidays before it even makes it to the celebration of its namesake!
I was going to extend compliments to the considerable talents of Affleck’s co-stars James Gandolfini, Christina Applegate and Catherine O’Hara. But at this point, I’m having trouble circumnavigating the absurdity of it all.