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!

↓ Transcript
What, the? The gas tank is empty! He tricked me! He tricked me and now he’s going to kill me in the middle of nowhere!

Oh, man. Why did I get in the car with him?

Gotta run for it!

Tom, are you okay? Why are we slowing down? Are we out of gas or something?

I’m not gonna die in the middle of some road!

Tom! Come back!

Ooo-kay. That was weird.

Hey! A truck! Maybe we can get a ride!

Need a lift?

Yeah! To the movie theater!

Hop in!

How about your friend who’s about to hit you with that rock? Does he need a ride, too?

Uhhh, sure!