(11 votes, average: 7.36 out of 10)
I gotta say that must be one of the longer titles to one of my comics in recent memory.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Halloween. Hopefully none of you are in a recovery room somewhere after eating razor leaden candy apples. Or worse, suffering the indignity of getting a bag of pennies from the crazy Cat Lady from down the street.
My goodness. Can it be November already. Terrifying. Normally I begin to look forward to this time of year because my birthday is December 21 (jot that down). But anymore, I just look past my birthday and that holiday for the big J.C. and focus on the end of the year. New Year’s has become more important to me now. I guess I just like fresh starts.
As Jared mentioned Wednesday, he’s finished up the Theater Hopper documentary. I had a chance to look at it and it is very, very good. Jared did an excellent job of setting up the story, what Theater Hopper is about and where it’s going. He did all of this in a very tidy 6 minutes.
With that in mind, it may be time to note that we probably aren’t going to be selling VHS copies of Jared’s work as previously promoted in this space. Since the length is so short, we can’t justify the expense of producing these at any scale.
That’s not to say we’re not sitting on some quality stuff here. But why get in a tizzy over 6 minutes?
We’re exploring the option of putting Jared’s short film up on the site in installments. Of course, bandwidth consumption is still a concern. Maybe we’ll have one big blow out at the end of the month where we’ll put the film up in it’s entirety and we’ll take our chances getting cut off. If anyone wants a permanent copy, they can save it to their hard drive.
If anyone has ideas, suggestions or preferences, please e-mail them to me. We’d love to get some feedback on this. In what format would you like to see Jared’s good work?
I’d like to give a shout-out to a few new link-buddies. It would behoove you to check out The Aylumantics, The Magic Armadillo, and the good folks of Next Generation Comics. They are all worthy of your love.
Spread that love like a fine cheese…
In case you didn’t know, all this week we’re celebrating Theater Hopper crossing the milestone of 50 strips!
And to help with the celebration, I’ve recruited the ever-awesome Carrington Vanston from Movie Punks to do a crossover this week.
Fans of Movie Punks will recognize the scenario from when he hooked up with Shivian from Oh My Gods! We each take turns doing a strip, and to see the next stage of the plot, you have to visit the corresponding artist’s web site. Really simple!
I’m kicking things off today, and tomorrow, you can see Carrington’s take over at Movie Punks. This is going to be a lot of fun, so be sure to follow along!
You can find part one of our crossover located on the Bonus Materials page. Expect to find subsequent installments there as well. I’ll be sure to keep everyone informed when new strips appear on the page.
The reason we’re doing a crossover is to thank you, the reader for your support and enthusiasm. I’ve received several nice letters from fans and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. But we’re not doing this for just those who send letters. This crossover is also for the casual reader. Because without the steady stream of hits you add to our totals, I would consider myself a failure and quite outright. You encourage us, too – if somewhat silently.
Of course, this crossover wouldn’t be “special” if I weren’t working extra hard to bring you a week of regular strips. So that means you’ll be getting 6 strips from me instead of the standard three. That’s right. I’m working DOUBLE hard just for you. No, not you. You owe me money. The guy to your right. Him. Oh, and everyone else.
I did today’s crossover at an 8 panel job. The file is really big, so for those of you with slower connections, you might consider going to the bathroom or making a sandwich while waiting for it to download. However, I must recommend you don’t do both at the same time, because that is very gross. Regardless, it’s out there in all its enormity, waiting for you.
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to follow up with another 8 panel strip on Wednesday because it basically devoured my entire weekend. So what I’m saying is don’t get used to it. Of course, it all depends on what Carrington fires back with tomorrow. We’ll see then if I need to one-up him.
I will say there was a bit of serendipitous timing with this crossover. Since this week is Thanksgiving, I’ve got a few days off from work. It’s giving me extra time to work on the strip and goof off. Meanwhile, my wife will be slaving over a hot stove.
God, I’m a bad husband.
Not really. In truth, I’m just a really bad cook. Cami wouldn’t let me near a stove if her life depended on it. I’m sure I’ll be made useful by making several trips to the grocery store for her. Picking things off a shelf – that’s about all I’m good for. That, and drawing silly pictures. Enjoy!
So the holidays are upon us. Geeze, it seems like the season comes faster every year.
Today’s strip is based pretty close to reality. I really do have a Amazon wish-list about that thick. It’s something like 10 pages. A lot of my friends and family were asking me what I wanted for Christmas and my birthday. So instead of trying to keep track of what items I asked for from which people, I just directed them to my wish list.
You wouldn’t believe a lot of the crap I got for having such a lengthy list. But let me tell you, a list like that just doesn’t crop up overnight. It takes several years of careful selection and pruning. I still have some items on there from 2000. Everyone carefully chose to overlook that when ribbing me.
Since this time of year is regularly reserved for family gatherings, I’m predicting a large drop off in traffic. And that’s cool. I mean, for the love of Pete, get offline join the living for a little while. Have some eggnog.
As is such, there will be no strip on Wednesday as I will be away visiting family of my own and have no way to access the site. I looked into an automatic timer to post a strip for Wednesday, but it just wasnt feasible for the moment.
Part of me is kind of bummed that I’m missing a production day. I pride myself on never having missed one since starting back in August. But obviously there are some things that are a little more important and my family would be hella-pissed if I locked myself away in a room for three hours working on “funny pictures”.
To help soften the blow, I’ve added some new interactive features to the site.
You’ve probably noticed the poll near the top of the blog. I know now probably isn’t the best time to introduce this, but it’s been something I’ve wanted to incorporate for a while an figured what the heck. There is background information that explains the question and to help you make a more informed vote. If you could lend me your feedback, it will help me greatly to plot the course of the site.
And, since ’tis always better to give than to receive, we here at Theater Hopper are proud to bring you TWO NEW GAMES playable on the site! You can find them right now on the Bonus Materials page.
Now in addition to wasting your time at work reading the strip, you can hang around and play a game of Memory or Solitaire! We do it because we love you.
Many heartfelt thanks to Jared Brinkmeyer for bringing me these applications for the site. He really went out of the way to contribute something wonderful and exceeded expectations on all points. What made it really special was I never asked him to do this work for me. He did it for the site – and that tells you exactly how awesome he is. Thank you, Jared!
And with that, I say Happy Holidays and I’ll see everyone here on Friday!
This is the first of a three-part story arc celebrating The Return of The King and the gluteal fortitude it will require to sit through it.
I’m really looking forward to the film, but Cami is dragging her heels. I can’t understand why. She said she didn’t like The Fellowship of The Ring (understandable considering its lengthy exposition), but she admitted to actually enjoying The Two Towers. This is like The Matrix Revolutions all over again. Well, I hope not literally…
I think Cami doesn’t have a problem with the movies, per se. But has an aversion to the extreme displays of nerdery on the opening nights of these kinds of fan boy movies. I swear we saw a guy who looked exactly like Gandalf when we went to see The Two Towers last year.
I’ll probably end up playing The Guilt Card. Cami made me go see Something’s Gotta Give on Sunday night. Fair is fair.
Truth be told, the movie wasn’t that bad. It was very sharply written and well directed. Although I take issue with the kind of environments writer/director Nancy Meyers tends to place her characters in.
All of the people in her films are very rich and have impeccable taste. Their houses are spotless and look like they’ve sprung to life from the pages of an interior decorating magazine. If you peek into the kitchen of any one of these individuals, you’ll often find copper pots hanging from some kind of rack over an island. I like to call her work “The Copper Kettle Comedies”. Just turn to The Father of the Bride 1 and 2, the 1998 Parent Trap remake and What Women Want for the proof.
As far as Something’s Gotta Give is concerned, I liked the performances. As always, Jack Nicholson is the reason to go. It’s fun to watch him playing off his aging Lothario role. He shows a great deal of vulnerability in his performance. You can tell his characters thoughts on growing older are issues Jack has dealt with in his own experience.
One thing I can’t get over is how many older couples there were in the audience. This film is definitely skewing older. You could smell the Brill cream and rose perfume in the air. I think we were the youngest couple in the place.
During the scenes where Jack and Diane Keaton were kissing, cavorting or being intimate, I was immediately taken out of the picture. My attention kept turning to all of the older people in the crowd and wondering what they thought. Every time the two actors kissed, it was almost if I could hear them thinking “Oh, how nice to see people *our age* getting it on in the movies!” or something to that effect. I surmise this must have been what it felt like to sit in on a screening of Cocoon when it first came out. I know seeing Diane West naked is an image that’s going to stick with me for a long while – and not in a good way. What is up with Jack pairing up with older actresses who are stripping down to their birthday suits? He did it to us last year with Kathy Bates in About Schmidt, and now this?
I’m being more harsh on the movie than I should be. There really isn’t a lot to be critical over. If you can’t get into Return of the King on Wednesday, go see Something’s Gotta Give. It’s a very smart, mature picture that you’ll feel good about seeing afterward. Honest.
I know, I know! I promised there would be a new strip ready on Friday and I didn’t deliver. I feel terrible about it! But you know how it goes. Friends and family are all around you during the holidays and you need to make room in your life for them. I had good friends in town from Minneapolis on Friday afternoon, so I made my choice. Can you forgive me?
I wish I had more to talk about at the moment, but my schedule has been seriously thrown for a loop. I keep thinking it’s Sunday. In fact, I’ve been under the impression it’s been Sunday since… well, since Wednesday.
Despite what the comic depicts, I haven’t holed up in the basement watching movies all week. I actually let Cami tag along! Seriously, though. I think we’ve plowed through about half a dozen movies in the last couple of days. We’re really making record time.
Sorry again for the late strip. But here’s hoping the wait was worth it! Take it easy!
Monday’s comic generated some interesting feedback. Most notably, this message which I received from J.B. Lee. I thought I would share it with you all.
Great strip, and I’m glad to hear there’ll be a little more follow-up. But to those who say to you “GET IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT,CURMUDGEON” remind them that It’s A Wonderful Life ISN’T A CHRISTMAS MOVIE save only peripherally. It’s a “What If” Fantasy that CONCLUDES at Christmas.
It doesn’t fit the rules of Christmas Movies, i.e. some Christmas-related miracle (Ghosts of Christmas, Polar Expresses, Santa, Elf, Reindeer, Magic Whatzits) falls into the midst of hard-hearted cynics and wins them over with its innocence and charm.
Clarence the Angel isn’t Christmas-related, nor is the disaster that befalls George Bailey, nor the alternate time line that Clarence reveals to him. The conclusion is not an illustration of Christmas Spirit, but of the strong friendships Bailey has made over the years among the people of Bedford Falls,and it should be clear that it would have ended that way had the villainous Potter done his villainy in July.
J.B. goes on to express his admiration and love for It’s A Wonderful Life saying “it may be my favorite flick ever.” When I asked if I could use his letter in the blog, he cheerfully replied “neither I nor anyone in my family are in the least bashful with our BELLIGERENT, OBNOXIOUS OPINIONS!” I got a real kick out of J.B.’s letter and it got me thinking about It’s A Wonderful Life in a whole new way.
I actually did a little bit of research about the movie on the Internet Movie Database and turned up this interesting nugget of information. Did you know we’ve essentially come to associate the movie with Christmas due to a clerical error that allowed networks to rebroadcast the movie repeatedly without any royalties going to the Frank Capra estate. It’s unfortunate because the film was originally a flop in it’s 1946 release.
Oh, and for those of you that are curious, I had a couple people get back to me on that $8,000 inflation question.
Patrick Jennings used this site to report that $8,000 in today’s money would be $75,488. Bryan Covington used this site to calculate the amount to be $78,191.03 – a difference of a little more than $2,700. In either case, it doesn’t seem like a large enough sum of money to hurl yourself from a bridge over. Didn’t George have, like… six kids? Selfish jerk…
Expect more It’s A Wonderful Life parody tomorrow!
So the holiday season is upon us? Anyone about to go off the deep end with all the crowds, craziness and crass consumerism?
Yeah, that’s a jolly holiday greeting.
This is something totally unrelated to the comic, but I was watching A Charlie Brown Christmas last week and it didn’t occur to me until just this year that the center of the piece ALSO has to do with the commercialization of Christmas. Everyone else wants the glitter and the tinsel and ol’ Chuck Brown is still trying to find the true meaning of the season.
I don’t know why it struck me so profound – especially since I’ve seen this cartoon a million times. I guess the fact that people have been dealing with this issue since 1965 was both a relief and concern. A relief to realize it wasn’t a modern affliction. Concern for wondering when it will plateau.
The further I go in life, the more I realize that Peanuts creator Charles Schultz wasn’t just a drippy sentimentalist, but actually quite the subversive little raconteur.
I realize this has nothing to do with today’s comic, but I just had to speak my mind for a minute.
Regarding the comic, it wouldn’t be totally out of bounds for real life Tom to fill in the blanks of the holiday season with scenes from a Chevy Chase movie. That’s not to say my holidays are boring or unmemorable. It’s just that my extended family is pretty small, so we usually avoid the petty conflicts, drunken debauchery and shoddy re-gifting that seems to plague other families this time of year. Friends with larger broods tell me to count my blessings, but I have a distinct feeling I’m missing out on some pretty ripe comedy in those situations.
I predict this week’s blogs will be similarly off-center as we come closer to the big weekend celebration. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to get Wednesday’s strip up on time.
You see, Tuesday is my birthday and we’re going out with the family to celebrate. Since I work on Wednesday’s strip Tuesday night and I haven’t worked ahead, Wednesday’s strip will probably be a little late. I’m just warning you now in case you’re stuck at work on Wednesday, desperate for entertainment, banging your head against the keyboard when you should be (in fact) filling out those T.P.S. reports. Just a head’s up.
Luckily, unlike my fellow cubicle-jockeys, I’ve taken Wednesday off to recover from Tuesday’s festivity. Once up to speed, I should have the time to work at home and make sure Wednesday’s comic appears at… some point on Wednesday.
:: VIOLENTLY CHANGING GEARS ::
Hey! New sponsors! Everyone be sure to check out Still Untitled. They’ve recently updated their look and have a new web site. I met the crew behind SU when I went to the Minneapolis FallCon comic book convention in October of ’03. They’re good guys and need your support.
Just one last note, I’ve received a few panicked e-mails from people asking where are the t-shirts the ordered for the pre-order period that ended December 10th. I want to let all of you know that they are on their way, but that I cannot deliver them in time for the holidays. I made this known back on November 24th when I put the shirts back up for sale.
Please understand that I do not have the up front capitol to buy a bunch of shirts in advance. Nor do I have a place to store them. I am also not in a position to sit on any merchandise that I can’t move. So basically it’s one-in, one-out and that’s why I take pre-orders. You tell me what shirt you want, I tell the printer, he ships them to me and I ship them to you. I wish I had a better system in place, but that’s how things are for the time being.
Those of you expecting shirts will hopefully see them in your mailbox before the end of the year. I sent the artwork to the printer on the 10th. He told me he would probably print them up the following week and send them this week. My turnaround should hopefully get them out the door next week. If anything changes, I will be sure to update you on the situation in this space.
Regardless, I want to thank all of you who have ordered shirts from me in the last two months. Your support of the comic both financially and as FANS who are proud to wear a Theater Hopper design impresses me to no end. Frankly, I’m amazed any of you are interested in what I’m doing. It’s a great validation and I appreciate it. Your patience, support and understanding mean everything to me.
Incidentally, the next pre-order period ends January 7th. It’s a little longer than previous pre-order periods, but I need a little breathing room to get around the holidays before sending another batch.
This blog got a little longer than I anticipated. So I think I’ll just end here.
Sorry for the delay in getting today’s strip posted on time. I have a good excuse! Honest!
I didn’t plan ahead!
That’s really about half of it, actually. I didn’t plan ahead and I celebrated my 27th birthday with my family last night. I didn’t get home until about 11:30. I stayed up until 1:00 am drawing and inking the comic before hitting the hay.
I woke up this morning and added a few more touches, but I actaully had to go out and brave the cold to complete some holiday-related errands I needed to run. I actually took a vacation day from work to accomplish this! I got back about mid-afternoon and posted the comic to the site.
Some of you might complain that today’s comic is not movie-related. Please note Exhibit A: Popcorn! You can’t have a movie without popcorn! And you can’t do anything popcorn-related without risking Tom ingesting all of it.
Meet the Fockers comes out today and everyone I know wants to see it. I don’t understand the appeal and I didn’t particularly care for the first one. The minute Ben Stiller flushed the toilet he wasn’t supposed to and the septic tank flooded the backyard with stinky-stink, I pretty much tuned out.
Still, any movie that can pull Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand together must have something going for it. Let’s hope the script lives up to the level of talent they’ve corralled.
The movie I’m really looking forward to this weekend is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Advance reviews accuse it of being too clever and too inside for it’s own good. They say writer/director Wes Anderson’s script sacrifices characterization for these cute, little set pieces. I say, “Who cares!” I love Wes’ vision. He’s one of my favorite modern directors. I think you either get his dry sense of humor or you don’t. It’s no coincidence he’s cast Bill Murrary in his last 3 movies. The man is a master of the deadpan delivery. I worship at his alter.
What about the rest of you? What are your holiday movie-going plans? Let us know in the THorum!
I’m not anticipating a lot of people coming to the site today, but if it turns out you sought reprieve from your cheek-pinching aunt, thanks for logging on and checking out the site.
I love this time of year because it seems like movies are on in the background all the time. Cami and I were preparing food to take over to our relatives houses today and tomorrow. We enjoyed a double-feature. Miracle on 34th Street (1994 Dylan McDermott remake, not the original) followed promptly by Steve Martin’s and Carl Reiner’s Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. I’ll give you two guesses who picked which movie.
Not much else to say except “Enjoy the Holiday!” I know I will. See you back here on Monday!
Introducing a monkey into the comic kind of feels like a lame way to up our cuteness factor similar to how Diff’rent Strokes brought in that little red-haired kid after Gary Coleman stopped being adorable. But, hey. You try saying "No" to that face.
I haven’t decided if Dewey is going to be a permanent addition or not. I suppose that depends on your reaction to him. For now, he’s serving as a means to an end so that I can talk about King Kong this week.
I’m really excited about Kong opening this Wednesday. Moreso than I’ve been about any other movie opening this season. I’ve been talking a lot about movies with friends recently. Going over the year that was. Most of us agree that 2005 was a pretty dismal year for film. Here’s hoping Kong can send it out on a high note. After all, just like in the movies, you can have two acts that are nothing but crap, but if you can really push it over the top with a great ending, that’s what audiences are gonna remember!
I’ll likely have more to say about Kong as the week – and this storyline – unfolds. So stay tuned for more on that front!
Real quick, something you might have noticed this morning is a change to the front page. I’m experimenting a little bit with my advertising options. Trying to find a way to integrate them more seemlessly into the site. I haven’t decided if I’ve accomplished that or not. That 728 x 90 banner ad above the comic and below the navigation is kind of distracting. But I like the 468 x 60 banner below the comic navigation and above the blog.
I’m trying to find a way to still offer cheap advertising for other web comics and interested parties. I was thinking about somekind of insert within the blog space, but I don’t know what I’ll do yet. We’ll see how the 728 x 90 banner ad at the bottom of the page performs. I might end up placing sponsorship links there.
Or perhaps I’ll place them to the right of the logo and push the navigation down a little bit? I’m really interested in hearing from any past advertisers on your preferences. I’m not married to these 728 x 90 banners. Nothing is set in stone. E-mail me if you have opinions.
Additionally, I’m polling the readership-at-large for advice on what to do with the navigation bar. Links inside colored boxes isn’t working and it doesn’t address the sub-navigation problems I’m sure to encounter on subsequent pages in the archvies. If you have any thoughts on how I could make that a stronger interface for you, please let me know.
I’m taking all kinds of feedback, so let me have it!
Talk to you all again soon!