So here it is. The last guest strip before I come back on Monday, January 4th. I want to thank Avi for putting it together for me. I gotta give it up to Avi. No web site to promote. No agenda. Just wanted to draw a guest strip and did. No matter which way you slice it, that’s awesome, folks. So big thanks to Avi. May your New Year be everything you hope for!
As for the rest of you, I hope last night’s festivities treated you well. Since we have Pearl now, Cami and I had a low-key evening at home. We had some good food and a little bit of bubbly to ring in the New Year. My sister-in-law came over and we played games on the Wii. All in all, a good time.
Frankly, I’m just happy to have survived 2009. It’s been a stressful year for me personally. Lots of ups and downs.
Things started off great. We found out we were going to have Pearl back in March and we were excited about the future.
But bad things started happening to the people around me. One friend lost his job, another friend’s wife decided to divorce him out of the blue and yet another friend died in a car crash with his wife. Horrible, horrible stuff.
Not long after that, I lost my job – which is about as scary as it gets with a baby on the way. We kept our head above water with freelancing jobs I picked up here and there. Then I carved up my hand with a router and took a trip to the emergency room. That sucked.
Of course, when Pearl was born, that wiped a lot of negativity off the slate. But if I look back, I wasn’t incredibly fond of 2009.
Things could have been SO much worse. I KNOW that. So it’s not good to focus on the crappy things that happened because I could be living in a box somewhere. As bad as things get, someone always has it worse.
One thing that I’m really, REALLY happy about is the funding of Theater Hopper: Year Three. As you know we met goal, but the campaign officially ended yesterday. We ended up collecting $3,966.77 in pledges through Kickstarter in 60 days time. That’s AMAZING and I want to thank everyone that pledged.
There will be more to say about the project in the next coming months. But suffice to say that the book has been laid out and is ready to go to the printer. So everyone who ordered a copy of the book should see one in their mailboxes in the next couple of months.
As for the immediate future, I’m back in the saddle starting Monday, January 4. I’m a little less nervous about producing comics again then I was when Henry was born. But I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be doing 3 full-color comics a week yet. I WANT to. I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to.
Pearl’s not sleeping through the night yet. Once she does, it’ll be easier to do the comics. Until then, I’ll have one foot in the studio and one foot in the nursery taking care of the baby. We’ll see how it goes.
Thanks again to everyone that continues to support Theater Hopper year after year. Come August, it will be 8 years since I started and I’m amazed that I’ve been able to stick it out this long. It’s all because of you. You give me the support and encouragement to continue and it means the world to me. Thank you.
May 2010 bring happiness and prosperity to us all!
In the meantime, how did you spend your New Years Eve? Tell you tales of debauchery in the comments below!
Hey, guys. Today’s blog will be short as I was up extremely late putting the finishing touches on today’s comic. You’d think I would have taken the month off to build up a buffer or strategize how I was going to produce the comic while taking care of a new baby. But ohhhhhh no. I’m flying by the seat of my pants, as usual.
What’s important is that I’m back, baby!
I thought it would be kind of fun to address my hiatus in the comic with a short story arc. And, as in most soap operas, a coma was an easy out.
I really thought about doing a comic a couple weeks ago when the Iron Man 2 trailer hit the web. It didn’t seem fair that I was away from the site while that was happening. So this is a fun opportunity to revisit it.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, by the way, here it is.
…and, really, I’m only adding it because – like I said – today’s blog post will be extremely short.
HEY! Something that I wanted to mention that should excite you! Tonight we’re recording a new episode of The Triple Feature – our first since November 30. We have a lot of movies to catch up on and also a VERY. IMPORTANT. ANNOUNCEMENT.
So, if you want to know what’s going on before everyone else, be sure to listen to The Triple Feature LIVE tonight at 9:00 PM CST.
Now, I must scurry off to bed. But please take this opportunity to discuss the Iron Man 2 trailer. I know it’s probably been examined to death elsewhere, but I was bummed that I didn’t have a chance to have this conversation with you. So let’s have it now!
Leave your comments below!
Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, but this comic was WAY funnier in my head. I’m trying to play the fourth panel straight. Like peeing your pants at the sight of the Iron Man 2 trailer is a perfectly acceptable and normal reaction.
I think maybe I didn’t make bed-ridden Tom look disheveled enough by the trailer watching experience. The world may never know.
Sorry to be so self-deprecating first thing in the morning. Nothing more endearing than a comedian who immediately apologizes for then over-explains his joke. This is what happens when you operate on 4 hours of sleep several days in a row.
I used to be much better on no sleep. In the past, I could sleep for 4 hours and be fine the next day. I think the problem in this situation is that the sleeping I’m getting is constantly being interrupted. It’s as if waking up resets what counts as sleep. So instead of the 4 or 5 hours I know I’m getting, it feels more like the 30 minutes I got before my alarm went off and I was forced to start my day.
All these things will level out soon. I promise.
I also promise not to make EVERY post about being a new father and the demands of my time as a result of it.
In case you missed it last night, we made a very special announcement regarding The Triple Feature – the movie podcast I’ve been doing every Monday night for the last 3 years with Joe Dunn of Joe Loves Crappy Movies and Gordon McAlpin of Multiplex.
Last night we announced that next Monday’s show – Monday, January 11, 2009 – will be our last.
I’m bummed about it, but I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s getting increasingly difficult for the three of us to schedule anything in advance of the show and now that I have two kids I’m hardly seeing ANY movies these days. I enjoy moderating the conversations between Gordon and Joe, but I also wish I could participate more.
Gordon has his reasons of wanting to end the show. Joe, too. What’s important is that we aren’t ending the show with any animosity for each other. It was just simply time to move on.
To be frank, I don’t think any of us thought that it would last this long, but we’ve had a lot of fun doing it and appreciate the support of the listeners for the last three years.
At any rate, if you want more information about our reasons for closing up shop, visit The Triple Feature page on TalkShoe.com and download Monday’s show. We hadn’t recorded a show since November 30, so getting back together on Monday was a blast. I was laughing so hard I was crying at one point.
Of course, then again, it could have been the sleep deprivation.
Our final show will be next Monday at 9:00 PM CST. We’re going to list our Top 10 movies for 2009 and we plan to go a little long. Please help us spread the word about the show so we can go out with a bang. It would be great if you guys could set aside some time to call in. We want to make it a party.
That’s all for now. Not much else for me to talk about. I hope everyone is well and Happy Wednesday!
I wanted to let everyone know I have a new Facebook page and you can check it out here:
The new profile page more effectively pushes updates to you news feed as opposed to the old Facebook group we had on there. Joining the new Facebbok page is a great way to be notified about site updates, news and random thoughts related to the site.
Check it out!
Sorry for the lack of a new comic this morning, everyone. I spent last night shoveling our driveway with 3 ft. drifts in it and I just didn’t have any energy left over for a comic.
Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem. But I think the late nights with Pearl are catching up with me. I also started a new job on Monday. Well, sort of. It’s a contract position for the next 90 days, but I’m getting acclimated and it’s kind of stressful. It didn’t help that the idea I had for Friday’s comic was somewhat complicated to draw.
I hate flaking out on this stuff because I’ve always been a firm believer in picking an update schedule and sticking with it. I want to give you guys as few excuses for leaving the comic as possible. But this is just one of those situations where life is pummeling the crap out of me right now.
I hope to have a new comic for you either later tonight or early Saturday morning. Keep checking back.
Or, if you have a Facebook account, join the new Theater Hopper Facebook group. That’s a great way to stay notified. Comic updates will be published directly to your wall.
Of course, barring that, there’s always Twitter. I’m on that thing all the time.
Thanks for your patience and understanding everyone. Hopefully things will go back to normal and I can work myself into a routine in the near future!
Well, here it is. Friday’s exceptionally late comic. Again, I feel terrible about the delay and I appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding. If you could help spread the word about the new comic being online, I’d greatly appreciate it.
As you know from my last post, things have been stressful the last week. But I think things are leveling off. Pearl turned one month old a few days ago and I keep telling myself that it will only be a matter of time before she starts sleeping through the night.
I remember that Henry started sleeping through the night when he was 8 weeks old. At the time, it felt like an eternity. This time, I know what I’m in for a little bit more.
Of course, every child is different. So, who knows? Pearl might be completely upside-down on her days and nights! Let’s hope not, though.
Nothing movie related to talk about in this blog post. But I want to remind everyone to check out the last live recording of The Triple Feature this Monday, January 11 at 9:00 PM CST. It will be our Best of ’09 show and also our last show ever. It would be a real treat if as many of you as possible could call in live during the show and help send us off in style. It’s been a fun ride these last 3 years and we want to go out with a bang.
In the meantime, thanks again for your patience and enjoy the rest of your weekend. A new comic will be here Monday morning! I promise!
I don’t want to overplay the premise that Tom’s coma caused him to miss out on a bunch of movies for too long, but I really wanted to bring Avatar back into the fold somehow. I mean, when the movie makes half a BILLION dollars worldwide in only 4 weeks, it’s kind of irresponsible to ignore it.
I talked about watching Avatar a few days after it came out on December 21, so I won’t rehash all of the details here again. Seems kind of pointless. I guess you could say that’s another reason I don’t want to revisit all of the movies that came out in December that I didn’t do comics for on the site. Eventually things will balance out again.
Not much else for me to talk about today except to remind you that tonight is THE FINAL EPISODE OF THE TRIPLE FEATURE.
I’ve you’ve been a fan of the weekly podcast I’ve done with Joe Dunn from Joe Loves Crappy Movies and Gordon McAlpin from Multiplex for the last three years, then we would really appreciate it if you could swing by TalkShoe.com tonight at 9:00 PM CST as we record our final episode. We’re going to be sharing our picks for the Top 10 movies of 2009. But we’d also like to take the opportunity to have fans of the show call in and send us off on the right note.
Usually we record for one hour. But tonight, we’re going to play it fast and loose. The show could go on for two hours – maybe three. Who knows? It all depends on the turn out we see in the chat field tonight.
So set your alarms – 9:00 PM CST at http://www.thetriplefeature.com. Be there for the end of an era.
Thanks and I’ll talk to you soon!
I don’t really look at my site traffic like I used to. I used to be quite obsessed with it.
I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t look at it much anymore because I think if you put too much emphasis on it, then you might not be doing the work for the right reasons. Clearly, after nearly 8 years in the game, it should be evident that Theater Hopper is a labor of love.
But at the same time, because I love what I do, I want other people to love what I do. I won’t deny that it’s an ego boost to know people are reading and enjoying your work.
So it bummed me out a little yesterday when I looked at my traffic statistics and read the monthly averages by year since 2002.
Theater Hopper’s boom years were 2004 – 2006. These days, I probably see a third of the traffic I saw back then. Obviously my life is much different these days. I have two kids, I’m taking night classes for my Master’s degree. I’m a pretty busy guy. I don’t have the time to promote the comic like I used to or brainstorm ideas on how to market it.
I think part of the traffic decline can also be attributed to the sheer sizes of the archives. If I were a new reader, I don’t know if I could stand to read through 1,000+ comics.
Certainly you don’t NEED to read through the archive to “get” what Theater Hopper is about. I think the topical nature of the comic sees to that. But, still… It’s daunting. So I’m always impressed when I hear from new readers who invest the time to check out the history of the comic.
But I think my biggest problem is that I don’t advertise the site. Like, at all. I’ve never been very good about advertising Theater Hopper. I’ve always relied on the relationships I’ve established with other creators and the fan base to establish word-of-mouth. So, I suppose by those standards, Theater Hopper is very successful!
I don’t think it would hurt for me to advertise the comic a little bit, though. But the reason I haven’t done it in the past is because I’m terrible at designing ads for my site and I am awful at deciding which sites to put them on.
Some of this should be obvious. “Advertise with other web comics. Advertise with movie blogs.” But when you start talking about popular web comics and movie blogs, advertising costs an arm and a leg and I psych myself out of doing it because I’m not confident that the banner ads I’ve designed will attract new readers.
I’ve been thinking about designing banner ads that parody popular movie posters. Tom holding up a piece of soap that says “Theater Hopper” instead of “Fight Club.” That kind of thing. Designing a bunch of those kind of ads would certainly keep me busy. But beyond that, I’m lost. I feel like I need to talk to a consultant, or something.
Does anyone out there have web site marketing experience? Even if you’re not a paid professional, what would you do in my situation? I need to step outside of my own head a little bit. Maybe there is a very obvious solution that I’m overlooking.
Just trying to stir up a little discussion. Please leave your comments below. Thanks
People are kind of losing their minds about Sony announcing plans to cancel Spider-Man 4 and going with a straight up reboot instead. But as much as I love the first two Spider-Man movies, I’m not really bothered by it.
I mean, it kind of sucks that Raimi won’t have a chance to redeem himself after Spider-Man 4. But watching a 37 year-old Tobey Maguire run around as Peter Parker seems kind of disingenuous to me. Maguire still has his baby face, so maybe he could pull it off. But that little factoid would be gnawing at the back of my brain.
I certainly won’t miss Kristen Dunst as Mary Jane – one of the worst casting decisions I’ve ever seen. The less said about her, the better.
What I find kind of annoying is Sony’s emphasis on “rebooting” the franchise. The first film came out in 2001. It doesn’t really NEED a reboot. It’s not like any of us forgot Spider-Man’s origin story, or anything. It just seems like a waste of film to go through ALL of that exposition of the origin story again.
Frankly, I wish they would just recast the part and go about telling NEW Spider-Man stories. I hope they just go full-bore into the story like Superman Returns did and not bother telling us about Peter Parker, his Uncle Ben, power and responsibility all over again.
Similarly, I hope they cast an unknown to play Spider-Man like they did with Brandon Routh and Superman. I don’t think the Spider-Man needs a “name” actor like it did in 2001 to help get the franchise off the ground. Experiment a little bit. Just don’t cast Zak Efron or else I’ll have to torch my collection of Spider-Man comics and never look back.
What do you guys think about Sony’s decision to reboot Spider-Man? Leave your comments below!
Monday was the last recorded episode of The Triple Feature. It was kind of a bittersweet moment for me because, after a month away from the show, coming back for two more felt like someone yanked the rug out from under me. I find it weird that I won’t have a show to do next Monday.
But at any rate, it was our last show and the three of us named our picks for the Top 10 Movies of 2009. If any of you missed it, I decided to repost them here.
Now, I need to preface this list by letting you know that I am fully aware of it’s complete lack of “serious” films. The reason for that is, well, I didn’t see and serious films this year! This was not from a lack of wanting to see such films, but more a matter of circumstance.
You see, whenever there is a great film with a lot of buzz around it that both Cami and I want to see, it usually takes an Act of God for us to see it together. We need to find a babysitter, a day in the schedule that works for everyone… It can be a real pain. So if there’s a movie that both of us want to see and we can’t go together, I don’t go at all.
But if it’s a movie that is complete garbage that Cami has no interest in seeing, then I’m more likely to catch a late showing by myself after the kids are in bed. As a result, I don’t see a lot of “quality” films these days.
But I compiled a complete list of the films I did see plus the films I wanted to see and… we’ll get into that later. For now, my picks for the Top 10 Movies of 2009!
I’ve made no secret of my distaste for zombie movies. I don’t like gore and a I don’t like cheap scares. But there was enough buzz around Zombieland that I felt compelled to check it out. Turns out the buzz was right as writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick turned in a sharp-witted and entertaining script that lived up to the hype.
- I Love You , Man
If I never hear the word “bromance” again, it’ll be too soon. But because of I Love You , Man hopefully I never will. The film is quite possibly the nadir of the emerging genre. A sweet, likable movie about nice people and their insubstantial problems. But the movie is funny is a way that isn’t forced. It doesn’t rely on outlandish situations but rather character idiosyncrasies to find humor. Count me in for a sweet, sweet hang, Jobin.
- Princess and The Frog
A grand return to form for The House of Mouse that features a strong female lead, a beautifully painterly style, upbeat musical numbers from Randy Newman and a message you can take to the bank, literally. “Wish on stars all you want, but wishing will only take you half-way. Hard work is really how you make your dreams come true!”
- Inglourious Basterds
I admired (but didn’t expressly enjoy) Quentin Tarantino’s hyper-violent “What If?…” version of World War II the first time I saw it. But the film has grown on me with time. Watching it again on DVD, I was impressed by how well the three main set pieces slowly build the tension and keep it suspended until it breaks. Christoph Waltz devours the screen as Colonel Hans Landa in the best supporting performance of the year
Despite its weak plot and somewhat uninspired dialogue, director James Cameron did an exceptional job with the visuals of this film and showing audiences something they’ve never seen before. In film, it is always better to show than to tell and Cameron over-delivers with Avatar. With over a billion dollars at the box office in 4 week’s time, he’s obviously done something right.
- Star Trek
Star Trek defined the summer for me. Big, loud and a little bit dumb – but damn if I didn’t have a good time. J.J. Abrams reboot not only makes the franchise accessible to a new generation, but it does a good job placating the existing fan base – no easy task. A tip of the hat to the casting department. Nearly every actor is note-perfect in the role. Considering the potential for this film to land flat on it’s face, the fact that it soars is a testament to the enduring legacy of Star Trek.
- The Hangover
The highest grossing comedy of all time is a modern comedy classic. That sounds like boilerplate critical hyperbole, but trust me. People will continue to watch and rewatch Hangover for years and years to come. Part of it is due to the outrageous situations of three heroes find themselves in, but mostly it’s because I think every guy either has (or wishes they had) a story like theirs to tell to their buddies.
I don’t think anyone expected Liam Neeson to kick ass an take names as well as he did in Taken, but the movie was a left-field home run for me. Sure, it’s hard-boiled Eurotrash cheese, but if Qui-Gon Jin had been this badass in The Phantom Menace, it would have been a whole new ballgame.
The only reason Up isn’t number one on this list is because it becomes a little too much of a madcap adventure that gets lost within itself near the end. I mean, dogs with special collars that allow them to talk… I’m on board with that. Dogs that can fly biplanes? That’s where I draw the line (present company excepted). Up finds exceptional human truth in the opening montage that captures the marriage of Carl and his wife Ellie. In what results as the most raw and emotional scene of any children’s movie in recent memory, that truth is what carries the movie aloft.
- Fantastic Mr. Fox
For me, Fantastic Mr. Fox was simply the right movie at the right time. I was charmed by it’s hand-made sensibility and lo-fi approach. I was swayed by director Wes Anderson’s trademark dry snark and obsessive attention to detail. I admired the film for taking it’s time, going at it’s own pace and presenting us with something joyfully different than the barrage of digital 3D wonders that have saturated movies right now. I’m all for the progression of technology. But sometimes tried and true techniques in the hands of a visionary that cares about craft and attention to detail the medium requires is the perfect little love letter to film goers.
So, there you have it! My picks for the Top 10 Movies of 2009! Stay tuned for my complete list of films watched in 2008 (ranked in order) as well as the movies I WANTED to see, but haven’t.
Please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments below!