Suffer In Silence

This is the 65th Hell, Inc. strip, and it’s dropping on my mom’s 65th birthday! Happy Birthday, mom! She’s not reading this, but I’ll say it here anyway.

This is one of those cases where I designed a thing without thinking about the fact that I would have to draw it more than once. When I had the idea of the faces of damned souls swirling around in the elevator walls, I only had to draw the elevator in one panel. I, uh, should probably re-think having whole strips set in the elevator, because drawing those faces in the wall took foreeeeeever. This one features a few fun cameos – two of them should be easy to spot for the majority of you, while one is pretty specific to my friend group and one is a very bad drawing of one of my other friends.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Sylvia Douglas, who also makes a cameo as a damned soul in this week’s strip! That timing wasn’t on purpose, because I never know who the Employee of the Week is until sit down and look up the chart, but worked out quite nicely. Check out the Waffle Log Blog, because if you’re anything like me, you’re delighted that it exists. If you want me to be delighted that your blog or other project exists, support the Hell, Inc. Patreon, which is how we pay for this corporate juggernaut to continue… jugging? It’s also how we pay for better sales pitches than that.

Want to support the comic, but can’t afford the Patreon? Click the banner below to vote for Hell, Inc. on Top Webcomics – it’s a ranking site that drives a ton of traffic to the comic, and the higher the vote total ends up being, the more readers see the comic.

Next Week: What do interns eat? Let’s do some science and find out! Patrons can read it early!

The Chase

And now, this week’s REAL comic, after yesterday’s April Fools post. You can see the stylistic changes pretty clearly. Aside from the obvious addition of colour, the shapes are a lot more defined and polished.

I also had to be a lot more inventive with the panel layout, since the traditional nine panel grid doesn’t really translate to a strip. The nine panel grid is really ideal for this kind of moment, though, because it has such a strong feeling of moment-to-moment continuity. It’s like a film camera cutting from shot to shot rapidly.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:
Brien Aronov is Employee of the Week! Things over at the Hell, Inc. Patreon are getting a revamp over the next month or so, partly because I learned that post scheduling was an option. Check out the page to see the first Guintern Newsletter and learn about my office guinea pigs and their perspectives on the business of cartooning. Patreon helps me take less freelance work, which means more time spent focusing on the comics you’re already interested in – it’s pretty much a win-win situation. If everyone who read the comic yesterday threw in a buck, it would cover my mortgage payment. That’s how big of a difference it can make.

Want to help out, but can’t afford to contribute to the Patreon? I get it, late capitalism sucks. So here’s a new, FREE way to help boost Hell, Inc.’s readership and help it stay viable! Click on the banner below to vote for Hell, Inc. on the Top Webcomics list. The farther up the rankings Hell, Inc. gets, the more traffic gets driven to the comic. You can vote once per day, so check it out!

Next Week: We return to the normal Monday update, and Doug returns to the loving embrace of the Hellevator. Patrons can read it early!

Canadian Standoff

This strip turned out exactly how I imagined it when I was writing it. It was also WAY harder to draw than I thought it would be. I don’t know why, nothing about it was particularly difficult from a technical standpoint. Well, that’s not true – doing effects on the shot through the glass door in panel 2 was pretty labour-intensive.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Joe Amon is Employee of the Week! He gets the fancy parking space next to the door. There’s going to be a bit of a revamp coming to the Patreon, as I endeavour to provide more value and some neat interactivity. If you’ve ever wanted to be drawn into a comic, maybe keep an eye on that. More on that next month, when that stuff starts being rolled out. Or just sign up now and give a few bucks to a corporate overlord that will actually notice it!

Next Week: The best chase since Bullitt. See it early on Patreon.

Workin’ Hard or Hardly Workin’?

I think my favourite thing about Steve is that he gives me carte blanche to write dumb, hacky jokes and have them work within the context of the comic without seeming out of place.

Also, welcome to those of you who’ve checked out Hell, Inc. as a result of Emerald City Comic Con! I gave away a ton of bookmarks, and have seen the numbers spike pretty heavily over the course of the weekend.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Damion is Employee of the Week!  YOU could also be Employee of the Week, and if you’ve got something to plug, get your links shared with the webcomic-reading public for $2 over at the Hell, Inc. Patreon!

Next Week: Canadian standoff. Read it early on Patreon!

Fire Water

I really tried to push some colouring techniques that I don’t really use much – I tried some new brushes to make the colour transitions in Sara’s face less abrasive than my normal hard-edged Photoshop brush. I’ve pushed that further in a few new pieces that will be seeing the light of day soon. One already has! I drew the album cover for “Keyboard Warriors” by Narcotics Fueled Lesbian Orgy, which might be my favourite band name?

In other news, I’ll be at Emerald City Comic Con from March 14th-17th in Seattle, Washington. Advanced Death Saves will be out that weekend, so come grab a signed book. I’ll also be hanging out with some of the team members on the new GWAR: The Enormogantic Fail graphic novel, coming later this year.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Joey Gruszecki is the new Employee of the Week! He streams vidja games at TheVideoGames.ca. Welcome to the company, Joey. Do YOU want to join the company, and help support Hell, Inc. so I don’t have to stress out about navigating the labyrinthine publishing industry for money? Go to Patreon and toss a few bucks in the coffer – based on my stats program, if everyone who reads the comic chipped in a buck per strip, it would cover my mortgage payment every month.

Next Week: It turns out that no, humans cannot, in fact, drink boiling water. Who knew? Patreon patrons did.

Toast

The other day I was re-watching Invader Zim and saw Professor Membrane’s dramatic “I’m making… TOAST!” introduction, which posting this immediately reminded me of. Because all jokes about toast are connected in the Toast Continuum.

Also, this is several hours later than normal because apparently ECCC prep just means my brain is screaming with stress at all times and every thing I realize I have to do bumps out some other thing I need to do, because apparently running a business where I also make all the products is too much for my mind to handle. Oh, and I’ve spent a good six hours trying to fix Adobe Illustrator, which decided to not work anymore. Cool. Coolcoolcool.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

We’re back at the start of the rotation with Cait of the North. Follow her on Twitter, where she is better at promoting my comics than I am. What, putting the guy who just wants to stay at home and draw cartoon pictures all the time in charge of marketing is, perhaps, not a great business move? I don’t know what you’re talking about. You know what IS a great business move? Supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon. It keeps me, the dumbass artist, from having to do actual business shit all the time. Instead, I can make more comics to entertain you. So, Patreon. Go do it.

Intern Stuff

I don’t know why the most influential thing to me about Invader Zim was characters picking up smaller characters by the head like they’re inanimate objects, but it was. I guess anyone with any power being an idiot, as a theme, also bled into my own work.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Ben Hamlin, host of the pirate-themed Pathfinder podcast Cursed, is this week’s Employee of the Week! Listen, we all know you’re on that Critical Role tip – check out somebody who doesn’t already have zillions of listeners but does great stuff anyway. If you want to be Employee of the Week, hit up the Hell, Inc. patreon and receive a shoutout/denouncement of a more popular entity within your genre. That second thing is wholly dependent on my mood at the time of writing the Employee of the Week blurb.

Next Week: Doug’s toaster knowledge is on point. Find out why on Patreon.

Shredder Sans Mutagen

Looking through the uploaded files to attach the right one made me realize that I’ve got the next month’s worth of comics done already. I haven’t had a buffer that hefty in a few months, especially during the Hockeypocalypse Kickstarter. It’s nice.

This page got a re-write while I was doing the thumbnail, because I had written a placeholder joke into the last panel and then forgot to go back and write a better punchline. I hadn’t decided how Doug was going to imagine himself killing Steve, but once I decided on an oversized shredder it let me replace the placeholder punchline with something that actually made sense. The placeholder was pretty non-sequitur, which, while I often enjoy those kinds of jokes, I don’t think work particularly well in comics. Semi-relatedly, I just saw a film at a local horror convention (shoutout to Dead By Con) that really beat non-sequiturs to death as a way to skirt issues that came up during production, which has likely lowered my opinion of non-sequiturs for the moment.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Robbie Dorman is Employee of the Week! He’s the host of the Simpsons Show and Serial Fanatacist podcasts, which you should go listen to. Being deeply influenced by the Simpsons as well, I support his taste in podcast topics. He also has a Patreon, perhaps consider throwing him a few bucks as well, yes? CORPORATE SYNERGY. If you want to get in on the corporate synergy, support the Hell, Inc. Patreon so I can keep using the corporate gold card.

Next Week: A real meeting of the minds. Read it early by supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon!

Sleeve Time

This is a variation of a scene from the Hell, Inc. #2 print comic, except it looks good, because I am much better at drawing now than I was in 2010 or whenever that was. Doug and B.L. Zebub’s relationship is my favourite thing in the comic, because I love writing them together. Zebub being on weird, dumb power trips all the time and Doug just casually pointing out that they don’t make any sense is satisfying – it’s all the stuff you never actually say out loud to your dumb boss.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Sylvia Douglas is Employee of the Week, but she’d like you to employ her partner, Corinne Simpson, as your part-time virtual assistant! If  you want to get a shout-out, or just like Hell, Inc. and want it to stay financially viable, support the Hell, Inc. Patreon! Maybe I’ll be able to hire Corinne to do all of the day-to-day administrative junk that I hate!

Next Week: Fantasizing about murder. Read it early on Patreon!

Training Day

It’s like that Denzel Washington movie, but without all of the grit and intensity and commentary on society. Wait, no, it’s got that last thing. Not the first two, though. I also pushed my colouring in this strip, as I played around with some layering of colours in the last panel to try to match the image I was seeing in my head. I think that’s going to be an area I focus on for growth – I think there’s a lot more I can do with colouring if I can keep learning and experimenting.

Training the intern as a punishment comes directly from my time working at Blockbuster Video (remember those, kids?). My manager didn’t want to train somebody, so I had to do it, and it was awful. It wasn’t even supposed to be a punishment, I was just the only other person around at the time who wasn’t legally still a child. Even on a point-of-sale system that wouldn’t allow you to screw up, she FOUND WAYS. I eventually ended up writing the step-by-step instructions on a strip of receipt paper, taping them to her till, and refusing to answer questions if the answer was on that paper.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Happy Harbor Comics/Wonderland Games! There’s been a seismic shift in the Edmonton comics community since the last time HH was Employee of the Week, and soon I’ll be shouting out Wonderland Games, who have taken over. It’s been a whole thing. There was a farewelcome party there recently, with a lot of entertainment and a bassist who gave a speech that made a bunch of people cry. If you want to be Employee of the Week and have something plugged/a rambling anecdote told about you, support Hell, Inc. on Patreon. It’s better than funneling your entertainment dollar into the pockets of billionaires who won’t even notice. Rest assured, I will NOTICE THE FUCK OUT OF IT. And also spend it on things like “making more comics” and “remaining alive.”

Next Week: B.L. Zebub is the world’s fastest demon, maybe? Read it early by supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon.