The Sticky Notes of Self-Confidence

“Sticky Notes of Self-Confidence” sound like an item in an RPG about an office. Speaking of which, I have a half-written draft of a Hell, Inc. tabletop RPG. Is that something people would be interested in seeing? If that sounds like a thing you might want to play, let me know, and I’ll devote some effort into polishing that up into something more publishable.

Also, welcome new readers that I met at the Saskatoon Entertainment Expo, and also thanks to current readers who stopped by to say hi and pick up some of my other books. I’m writing this newspost on Thursday, so the con hasn’t happened yet. I’m just anticipating that at least one of those things will be accurate by the time it’s over and this post goes up.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Happy Harbor Comics! I did a signing there a few weeks ago, for my new graphic novel Redcoats-ish 2. It went quite well. Thanks to HH for having me, and for their ongoing support! If you’re in Edmonton, go check them out. If YOU want to be Employee of the Week and have me say nice things about you, donate at least $2 to the Hell, Inc. Patreon!

Next Week: Butt fire. Pull the Butt Fire Alarm early by supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon!

Reading Is Hard

Floating in an endless, super weird void is still probably better than most mid-tier corporate drudgery. I don’t have data to say that conclusively, but I have a strong suspicion. Panel 4’s composition was mostly an excuse to draw the sombrero cat again. It’s fun.

Breaking news: I’m going to be making a special appearance at the Saskatoon Entertainment Expo this weekend to launch Redcoats-ish 2! If you’re in Saskatoon, stop by the Renegade Arts Entertainment booth to likely listen in on me and Sharkasaurus creator Spencer Estabrooks try to figure out how to add Sharkasaurus to the War of 1812.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Brien Aronov is the Employee of the Week! He hasn’t given me anything to plug, so I will just thank him for his long-term patronage, which goes all the way back to HEAT. If you want to be thanked for your patronage, or plug something, support Hell, Inc. on Patreon. Gimme yer $2.

Next Week: Sticky notes take centre stage. Learn what that means early by supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon!

Why Do We Have This Place!?

The Break Room is a really weird concept from a Hell, Inc. short story that barely anybody read. Happy Harbor Comics (who you may have noticed in the Employee of the Week section of previous posts) used to host a 12 hour comic challenge, where you had to make a 12 page comic in 12 hours. I wanted to do a Hell, Inc. story, but also knew that I needed a way to cheat heavily so I didn’t have to draw all the perspective and setting stuff that takes a long time. I came up with the idea that the original break room was a break from reality, and sent people into a white void with stuff floating around in it. That story was teeeeeerrible, and far outclassed by my friend (and Ape Court collaborator) Dan’s story, which was the Mexican bootleg edition of my comic, but I liked the idea of the break room void. The cat wearing a sombrero is an homage to Dan’s bootleg, although I don’t think any cats appeared in that story.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Joe Amon is Employee of the Week! Perhaps I’ll run into him again at this year’s Edmonton Expo, where I will be one of the Creator Guests! If you want to be Employee of the Week, check out the Hell, Inc. Patreon, where you can also read each week’s strip several days early and even get some digital comics at a deep discount.

Next Week: The intern’s psyche is going to be mostly PTSD by the time Hell, Inc. is done with her. See how she reacts to the Break Room by supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon!

Nicknames

Steve is a lot of fun to write, because everything he says elicits groans from Doug. The initial idea for him was to be a more antagonistic rival figure, but the more I wrote his and Doug’s dialogue exchanges, the more I liked him as a benign character who just happened to irritate the living shit out of Doug. He’s substantially less important that way, and has drastically reduced screen time, but I think the interpersonal dynamic is more interesting.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Damion is Employee of the Week this week, and also emailed me this week, because the website for my old comic HEAT broke. I probably wouldn’t have noticed for months without someone telling me, so thanks, Damion! Also, shout out to Hell, Inc.’s IT guy, Greg, who is in charge of fixing that. If you want to be Employee of the Week, finance your corporate overlords’ lavish lifestyle (aka help pay my mortgage) by supporting Hell, Inc. on Patreon!

Next Week: Ever notice that there are two break rooms? Eagle-eyed readers will be rewarded. Check it out early on Patreon!

He Thinks He’s Funny

The greatest terror of all – the boss who thinks he’s funny. Steve Carrell became a zillionaire from that archetype. I’m almost certain that, were I to have employees, I would be the boss who thinks he’s funny. If it went anything like my time as a teacher, that would be the case. Turns out teenagers don’t think really dryly delivered Simpsons jokes are funny, because they’re wrong.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Cait of the North. She Twitters a lot, and also lives in the same house as me. You too can be employee of the week, by donating to Hell, Inc.’s Patreon, and continue to keep the lights on at our favourite corporate overlords’ office.

Next Week: Steve has some things to say, and Doug does not want to hear them. Find out what Steve says on Patreon.

Nobody Calls You

I use the second panel from this comic a lot in social media marketing posts. Also, those last four words feel kinda gross. Like the kind of thing a dude named Trip with an expensive suit and unearned self-confidence would say in a meeting to sound smart. “Social media” is a term that makes me cringe when I hear it said aloud. I don’t know what it is… maybe how artificial it sounds? I think my point is that I really like that second panel, and really hate that marketing is part of my job?

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Brien Aronov is the Employee of the Week! He doesn’t have a link to plug, but if you do, or just want to help support the corporate juggernaut that is Hell, Inc. (my corporate office is my living room, it’s very Fortune 500), you can donate to the Patreon at the $2 level or above. At the $5 level you can get digital copies of damn near my entire comics catalogue.

Next Week: Doug is not a great therapist. Find out why early by supporting Hell, Inc. (and also me) on Patreon.

Intern, Slave, Serf… Pick One

“Unpaid internship” is the most “HOW IS THAT ALLOWED!?” thing about capitalism to me. “Hey, we want you to work full-time hours, but we’re not going to pay you, you’ll just do it for experience. No, this totally isn’t just a way to trick people in to giving up all of the labour rights that we’re forced to pretend we’re okay with. THE CORPORATION IS YOUR FRIEND.” I mean, obviously it’s allowed because the people who run all those companies are the people with influence in the spheres of power that regulate them, but… argh, y’know? Argh.

I also didn’t anticipate I’d use these newsposts to critique capitalist bullshit as often as I have. Especially since I am a low-end bullshit capitalist. Although that’s mostly because, if I’m not, I will make no money in the arts and have to be a low-end bullshit capitalist benefiting someone else, I guess?

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Joe Amon is the Employee of the Week! I’ve met him at the Edmonton Expo a few times, and he’s a wonderful chap. I’m using British slang now, I guess? If you want to be Employee of the Week, donate $2 to the Hell, Inc. Patreon page, because drawing comics requires money. Got something to plug? Let me know, and I’ll link it in your Employee of the Week post!

Next Week: Nobody calls you. Give this low-end bullshit capitalist a few bucks if you like his internet comic, and you can read it early!

What The Here?

“What the here?” is the most Steve Carrell in “The Office” that Zebub gets in the entire comic, I think. I mean, I haven’t written the whole thing, or even most of it, but that seems like the kind of thing Michael Scott would try to make catch on in an episode in the first few seasons. Unrelated, balloons where the text breaks out (“Doooooug!” in panel 1) are a huge pain in the ass all of a sudden. I used to be able to do them on the first try, no problem. Now? I’m pretty sure that one took as long as the rest of the lettering on the page combined. What the here?

Employee of the Week:

Damion, a longtime supporter of my previous webcomic, HEAT: The Space Age of Pro Wrestling, has remained on board for the transition to the new hotness (because Hell, get it?). Thanks, Damion! Want to be Employee of the Week like Damion? Donate $2 or more to the Hell, Inc. Patreon, because you like the comic and because capitalism forces us to use money to validate our existence.

Next Week: We learn a bit more about the capitalist hellscape of Hell. Patreon. Read early. I’ve written so many of these prompts to action that my brain is melting down.

Toner Rejected

This is the outcome that my brain always convinces me is ABSOLUTELY going to happen whenever I have to do the mildest equipment maintenance. I was putting ink cartridges in a new printer earlier, and spent most of that process terrified that I was somehow going to break the cartridge and spill ink all over my carpet. It’s an ink cartridge, the dumbest person in your office can change an ink cartridge without destroying the flooring, but that’s my brain in action.

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Cait of the North! She definitely isn’t the employee of the week because we live in the same house. That’s crazy talk. You’re crazy. Follow her on Twitter. You too can become Employee of the Week by donating a few bucks to the Hell, Inc. Patreon page, which is how I make money on this thing, which is a requirement of our modern capitalist hellscape.

Next Week: What the here, Doug? What. The. Here. Read it early on Patreon!

“Busy”

I’m a few days into what will end up being about three months off (as far as travel and public appearances are concerned), and it’s glorious. Not having a looming spectre of “go to another town and hopefully sell a bunch of my books to the people there” is pretty refreshing, as I haven’t really had that since… Christmas?

EMPLOYEE OF THE WEEK:

Me. I did three comic conventions, two book fairs, a library conference, and moved in a five week span. If you ask me (and I just did, so there), I’m pretty much a hero. NAP TIME.

Next Week: An action sequence. In a comic about working in an office. Suck it, Dilbert. Make Dilbert suck it by reading next week’s strip early on Patreon!