I don’t think I’m saying anything shocking when I complain that Hollywood’s standard of beauty is warped beyond measure. Nevermind the damage it does to everyday people who try to follow the examples of their idols.
I find Renee Zellweger’s “daring transformation” particularly egregious. The woman is essentially being rewarded for being rail thin, then being heralded as brave by putting on pounds to portray a regular-sized woman in the Bridget Jones movies. This in face of the fact that Zellweger was actually paid A BONUS for each pound she put on to achieve the appropriate look in the Bridget Jones sequel.
Weight gain for the first movie probably wasn’t a big deal for the first Bridget Jones when she was languishing in movies like One True Thing and Me, Myself and Irene. But after Chicago and Cold Mountain and becoming a certifiable “A-lister” made packing on the pound a more risky proposition.
So, instead of approaching the issue from an artistic perspective – that the Bridget Jones character is, yes, a little overweight and it would seem odd to play the part as a skeletal figure (as she appeared at the ’03 Oscars) – she would let money grease the wheels. Bribe her in to looking normal.
Excuse me if I find the whole thing offensive.
You’ll have to excuse me for going light on the backgrounds of today’s comic, but I have a good reason. Cami and I spent most of the afternoon putting the Spoiler t-shirts into envelopes and preparing them to mail today. In fact, there were so many shirts, one could say it was a little overwhelming!
That’s not all of the packages, obviously. Just enough to give you the idea it was a lot. Here’s a picture of all the envelopes in a tidy box, ready to be taken to the fine folks at the Unites States Postal Service…
I’m really excited to get these shirts off to everyone who placed an order. Mostly because I know if you’re anything like me, you hate to wait! But rest assured that they’re on their way to you now and I appreciate your support!
I know I said once I could get this first shipment sent out, I would open up the pre-order process again for anyone who didn’t get an opportunity to place an order. I still plan on doing that… just, not yet.
I want to set aside some time to go over the details of the first mailing and tighten up the process by which I receive orders first. Plus, I plan on unveiling a new t-shirt at the same time I offer pre-ordering for the Spoiler shirt. And it’ll happen this time! I swear!
In the meantime, I hope everyone is enjoying their Monday because I have nothing else to add!
So Cami and Charlie were once rivals in high school, eh? Now that Charlie has moved in across the street, will they rekindle their competition? What does Charlie think about this strange turn of events? Check back Friday to find out!
Before posting today’s comic, I showed Cami a rough draft. She was very concerned about being portrayed as “another jealous female”, so once again I need to make the distinction to the audience that the “REAL” Cami is nothing like what you see in the comic.
This little public relations campaign is a two-pronged assault. While on the one hand, I’m being asked by my wife to educate my audience about her true nature, I am also trying to convince my wife that this is non-fiction. An entertaining story that requires a set-up, conflict and resolution. All-in-all however, she’s being a very good sport as her character takes the Theater Hopper spotlight for the time being.
Feedback to Charlie’s introduction and the new direction in the writing has been kind of wait-and-see, but I think I’ll win over the doubters yet. If you liked some of the more emotional aspects of the story arc where Jimmy lost his job, then I have a couple of doozies on deck. We just need to get past this obligatory exposition first.
I want to point out a new advertiser – one that’s been with us for a while. O’Deer Comics. A very funny black and white comic about Santa’s reindeer and what they do when they’re not working. Seeing it’s the post-holiday season, it might be time to check up on them!
If you’re thinking about advertising with Theater Hopper, there are still spots available. Now would be a good time to do it. Since being linked from PvP earlier in the weeks, our traffic is seeing record highs. Check out the advertising page for all the information you’ll need, pricing, as well as an ad calendar that lets you know what spots are available and when.
I should probably mention that I plan on capitalizing on the recent PvP exposure and I will be extending pre-sales on all apparel past Friday, January 7 out another week to Friday, January 14.
I mention this partially for those who have already pre-ordered shirts. You will be getting an e-mail from me with details. But I mention it also because after the 14th, I plan to pull the shirts, baby-dolls and hoodies off the site for a while to give me some time to recoup. So this may be your last chance to get a Spoiler hoodie in the next few months. I’m also planning on offering some new merchandise soon and want to get that off the ground.
I recently purchased a 1″ button maker and will be producing buttons for the site. Basically, all the main characters will get a button treatment as well as some of the fan-favorite secondary characters as well. I anticipate adding new buttons all the time, so odds are your favorite Theater Hopper character, scenario or catchphrase will get the button treatment at some point.
I don’t know about you, but I really like 1″ buttons. They’re inexpensive to buy and they’re fun to collect. There’s no reason you couldn’t buy more than one and just switch them out from time to time. I actually plan on selling some of the buttons in sets of 5 at a reduced cost. Anyway, keep your eyes peeled for that!
That’s all for now. See you Friday!
Did Cami strike a nerve with Charlie or perhaps Charlie isn’t letting herself get too close to anyone to protect her secret? Maybe Cami should have given her more time to settle in. She did just move in, after all. Or maybe it’s a combination of any of these explanations.
In any case, Charlie wants Cami out of her life, as so plainly illustrated by today’s buzzComix incentive sketch.
I want to remind everyone that THIS FRIDAY is the last day that you can pre-order t-shirts, baby dolls and hoodies for quite a while. I probably won’t be offering these designs again until maybe March. I’m just spitballing here. I don’t really know. All I know is that I want to take some time off from selling clothing and concentrate on other things.
Like buttons for example! They’re up for sale and selling like the proverbial hotcakes!
I know there hasn’t been a lot of movie-talk around these parts since I introduced Charlie last week. But hopefully you’re enjoying the arc so far. I really haven’t received a lot of feedback on the character. A few stray theories here and there as to what her background is and what secret she’s hiding, but I’m not really getting a sense of if you guys like the direction things are going.
If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them.
I received some good news today. Something I wasn’t quite expecting. Sideways will be back in local theaters in the Des Moines area. We had it for a little while before the end of the year, and then it disappeared – strangely enough, just after it had received all those critics’ awards and my awareness of the film was cresting.
Well, now it’s back and I fully plan to take advantage of its return to my local art house. I feel like I’m sacrificing a lot of my movie street cred by admitting that I missed it the first time around, but I don’t care. I’m just so gosh darn happy!
That’s all for right now. Swing by the THorum if you’re able!
Happy Groundhog’s Day, everyone! “Don’t drive angry! DON’T drive angry!”
Why don’t we celebrate the special occasion by voting for Theater Hopper at buzzComix. The list reset on Tuesday and now with Order of the Stick out of the way, we can make a real push for the top spot. Wouldn’t that be a great way to celebrate 6 more weeks of winter?
Speaking of winter, is the chill surrounding Cami and Charlie’s relationship begining to thaw? (Ooo! Nice transition!) Charlie’s slowly letting Cami in on what happened to her in Tinsletown. The ultimate secret will shock you! Sure, moral erosion as a reason to move back home is as good as any you’ll hear, but what was the straw that broke the camel’s back? What caused Charlie to pack it in. What… or WHO was the cataylst for this life-change? You WILL find out on Friday! That’s a promise!
I know some of you are probably anxious to figure out who the winner is of the original artwork I used to create this awesome desktop wallpaper:
If you recalled, I recently announced that everyone who made a purchase from or a donation to the site in the month of January would have their name tossed into a hat for a chance to win the artwork in a raffle.
Well, I haven’t drawn a name yet. First I need to finish designing a few more buttons. Once those go up for sale, I need to draw Februrary’s raffle artwork, color it and place the new desktop wallpaper in the Walk of Fame for people to preview. Once that’s ready to go, I can do the January raffle and make the happy announcement here. So hold on to your hats, it’s coming.
Things have been so hectic at work lately that I’m parsing back my social schedule to give me time to recover. I’ve intentially left this Saturday free from errands or socail obligations. I should have some free time to get these things done then.
In the meantime, are you checking out Nothing Nice to Say since Mitch started it up again on Monday? And I hope you’re not neglecting Joe and Monkey since Zach took the reigns back from Mitch starting today!
I love promoting my partners in crime…
I guess it probably would have been a better idea to have written something about Charlie’s big secret on Friday when it was more at the front of my mind rather than waiting. Now it’s kind of slipped my mind what I wanted to say. Exposure to the reaction that could be found in the THorum probably didn’t help me to find a concise statement to make because now I feel like I’m being REactive rather than PROactive. But let’s see if I can squeeze one out anyway.
Pretty much everything about Charlie’s introduction has let up to this point. I knew from the beginning that she would have a shady past and that she was returning to Iowa to escape it.
In the original drafts, Charlie was coming back from Hollywood divorced from a man she met while she was there. It would become her intention to keep it a secret from Cami and wall herself off from her out of shame that she could not be successful in an area that Cami had succeeded. Namely – a happy marriage.
Thank goodness for “real-life” Cami who suggested that her lost love become Theater Hopper antagonist extraordinaire Ben Affleck.
I felt the original idea was good. A bit melodramatic, perhaps a little uninspired, but serviceable. Cami came along and knocked it out of the park by suggesting Affleck be Charlie’s foil. So many brilliant story concepts sprang from that simple suggestion. I imagine the rest of you can envision what Jared might do with that information once he got a hold of it.
I don’t want to tip too much of my hand, but I’ll share that we’re nearing the end stretch of the arc. The immediate future calls for the retelling of Charlie’s relationship with Affleck and the eventual escape of Charlie and Cami from the women’s restroom. After that, I’ll probably begin to steer the comic back into more topical and timely humor centered on current releases and entertainment news. Subsequent storylines have been born from this experiment, but I can wait to tell them.
At any rate, for those of you who were having a hard time adapting to the new format or those of you who were getting annoyed with how long it was taking me to tell Charlie’s secret are satisfied with the payoff.
I think I’ve learned a lesson in economical storytelling, but I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made up until this point. Good, bad or ugly – the feedback I’m getting shows a genuine investment in Charlie as a character and ultimately, that was my goal. To introduce a new voice to the comic and to have you guys adopt her and believe in her as readily as you do Tom, Cami, Jared or Jimmy. So far, so good.
Hmm. Looks like I found what I was going to say after all!
With that out of the way, I think everyone needs to check out or new sponsor Nothing Nice to Say!
You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that Mitch Clem made one of the best comic strips around for a while and he had a good run. I don’t think I’ve met another creator whose fans have anticipated his return of for so long. People who were kind of aware that Mitch and I ran in the same circles quasi-professionally/quasi-socially would write me e-mails asking when he was bringing NN2S back. I would tell them I didn’t know, but I was in the same boat, just as anxious to see him put pen to paper again.
Some people are reacting to Mitch’s return with skepticism, which disappoints me. Personally, I know Mitch is going to knock it out of the park this time around. We’ve had conversations and his enthusiasm for this work is palpable. He’s ready to rock and he doesn’t need doubt bringing him down.
Three cheers for the return of Nothing Nice to Say! And, hell. Check out Mitch’s other comic, The Coffee Achievers, too – while you’re at it!
Although I worked on today’s comic in advance, I did not prepare a Monday morning blog. Currently, I am suffering the after-effects of a Super Bowl party and the over-consumption of too many libations, meat and cheese. As such, my comments will be brief.
But real quick: Was it just me, or were the advertisements during this year’s game some of the lamest you’ve ever seen? Not a lick of creativity between any of them.
That aside, anyone looking for commentary regarding the revelation of Charlie’s big secret last Friday need only click the “BACK” link located directly below the comic. I added some words of not-so-much wisdom over the weekend.
Today’s buzzComix incentive sketch has nothing to do with today’s comic (as is typically the tradition). But instead the rough pencils for February’s raffle artwork. It’s a scene from the upcoming Keanu Reeves’ Constantine. Don’t ask me what it is with all the comic book inspired drawings (last month was Elektra). I guess it must be the season for obscure sequential art caricatures.
At any rate, I provided a scene still from the movie that I’m using as my frame of reference. It’s been showing up in all the television advertisements and the trailer, so I gather it must be a “signature scene”. I think the artwork is coming along very nicely. I was excited about it and wanted to share it. Vote for Theater Hopper if you want to see it.
I had some thoughts about Constantine the movie – mostly relating to how fans of the original Vertigo comic book are upset that the character has been taken out of his London setting and his trademark blonde hair replaced by Reeves’ jet black dye job. But ultimately I conceded to the fact that once Reeves’ was cast, so was a limited range for the adaptation.
Will the movie be any good? Hard to tell. It clearly won’t be as good as the comic books. But maybe they’ll take things in a direction we don’t expect.
Something else unexpected… Cami said she was interested in seeing the movie. The ads led her to believe it’s about talking to the dead – a subject that fascinates her. Not entirely correct, but not entirely incorrect. Maybe it’ll be something to see. Goodness knows there hasn’t been much else worth watching these last few months…
I couldn’t really think up an appropriate incentive sketch that fit the them of today’s comic. So instead, I just did a few quick facial studies. Click here to vote and view them. You might get a kick out of it.
Quick note on the voting – you guys are a dynamo! Yesterday we were at number 8. I placed the call and you guys answered! Now we’re number 2. That’s amazing! Keep up the great work!
Having recently celebrated Labor Day and the “official/unofficial” conclusion of summer, industry big wigs are left to pour under the numbers and try to come up with the reason that this year’s crop of so-called blockbusters returned some of the lowest attendance figures in nearly 10 years.
Several among them will try to pin the blame on a diversified market where video games and satellite television are stiff competition for the Hollywood dream factory. But I don’t buy that jive.
A cynic like myself might be quick to point out the increasingly difficult conditions audiences must endure in order to even enjoy a movie these days. Trailers that give away the plots to movies, television commercials in front of the feature, rude people on cell phones, crying babies in rated “R” movies, exorbitant ticket and concession prices and over-all lousy service.
But the fact of the matter is, your average audience member will put up with quite a lot of the content is worth putting down the money and the time for.
Example: In the fall of 2003, when I was desperate to see Lost in Translation, the only theater showing it at the time was a small (yet ancient) art house called The Varsity just off campus from Drake University downtown. The conditions in this theater are deplorable. Some may argue that’s part of their charm. I argue these are people who don’t wear shoes in winter and consistently reek of patchouli.
But I digress. I sat on a busted seat with a spring up my ass while the image was out of frame for two hours. I complained, sure. But not nearly as loud as I would have if I were forced to sit in similar conditions and watch Nick Cannon in Underclassman.
My point? If the film is quality, the rest of those distractions don’t matter.
Here’s a question for you guys.
I’ve been doing this comic three years, right? Why in all that time has no one representing a movie studio or some kind of marketing group for film ever contacted me?
Look at these sites. See all those ads floating around? I’d be happy to run something like that on my site. Indie flick or big-budget blockbuster, I don’t care. It’s entirely relevant to what this audience is interested in and I think they would score some nice traffic from it. How do these other sites get the hook-up? Is it all in who you know? Do the studios approach them? Well, nuts to the waiting game, I’m bringing it straight to you.
I understand if you haven’t considered advertising with a web comic before. You stick to what you know. Advertise within your own industry. It’s smart. Hey, I totally understand. Most of us web comic guys only advertise with other web comics! But I’m telling you – if you want to diversify the audience that you reach, tap into the web comics genre. I know my audience. They are a motivated and dedicated bunch. If your movie looks good, they’re going to see it. Look at Penny Arcade or PvP. When was the last time you saw these guys advertising other web comics? They advertise for the gaming industry and things are coming up roses!
My prices can’t be beat, guys. These are the rates that I’ve been giving to everyone else. I’ll give the same deal to you.
If you represent a studio, some kind of movie-related web site or even just know a guy who knows a guy that can put me in touch with someone in movie-making circles – drop me a line so we can discuss some advertising possibilities. What I have going on to the right of the comic isn’t a permanent method of ad delivery. In other words, you don’t have to cram it into that tiny area. We could run an ad down the whole length of the comic. I can adjust things. You ad will stay above the fold and that space right next to the comic is prime real estate.
I don’t know if being so blunt with this request will actually yeild any results. But I figure after three years, it’s high-time I put the concept out into the universe. CONTACT ME!
That’s kind of a gross image to end the year with, isn’t it? Some old white guy wiping his ass with stationary? I thought I could do better than that, but really – I can’t.
At any rate, please enjoy this sketch for the new year.
For what it’s worth, this has been a terrible year for movies and I think most of you would agree. Even when I talk to my friends that aren’t hard-core into cinema like I am, I hear the same sentiment. "Man, there just hasn’t been any good movies this year, has there?" I die a little inside when I’m forced to confirm their suspicions.
I’m pretty sure there is some kind of statistic floating around out there that spells out just how awful this year has been. I think if you add up the number of crappy sequels, pointless remakes and movies made from lame televisions shows, it would have to be upwords of 80% of Hollywood’s total output this year.
You could accuse Hollywood of having run out of ideas. But fundimentally, we’ve been gathering around the proverbial campfire listening to the same stories of horror, drama, romance and comedy since mankind developed spoken language. In other words – Has everything else been done before? The answer is a resounding "YES." So what I’m saying is, don’t get mad because there’s been a lack of new ideas on screen.
What Hollywood has FAILED to do is find a way to say new things about old ideas. I can’t imagine anything more insulting to a thinking person’s sensibilities than to take a television show that aired 50 years ago like The Honeymooners, retool it with black actors, film it and dump it into theaters and claim that you’ve done something original. I choke at the thought that anyone felt strongly enough to make Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and then said, "We really don’t have a plot for this. Let’s just rip off that old John Candy movie The Great Outdoors. That’ll do."
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know and I hate to look at the glass as being half-empty. Will 2006 be a better year? I don’t know. But I guess the fun is trying to figure that out, isn’t it? After all, it’s why we keep going back. Or at least why I keep going back.
It’s funny. People (and by "people," I mean me) bitch and moan about the state of things, but yet keep filing back into the theaters. As angry as I get watching bad movies from time to time, I can’t imagine ever seeing something so awful that I would write off watching movies entirely. Because for every Herbie: Fully Loaded, there will be a Walk the Line. And as your tastes refine, the challenge becomes weaving your way through the traffic and finding that one piece of film that communicates with you directly and reflects something about yourself you never considered.
That’s what good art does. It helps you grow as a person. Who would turn their back on that?
I have some more thoughts regarding the end of the year, but I kind of like the tenor of this post, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll be back later in the day with more thoughts relating to 2005, Theater Hopper and our direction for 2006.
I love Pepsi. It’s so much better than Coke. You can take that to the bank. You know, it does SO much more than just soften your teeth.
I don’t have a lot of blog in me this morning. I stayed up late last night trying to get the spraying cola effect right. Ugh!
Honestly, it’s starting to wear on me a little bit – doing 5 days of strips. Things at my 9 to 5 have been hectic so coming home and night to do strips without a day off is starting to wear on me a little. But that’s probably not what you’re interested in reading about, are you? I’ll get through it! Just one more comic before the arc is concluded!
I’ll say this. It’s been a hoot drawing Oscar’s sword and tring to figure out how to draw him swinging it like Casey Jones at bat (look it up, junior).
I’ll probably be back later. I need to talk to you guys about a couple of our new sponosrs and I want to dole out praise when I’ve put on a fresh head.
Also, I want to talk about Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. This has been the first movie in several weeks that I’ve been very interested in seeing!