First things first. Yes, today’s strip is a Valentine to my lovely wife Cami. I was going to go into a big, detailed explanation about how I decided to do this for her, but I think it stands on it’s own two legs.
If that doesn’t cut the mustard for you, let’s just say that I really like making a public spectacle out of myself. Sometimes it can come out in very bad ways that may embarrass Cami (she knows what I’m talking about). But in other ways, it is a powerful tool I can use to let the whole world know how much I love and appreciate her.
I have a web site. I have an audience. I followed my heart to the ultimate conclusion. I love you, Cami. Happy Valentine’s Day.
That being said, my Valentine’s Day got off to an excellent start Thursday night while I was preparing today’s strip. Checking the site statistics on a whim, I decided to look at my referral logs. Lo should my eyes damn near pop out of my head to discover that I had been linked from the main page of NEWS ASKEW!!!
For those of you not in the loop, News Askew is the web site for all things relating to Kevin Smith. Yes, that Kevin Smith. The writer/director of such favorites as Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy.
It’s a great place to go to get the inside scoop on all the projects he’s working on as well as have a little fun with the View Askew cannon of films. It’s a great community and I’ve been trolling around the site for years. That, and his new site Movie Poop Shoot are two stops on my daily web rounds. I’m totally bugging out just being recognized because I’m a big fan of Kevin’s. Just getting the link is like a brush with greatness!
So to all of the new readers coming in from News Askew, WELCOME! Please feel free to take a look around. You may need to start here to get a handle on the current story line and figure out why Ben Affleck is even hanging around in the first place.
If you like, you can start from the beginning and work yourself up to the present day. Ours is a fairly green operation. We’ve only 87 strips under our belt since opening in August of 2002. But hopefully Theater Hopper will be a place you check in on from time to time. If you can manage to swing by every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when we post new strips, that would be even better!
For any Ben Affleck fans out there, I hope you know that the last two strips where he is featured have all been in good fun. Of course, having him make a pass at one of my main characters probably doesn’t do much to dilute the “Ben’s gay!” perception among those who like to slag our resident Daredevil. But what are you going to do with a guy who played a character named Chesty Smith in School Ties? If that isn’t a gay porn name straight out of 1976, then I don’t know what is!
To all of my regular readers, I hope you have enjoyed the week of strips I’ve put together for you. I had a lot of fun doing them.
This whole week has been a real trip. Even before getting this link from News Askew, I was getting lots of positive feedback which is something I don’t get that often. Hell, I hardly get any feedback! So when I get an e-mail from one of you out there is a great validation. To know that you took time out of your day to pass along a compliment is very humbling to me. I want you to know I print off every one of those suckers. So then I can show them to my kids one day and say, “See?! Daddy WAS a success back in his day!”
Of course, they’ll be, like really young and won’t know the difference. But still…
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Here’s hoping you have someone warm to share it with.
And because I’m in such a lovey-dovey mood, I’ve posted a new review written by my friend Nick. It covered How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. A very fitting romantic film for the occasion.
I’m sticking my neck out on today’s strip. If you’re not familiar with the annoying ad campaign for AFLAC, you’re S.O.L.
For those not in the loop, the ads feature a duck voiced by Gilbert Godfried is attempting to extol the virtues of supplement insurance to clueless humans by screaming the name of the company at full volume. Typically, these individuals are sitting on park benches, oblivious to the helpful tips of this thoughtful water foul. Instead, they dismiss his quacking like so much noise.
Anyway, it’s a long way around for a joke, but I figured AFLAC = Affleck — what’s the difference? If all else fails, you’ve got a duck calling me a jackass. You don’t see that everyday.
I went to see How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days with Cami last night. It was my penance for dragging her to see Daredevil. How this system works, I don’t know. She was asleep during Daredevil for at least 30 minutes. Hey, I didn’t fall asleep during Maid in Manhattan!
There was too much to make fun of!
But I digress. How to Lose A Guy was actually much better than I expected. A lot of my other guy friends were dragged kicking and screaming and came back reporting it wasn’t that bad. I thought they were full of it. Now I am a member of their chorus.
The film is loaded with standard romantic-comedy cliches, but you don’t really mind because the execution isn’t insulting to the audience. Clearly it presents a stylized version of New York where things are glossy and fabulous and there are about 3 black people in the entire city, but what are you going to do?
Dialogue is really the strong point in this movie. All of the characters are intelligent and well-spoken. Sliver-tongued, they string together sentences confidently and sincerely. It’s a refreshing twist on some of the leaden garbage that passes for prose these days.
Watching How to Lose A Guy reminded me of how good an actress Kate Hudson really is. Remarkable for her age, she’s already surpassed her mother, Goldie Hawn, in terms of pure, radiating talent. I gotta go back and watch Almost Famous for a second helping.
Matthew McConaughey wasn’t half bad, either. He can’t act his way out of a paper bag if things get too complicated, but when the writers get out of his way and allow him to work his charm, he is entertaining to watch.
I’ve finally decided to end the “What Would You Buy” survey. The results were about what I expected. The majority of you – over 1/3 of the 300 who replied said they would like to donate, but didn’t have money. The next closest contender was a t-shirt with 17% of the vote.
I would like to make t-shirts, but I’m kind of on the fence about it. I have a lot of concerns about quality. Sure, I could slap a logo on a t-shirt sold from CafePress, but we all know those shirts are second-rate crap and will start fading after three washes,
Brunetto Shirts, on the other hand, are high quality silk screened tees that will stand the test of time. The down side, is that I need 40 pre-orders from you guys before I can put in my work order to Brunetto.
Unless there are people flooding my inbox clamoring for them, I think for now, I’m going to shelf the idea of doing any merchandising. I may do some stickers down the road. Wallpaper sounds nice. I just need something equivalent to dipping my toe in the water. Something where I don’t have to put a bunch of money up front.
In the meantime, the poll has changed to “Which Film Will Win Best Picture?” It’s pretty self explanatory.
Last thing I’ll mention: Checking my referral logs through my counter, I noticed I was given a brief mention over at Briworld. I don’t know how many people are tuned in to this web comic, but it’s high time more people know about it.
I love the art style of the characters and if I could get the crew of Theater Hopper to look more like them, I would. Check out Briworld. It’s a real treat.
Sometimes it’s fun to reference past works…
I have nothing against Affleck’s new movie Paycheck (although I do believe that John Woo is slipping since he started making movies for American studios), I just needed an easy target to make fun of on a Monday.
Still screwy from the holidays. It’s been difficult getting back into a routine. But I’m going back to work on Monday, so maybe I get in the swing of things again.
Actually, that’s pretty optimistic. I know it’s not the case. Come this Wednesday, I’ll be taking another short holiday to New York City for New Year’s Eve. Oh, yeah. Cami and I are gonna do the whole Times Square thing, too. It’ll be fun.
That being the case, anyone who is interested in submitting guest strips for this Wednesday and Friday is more than welcome to do so. I’d like to give you guys a reason to keep checking the site while I’m away. If you’d like to do a guest strip, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As excited as I am to be in New York on New Year’s Eve, I have to admit the recent terrorism warnings have me a little worried. All it takes it one ticked off fundamentalist with an agenda to ruin everyone elses’ good time. But I’m not going to cancel a trip I’ve been planning since August on the off chance that something horrible and disfiguring could happen.
Frankly, I think a terrorist would have to be pretty stupid to try anything in a post 9/11 America. We’re all looking for our chance to ram one up the collective kiesters of these terrorists and break it off. Try anything on a plane these days and they’ll ship you home in a ZipLoc.
Well, anyway. I’ll change the subject. This kind of dour discussion isn’t what you come to the site for. How about a little good news?
I guess people in the forums are saying they can detect a new style in my artwork? I’m not really noticing it, but Cami swears she’s seen a leap in the past few strips. By the way, did you know we have exactly 99 members in the forum as of this writing? Wouldn’t it be cool if you registered and were the 100 member? Think about it…
One other item of interest; My parents are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary today. So, in the off chance they’re reading, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD!
I’d give you their e-mail addresses so you could wish them well, but frankly, I don’t want to freak them out!
I know for some of you it might seem a bit cruel to keep dishing out punishment on an unsuspecting Ben Affleck, but it’s become the running joke here at Theater Hopper and I’m only too happy to keep running with it. I hope you enjoy today’s comic as much as I do. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. The last few weren’t up to snuff in my opinion.
Of course, today being Jersey Girl Day, I can’t wait to throw off the shackles of another work week and dive head first into my multiplex. I’ve been looking forward to this picture since they announced filming almost this time last year.
Of course, the movie has been cast in the unfortunate position of dodging post-“Bennifer”/Gigli fallout. But I sincerely believe that once people sit down and watch the film, none of that will matter. It’s regrettable that Kevin Smith and Miramax found themselves trying to reposition the film in the wake of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s breakup. But just imagine if the wedding had gone through as planned! We wouldn’t hear the end of it!
I know Jersey Girl isn’t “official” Askewniverse cannon, but I’m not particularly bothered by it. I appreciate that Kevin Smith set out to make a more “adult” film. As long as the true-to-how-people-talk brand dialogue is still in place, I’ll always buy a ticket to see what Smith has concocted next.
Since the action happens off-screen, there’s no telling if Jared actually succeeded in taking Ben Affleck’s head as a trophy. But in the alternate universe that ∗is∗ the buzzComix incentive sketch, we can peer through a mystical portal and view what could be… Click here uncover hidden mystery!
Incidentally, Jared’s been taking pot shots at Ben Affleck for years. I don’t think he would really try to take his head as a trophy. It’s more of a catch and release thing. The thrill of the hunt.
For those of you who are concerned you may have gone cross-eyed reading today’s strip, a sequel to Clerks is 100% true. Director Kevin Smith announced to the Associated Press last week.
Apparently, while working on the 10th anniversary edition DVD, Kevin got to thinking about the characters that unlocked Hollywood’s secret society to him and decided to revisit them 10 years after the events of the original movie.
According to Smith, “It’s about what happens when that lazy, 20-something malaise lasts into your 30s. Those dudes are kind of still mired, not in that same exact situation, but in a place where it’s time to actually grow up and do something more than just sit around and dissect pop culture and talk about sex.”
According the fan boy guru, Jay and Silent Bob will also be making an appearance. Which is slightly disheartening when Smith promised he’d hang the characters up for good after the all-out cameo laden road comedy Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. Apparently after the failure of the more “grown up” offering of Jersey Girl, Smith realized where his bread and butter really resided.
The film will be titled The Passion of the Clerks and principal photography will begin in January of 2005.
Personally, I don’t know how smart is it to return to the “Askewniverse”. Clearly there is a large fan base out there ready to lap this up. But to me it indicates a kind of creative bankruptcy to revisit the same characters 10 years down the road. Besides, didn’t Richard Linklater experiment with this very concept when he released Before Sunset earlier this year – the movie that revisits Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s characters 10 years after the events of Before Sunrise?
Although I don’t know how much griping I’m entitled to here. That aforementioned fan base? Well, I’m part of it. More than likely I’ll see The Passion of the Clerks when it opens in theaters. It’ll just be interesting to see if Kevin Smith can keep his integrity after the fact.
Something that I always thought about was how Jared was able to get away with beating up Ben Affleck without really ever having to answer for it. Today’s strip kind of plays with the idea that the characters aren’t living in a vacuum. The buzzComix incentive sketch takes it a step further, suggesting institutionalization when Jared has one of his Affleck freak-outs.
Sometimes people in the THorum ask me where Jared is off to when he hasn’t been in the strip for a while. Now you know. He’s off taking his meds in a nut house! Ever notice that he kind of disappears after one of his episodes? Now it all comes together, doesn’t it?
I realize that there was a pretty serious shift in tone with today’s comic and it’s a little out of character for Jared to threaten – well, anybody but Affleck! But I figured if I was able to translate despair in last Wednesday’s comic and have it be well-received, I thought I would try my hand at menace THIS week!
I know I like to remind you all that this is a story arc, so I’m going to do so again this week. If you want to know how Jimmy got in the mess that he’s in, just click here to read the story from the beginning.
Keeping in mind that this is all part of a larger story, I’m also aware that today’s comic isn’t fall-down funny or really even that strong on its own. Referencing previous strips probably isn’t helping anyone that’s coming to the comic fresh. But hopefully you’ll thumb through the archives to get a sense of things. Jared’s threatening behavior felt like the right choice at the time. He just loves hanging out at Tom’s SO much!
I suppose to keep things grounded in the world of movies I should make some kind of comment about the Star Wars Trilogy being released on DVD. What can I say? Films that were once loved universally now finds its fan base split down the middle between purists and enthusiasts. George Lucas has instituted ANOTHER round of changes to his movies and continues to bilk money out of his fans. So what side of the fence do I stand on?
It’s difficult to say because I can see both sides of the argument. As a fan, I wish he would stop mucking with the movies that brought so many people of my generation happiness. Adding a Dewback here or there really does nothing to improve the film. It’s just selfish tinkering because he can. Where does it stop? At what point does inserting Hayden Christensen as the “force ghost” of Anakin Skywalker in Return of The Jedi become replacing Luke Skywalker with an adorable kitten?
But on the other hand, as an artist, I can appreciate the notion that a piece of art is never REALLY done. If you can go back and improve the work, why shouldn’t you?
Lucas is a total anomaly in movie making. He owns the rights to the Star Wars movies lock, stock and barrel. This isn’t about a studio making changes or PREVENTING changes because they’re afraid it will affect their bottom line. It’s about one man that wanted to tell a story the best way he could and has the means to do it. The technology wasn’t in place when he first shared his story with the world and now it is. So why not make things more fantastic? Frankly, considering the amount of money the Star Wars franchise rakes in, who BETTER to make these kinds of tweaks?
I guess I get a little turned off by the fans who say that Lucas can’t do this or can’t do that. It’s just a lot of needless bitching to me. Do you think he’ll answer your e-mails or look at your petitions? He has bigger fish to fry. If you want to get him where he lives, stop spending your money on his products. Believe me, it’ll get through.
Are you complaining that it’s the principle of the matter? That you’re hopelessly addicted to all things Star Wars? Give me a break. Remember New Coke? America rejected it whole-heartedly and raised their voice by closing their wallets. Coke had no choice but to bring the original flavor back. Same rules apply here.
I guess if you wanted my personal take, the litmus test is to decide if the visual changes lessen the movie experience. At the end of the day, they really don’t affect me one way or the other. So I guess I’ll end up buying the trilogy more out of curiosity than anything. And also so I can get these movies in the best audio and video presentation available. I’ve loved these films since childhood and I have no problem continuing to line Lucas’ pockets.
At least until some new technology comes around and Lucas finally replaces Luke with that kitten we were talking about…
Anyway, with that handled, on to some site news.
I’m working really hard on bringing some new merchandise to you and I think you’re going to be really pleased with what I have in development. In fact, if you’d like to see a mock up of what I’m working on, you can read this thread in the THorum! It’s a brand new t-shirt and MORE are in the works!
I’m also working on collecting this storyline into a book. I plan on adding a few extra strips in between what’s on the site to entice you into buying it. For example, why does Jimmy go to Tom and not to family or friends? Where did Jimmy get that yellow shirt from if he left the theater in his work uniform? Why did Jared suddenly turn so hostile? All those questions will be answered in this book.
There will also be extra content, including all of the incentive sketches from this period. If you missed some of them from a while ago, you’ll get them all in one dose. Remember, the incentive sketches don’t appear anywhere else but the Donator’s area of the THorum. So if you don’t have access there, you’re missing a little bit of history.
I’ll also include some commentary, possibly and introduction and some pin up art from other creative types. For example, Joerules from the excellent Digital Pimp Online sent me some wicked artwork that reimagined a scene from this comic. I’ll share it with you on the site before putting it into the book, but wouldn’t you like to have a copy of it in print? It’s really good. Trust me.
Pretty much all that’s left for me at this point is to redesign the store in CSS and get things rolling. I’ll be taking pre-orders on the t-shirts and the book before putting them into production. So you have a little time to start digging through the couch cushions for change and hassling your parents for bump in your allowance.
So much good has come out of this storyline, not just for the site but for my self-esteem as an artist. I get ALL of it from you guys. You’ve been exceptionally supportive and I can’t tell you how lucky it makes me feel. Every day I’m humbled.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. What more can I say?
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.
If you’d like to see Jared give Ben Affleck a post-beatdown lecture, be sure to vote for Theater Hopper at buzzComix for a glimpse of our latest incentive sketch. Professor Jared teaches Mr. Affleck about the differences between holidays!
I don’t really have much to say about Surviving Christmas that I didn’t already cover in Wednesday’s blog. But I knew I couldn’t let another Affleck movie slide without giving Jared a chance to take a swing at him. It’s all becoming part of the rich tapestry of Theater Hopper history.
Before I forget, everyone needs to stop and check out The Webcomic List. I recently wrote the site owner Ash about possibly moving Theater Hopper’s listing away from all the comics whose titles begin with the word “The”. I had received a couple of complaints from fans of the TH saying it was difficult to find our listing because of all the “The” comics they had to wade through.
Anyway, Ash was kind enough to honor my request, so I want to send a little traffic his way.
I really like The Webcomic List. It’s neat. It’s organized. It carries an air of non-partisanship and is alarmingly comprehensive. Everyone gets a fair shake there. If there is any web comic you can think of, it’s probably on that list.
Incidentally, if you want to check out Theater Hopper’s listing, you can view it here. Maybe you want to sneak a peek at our overall rank. Maybe you want to leave comments. That’s up to you. But now you have easy reference.
Anyway, that’s about it for me today. Cami and I are staying home this weekend, so I’m hoping to get some work done on the site. Maybe post that Truman shirt I promised you last week.
By the way, I’m still taking orders for the Spoiler shirt. That’s an on-going thing, so you don’t get confused. I just do pre-orders because I don’t have the capital to buy a bunch of shirts in advance. Never mind I don’t have the storage for them, either!
Anyway, next pre-order session ends on October 30, so get your order in today!
I’m not becoming a broken record with the Ben Affleck-bashing, am I? I mean, I know I just got finished taking pot shots at him only a week ago, but I have to admit this felt right. I can think of nothing scarier than a Gigli sequel.
In any case, be sure to check out the buzzComix incentive sketch by clicking here and voting for Theater Hopper. You’ll see that Tom has learned his lesson, albeit too late.
I really like doing Halloween strips, but feel bad because I don’t get into it like some people do. I wish I could have done a full week of strips, but this one sums things up nicely.
Tomorrow I’m going to stop taking pre-orders on the Spoiler shirt. Yeah, I know the advertisement next to the comic says October 15. Ignore that. It’s an oversight on my part. A pretty stupid one, actually. It probably kept people from placing orders. Well, I’m making up for it now. GET YOUR ORDERS IN TODAY!
After I get this batch sent into the printer I’ll probably stop taking pre-orders for a while. I want to wait until the preliminary orders come back from the printer and try to develop a system to mail them out to everyone smoothly. In other words, I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, so I’ll be suspending shirt orders for a while.
Don’t worry, though. Shirts will come back before the end of the year. Did I say “shirtS”… PLURAL? Yes, there will probably be more than one shirt in the store when it reopens.
In the meantime, I plan on finally hooking up the posters section of the store as well as creating a new area where you can request commissioned artwork. Everything from portraits, to Theater Hopper characters in funny situations, even banner advertisements for your site! I’ll do it all! Look for that in the future.
Cami and I are going to try and go to Ray tonight. Cami has heard some mixed reviews. Some people are saying that the movie isn’t as strong as Jamie Foxx’s performance. I’ve heard nothing but positives all around. We’ll have to check it out and see.