The Thirty Six

The Thirty Six
This is a quick drawing born from the following Facebook exchange between me and an old RCHS friend (who is only semi-identified here in order to afford him some deniability):

JAH: Giving the 36 one more chance not to fail me…
NCR: Is that a group of vengeful Ronin?
JAH: Not really. They’re more disappointed than vengeful. Which is why they sometimes fail me. I have no time for weeping willows. You gotta own your rage.

NCR’s comment made me laugh, and I had some time tonight to draw something easy, so here we are. Don’t bother counting, though. The other 26 are right behind you.

Of course, the 36 is really a bus line in SF… The one that goes through our neighborhood, in theory. It’s not very reliable, so usually I just take the 1-mile calf-busting hike downhill to Forest Hill station when I’m in the mood for public transit. But on this day, it showed up on time for the first day ever. Of course, the next day it skipped the route twice in a row. I think the Ronin would be more trustworthy.

Image of the Day: Club Golabutron


Hey Stop! Read the comic first! Then skip the rant below!

I must be the most naive dweeb in the world. I read in my KQED magazine a couple weeks ago that HMOs are actually trying to purchase Club Card data from Safeway and other stores… and I was almost surprised! I knew it was a possibility, but I always thought that it was too evil, even for an insurance company to try. And I should have known better, being the son of an insurance agent.

Insurance companies hate one thing above all else: people who will actually file a claim some day. Their perfect business model is to have a huge pool of customers paying premiums for insurance they’ll never need because they represent the peak of human perfection.

There is a solid argument that club card data can be correlated to health risk. It can hint at “high-risk” behaviors like heavy drinking, smoking, junk food binging, etc. Never mind all of the reasons why this data proves nothing… if there is a statistical correlation it will be used.

Club cards are scary all around, but usually not in ways that can affect your life as much as this HMO business. Usually it just means you get more junk mail, and eventually your shopping cart will bug you when it’s time to swap the sour milk at the back of the fridge for a fresh carton. I can live with all of that because it doesn’t cost me. It does bug me that before long, the only way anybody will be able to afford food is to sign up for one of these things. Luckily, good ol’ laissez faire will someday lead to the mind-boggling innovation of clubless grocery stores, where the prices are low for everybody who comes in and wants to spend money there. I can’t wait…

For now, of course, the only solution is to subvert the system as much as possible. Use fake names, or avoid using the cards for as long as that is an option. But I would argue against trading cards with a friend, lest you pay for their bad habits later on.

Anyway, rant terminated.

IMAGE OF THE DAY: Bastich VS. The Mess

This is the kind of thing that seems funny at 1am, but probably won’t seem funny after I’ve had some sleep. I spent the majority of this weekend trying to clean my room and reading James Kochalka comics. Plus a bunch of other stuff like meeting up with Kathleen to catch a Midnight Madness showing of Harold and Maude, watching the Critereon DVD of The Seven Samurai twice (the second time was for the awesome commentary), and picking up Capcom vs. SNK for the GameCube and getting beaten down by my roommate. The mess has been reduced, but it still looms. Overall, a good weekend.



This is the first of a series of Icon-Based “Lost Episodes”. Years ago, Pat and Bapper came up with a bunch of ideas for Icon-Based strips that, for whatever reason, I never bothered to draw. They even went as far as to fully script and lay out a few of their ideas, which I still have in my big ol’ Bastich art folder. Now that I’m drawing semi-regularly again, I’m going to blindly implement these old scripts without concern for whether they are dated, unfunny or otherwise detrimental to the health of our great society. You have been warned!

This first strip was actually laid out by me, but I’m pretty sure it came from a collectively drunken night at the Icon-Based HQ. There was a scribbled note in my handwriting next to the final panel saying to change the punchline to something that’s actually funny. Well, sorry buddy – you snooze you lose!



I worked on this comic last night, but I started too late in the evening to finish before exhaustion took its unforgiving toll, so here it is a day later than intended.

WARNING: This strip is not necessarily funny. It was based on a suggestion from Pat, but nothing here is to be considered his fault. The joke was perfectly served by Pat’s one-line IRC message to me, but it sounded like it would be fun to draw so I went for it. I didn’t put much effort into the dialog this time. My goal was to see if I could do a better job on the art than the last Icon-Based, and at least there I think I succeeded. The rule seems to be that Mtn. Dewd has to be shaking his fists in frustration by the 3rd or 4th panel. Hey, it’s a winning formula!

Icon-based newbies should read this old gem from four years ago for the first appearance of the BAP-O-MATIC. That one is a favorite of mine across the whole IB/Bastich canon.

This also marks the return of the bearded BAPPER! Yay! Just in time for the real Bapper to announce that he’s once again clean-shaven yuppie scum. Well, I give up, man! Bapper and Mtn. Dewd are staying AS IS from now on! Quit getting married and cutting your hair, ya freaks!

I have fond memories of the original Icon-Based days. I spent a great deal of my last semester at Chico State hanging out at the Pat-and-Bapper pad. I was kind of going through a “rough patch” at the time, so I really appreciate the friendship they offered, which helped keep me sane. They were also an excellent source of material. Most of the old “Icon-based” strips were group written or at least inspired by some conversation we had over too many beers. I have a folder full of unused ideas from those guys, most of it indecipherable after all these years. It was just a huge, fun time, that eventually had to end when we all packed up and headed off to start our “adult” lives…


PS: Sorry about the gnarly font. I built the whole thing out at 4x its published size, and Helvetica doesn’t look quite as good at 10pt as it did at 40. Oh well. Back to the hellspawn, Arial!



I was talking to Beej a few nights ago about the ActiveBuddy patent, and how incredibly lame it was. I decided to try and comment on it via a comic strip, and this is what I came up with. The art is incredibly rushed, but I think I made the point I was aiming for.

Normally, icon-based would include Bapper as well, but I only needed one character so poor Mtn. Dewd “won” out. He just seemed the natural character to use since he gets dicked around so much in real life. :)

BTW, this is the first online comic strip I have done since 1998, when the last icon-based came out. Woo-hoo!