In a world filled with webcomics still debating whether Han shot first, HijiNKS Ensue stands out as a unique, smart and uproarious comment on geek culture. Creator Joel Watson originally conceived of HijiNKS Ensue as the webcomic embodiment of his conversations with his sci-fi-loving friends. Since then, it has evolved into a go-to destination for funny thoughts on everything from the latest Syfy Original Movie to the new iPhone. It’s the comic that gave us the “Team Edward James Olmos” t-shirt and the comic answer to the Comic-Con counter protests.
While Watson can rant about the ending to Battlestar Galactica with the best of them, HijiNKS ENSUE is about finding the joy in geeky things as much as pointing out their foibles. For every comic mocking Transformers 2, there’s a strip extolling the remarkable weirdness of Fringe. We asked Watson about his approach to writing jokes and why mediocre TV shows make for better comics than terrible ones.
Why did you start working on HijiNKS ENSUE?
I was working in sales and marketing in a job that paid really well that I really didn’t enjoy. And I was good at it, but I just hated every moment of it. And the only reason I was doing it, the only reason I had to get up and go to work or do anything was just to try to make my paycheck bigger. It was a very hollow and very empty pursuit.
Then I had a kid, and almost immediately realized how embarrassed and ashamed I would be if she was old enough to ask me why I was gone for 10 hours a day. I felt like it wasn’t a good enough reason to say, “Oh, I’m chasing money, and I hate my job, and I can’t stand the people I work with and the thing I do doesn’t matter. It doesn’t help anybody, and it’s just complete BS.” And I felt like those were all terrible, terrible excuses for what I was wasting my very short amount of time with. I guess it’s that thing where you feel invincible until you have a kid, and then you have mortality staring you in the face. And I realized that I also wanted to set an example to her at the least—that you have a really, really small window of opportunity to do anything, and then it’s over. And that every single day that you’re unhappy is wasted.