FMyLife Guest Comic

August 2, 2009 - Sunday

Before I tell you about today's news, if you didn't see it, I made a very important blog post yesterday, so check it out!

Today's announcement is that I have a guest comic at the website FMyLife. It features Harold, so it's basically like you guys are all getting an extra update this week! There's also a short biography about me that you may enjoy reading. If you're new to Calamities of Nature because you followed the link from FMyLife, thanks for visiting! Checking out the new reader page or the best of Calamities of Nature are great ways to get started.

Harold gets in some trouble because of he doesn't have a texting plan.


New Arrival

August 1, 2009 - Saturday

I'm proud and excited to announce that on Friday my son was born. Fortunately, there were no complications and he's perfectly healthy. Below you can see him with his happy big sister. To have a child is an amazing and emotional experience, but it was all the more moving to watch my daughter's awe and gentleness as she met her baby brother for the first time. I am truly a lucky guy to have such a wonderful family.

Big sister and little brother together.

With this new addition to the family, I'm going to have less time to work on Calamities. Babies change fast during these early months, and I don't want to regret missing any of it! So hopefully you won't mind if I sometimes miss updates. Depending on sleeping schedules, doctor appointments, or whatever else is going on, I probably won't be as clockwork with my updates as I usually have been in the past. So please be patient with me!


Mensa Austria Magazine

July 28, 2009 - Tuesday

When my first Mensa comic got front-paged on digg, I got a few offers from people that wanted to use it in Mensa newsletters. The publishers of "topIQ das MENSAzin," an Austrian Mensa magazine, were even nice enough to send me a complimentary copy so that I could see my comics in print. I just need to learn some German so that I can enjoy the rest of the magazine! I got my share of rude emails concerning my jokes about Mensa, but overall the feedback I got from Mensa members was overwhelmingly positive. It's nice to know that people can have a sense of humor about themselves after all!

Comic making fun of Mensa.

Another comic making fun of Mensa.


Top 10 Most Popular Comics, Part 2

July 23, 2009 - Thursday

Here's the second half of my look at the most popular Calamities of Nature comic strips. How does this top ten compares with your own personal favorites? Click on the pictures to see the full size comics.

5. Lil' Calamities and History: When I first came up with the idea for Lil' Calamities I was super excited because I knew it would open up a lot of new writing possibilities. This made the overwhelmingly positive feedback I got for these three strips all the more satisfying.

Aaron takes a test asking about Columbus and the domination of the western hemisphere by caucasions.

4. Subliminal Message: Wow, where did this one come from? Clearly this is a testament to the fact that many new readers like to go to the beginning of the archives when they start reading a new comic strip.

Alp presents his newest, spiffy invention, a subliminal message machine. Somehow this leads to Ferd in a ballet tutu.

3. Tough Pairings: Even though this is one of my most popular comic strips, and a gag I use a lot for advertising, I was hesitant about using it when I first wrote the gag. I wasn't sure if it was too edgy. In the end, I decided that the edginess was important for opening up writing space. My worries weren't completely without merit, as this funny moment from APE showed.

Catholics, gays, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Vampires all in one comic. What could be better?.

2. Branded: Many of you may not have read this strip before, since it requires some digging through the archives to find. But this comic actually resulted in my first big traffic spike. At a time when I had only been drawing for a few months, and was only getting 50 to 100 readers per day, this comic became popular on stumbleupon, garnering me tens of thousands of hits. It was a really exciting time for me, because it was the first instance where I realized I could use a webcomic to reach a much broader audience than I had ever imagined.

Ferdinand decides to wear a Gap shirt and Aaron gives him a bad time for being a walking billboard to a corporation with questionable business practices.

1. Mensa Shmensa: If you've been following this site over the last couple of months, you're probably not surprised to see this comic at number one. It was put on the front page of digg, getting about 100,000 hits in the space of a few hours and eventually shutting down my site for awhile. Unfortunately, I was out of town at the time, so I'm not sure how much traffic I missed. But this definitely opened up some great opportunities for me, including being published in some Mensa newsletters of all things.

The first in a series of comics about how Mensa is a bunch of blowhards. Has someone from Mensa ever done anything important?


Top 10 Most Popular Comics, Part 1

July 21, 2009 - Tueday

Since Calamities of Nature has now passed the two-year mark, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the top 10 most popular comics that have been posted on this site. These are the comics with the most number of page views, either because they have been shared through social networks (like stumbleupon, digg, or facebook), or people have posted them in forums or email. If you've recently started reading Calamities, this is a great way to get caught up on some of the readers' favorites. Today I'll count down from 10 to 6, and on Thursday I'll post numbers 5 to 1. Click on the pictures to see the full size comics.

10. Real Coca-Cola Classic: This comic was inspired by a sign I saw in front of Borders advertising that they were making coke from scratch like in the old days. It got me to thinking, what if they really were making coke the old-fashioned way?

Alp decides to make Coca-Cola like they did in the good ol' days--with cocaine!

9. What Did You Call Me?: This has always been a personal favorite of mine, although I felt bad that this comic was much larger than it needed to be for the gag. Because of this, it was one of the first comics that got me started thinking about changing to a newspaper strip format.

Ferd mixes up homophobe and homophone.

8. Airport Security: When I was leaving Costa Rica a few years back, there was a lady who got stopped when we were going through security. The security guard went through her bag and found a huge butcher knife. While everyone else looked worried about this turn of events, I thought to myself, "I could see Ferd doing that!"

A comic commenting on current security issues at airports, with a funny twist at the end (hint, machetes are always funny).

7. Breakups: I was proud of this comic because instead of just using one gag, this comic actually has a few of them. Back when I started writing, it was a lot of work for me to think of funny gags, so using up so many ideas on one comic was a brave thing for me to do.

Poor Harold's dating woes continue. The ultimate insult is when one date has a sex change operation.

6. Conflicting Principles: Comics about hot button topics typically get shared and linked more than straight gags (pun not intended). This comic about gay marriage has been one of my most controversial comics (at least in terms of email I get). This was before I added comments to my site, so one could only wonder what kind of debate would have occurred if comments were allowed for this strip.

Comic summarizing some of my feelings about Proposition 8, and gay marriage bans in general.


Original Art Has Found a Home

July 20, 2009 - Monday

Carl was nice enough to send me a picture of himself with the original Calamities of Nature art that he won in a recent auction. It's good to see that the artwork has found a good home. You can tell Carl is a man with great taste, there's also an original Sheldon on the wall behind him. Thanks for sharing the pic Carl!

Carl shows his original art. Also note the Sheldon Comic by Dave Kellett in the background.


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