September 20th, 2007


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Our smaller, darker hamster, Annie, is a spunky little thing. She's hyperactive, darts everywhere, and loves to dive from the highest point in the cage. Shoulda named her Robin.

Schlock Mercenary: The Tub of HappinessAt long last, the first five-hundred and seven days of Schlock Mercenary are coming to a dead-tree near you.

Pre-orders for Schlock Mercenary: The Tub of Happiness are now open. This 240-page volume features every strip and footnote from June 12th of 2000 through November 11th of 2001, and includes a never-before-published "prequel" bonus story covering Schlock's last twenty-four hours before enlisting with Tagon's Toughs.

These full-color pages also include over fifty pages' worth of concept sketches, marker art, new commentary, and excellent guest art from the likes of Cas Allen, Jeff Darlington, Brad Guigar, David Kellett, Alina Pete, Tiffany Ross, Krishna Sadasivam, Paul Taylor, Kevin Wasden, and Jim Zubkavich (and those are just the artists with URLs!) There are deck-plans for the Kitesfear in there, photos of a 40mm-scale Sergeant Schlock miniature, and some very special commentary from the Cartoonist's Wife.

For a limited time, you can order your Tub of Happiness as a Customer-Choice Numbered Sketch Edition. That's right, for just $10 more, your book is not just signed on the front, but drawn in, and you get to pick which character Howard draws.

All customers will recieve immediate access to a page full of desktop backgrounds based on the cover art, and all pre-orders are automatically discounted $5.00 off the cover-price of $25.00.

Layout and design for this beautiful volume is the work of Steve Troop. If you want to have a look inside, here is a 17-page screen-resolution PDF preview (6MB download), which includes the front and back covers, inside and out, the first page of the bonus, the end of the "Big Haunted Battleship" storyline, and an unsketched sketch page.

The book is currently in production overseas. We anticipate shipping all orders by the end of November.

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Shortpacked!: Looks like he'll have to get a new one.

In spite of my growing fear that my blog will turn into an online version of the neighborhood grandma showing everyone pictures of her extended family, here's another post about hamsters, via a reader email:

Hey Willis,

As one of your Israeli fans, I read J&W!, Shortpacked! and TNI(!) on an update-to-update basis, and have since shortly after IW! ended. I also read all of your newsposts. Which is why I was completely shocked when I saw you write "Today Maggie and I got our HAMMAS." You see, Hammas is an entity I would rather you and Maggie (and really, anybody) not get, being Israeli myself. Imagine my unending relief when I realized that I was simply not yet awake, and had misread the word "HAMHAMS."

So, Willis, thank you for not supporting a terrorist organization, and I apologize for the moment in which I thought you did. And please, don't ever, ever adopt a terrorist organization (unless Galasso is leading it).


Tuesday, I scooped up Superman:Doomsday, the animated adaptation of the extraordinarily goofy "Death of Superman" arc. (According to the back cover, it's the best-selling graphic novel of all time, which made me really sad.) Basically, I bought it solely on my faith in Bruce Timm and his cronies, assuming out-right that they'd salvage the thing.

I was right. Now, it's not the greatest superhero story ever told or anything, but it's a good yarn. It's a good yarn despite (or likely because of) its countless deviations from its source material. It hits many of the same beats, but I felt less stupid afterwards. The new designs and voices took a short while to get used to, but I'm glad they were different, to help cement the idea that this is not the standard Timm/Dini DCAU.

At the end of the day, though, I rank it behind the "Superman's dead" story from Justice League, "Hereafter," wherein after we spend the first half watching everyone mourning, the second half features Superman in the future driving a car, growing a beard, fighting wolves, and hanging out with Vandal Savage. That was crack-lightning in a bottle.

"You've got to keep busy, or you'll go mad!"