“Less than Epic” is Absolutely Engrossing

I’ve been fishing around lately for new ways to get the word out about the Northwest Press books—Facebook ads, regular blogging, Google ads, stuff like that. The other day, I wracked my brain trying to remember the name of that advertising site that people use to swap ads on webcomics sites and blogs… “Wonderful… something?”

Project Wonderful is shaping up to be not only a great way to advertise the books, but also a great way to get exposed to some amazing talent.

One site that Project Wonderful brokers ad space for is a webcomic called The Less than Epic Adventures of T.J. and Amal, which caught my eye because of its terrific header illustration, a decent amount of regular visitors, and the fact that it was about gay dudes. I didn’t even look at any of the actual comics pages before deciding to purchase some ad space.

So when you do online ads, you have “impressions” (views) and “click-throughs” (clicks that take them to the website you’re advertising). Over the last two days, the visitors to “T.J. and Amal” have been clicking the heck out of the Northwest Press ads on the site; the ratio of clicks-to-impressions is by far the highest of any of the sites I’m advertising on. So I took a trip over to the site and poked around.

It’s now 2:18 in the morning and I’ve just finished reading all the pages on the site.

The Less than Epic Adventures of T.J. and Amal is one of those stories that starts gradually, and is told through subtle expressions, interactions and clues rather than captions and exposition. Before you know it, you’ve read two chapters and you’re thoroughly engrossed, and you just know you’re going to have to sit there until you’ve read all the pages. And then read the extras. And then read the blog entries. And then scour the page for more information about this incredibly talented “E.K. Weaver” and why she or he isn’t a freakin’ superstar, already, jeez!

The plot: Amal, who lives in the S.F. Bay area, breaks up with his fiancé and gets drunk at a gay bar. In the morning, he discovers a strange man in his kitchen who tells him they discussed going on a road trip to Providence, Rhode Island to see Amal’s sister graduate. The stranger, T.J., has promised to pay all expenses for the trip if Amal will drive the whole way.

And so they go on the trip. They talk to each other some. They sightsee some. They share awkward moments, tentative moments. Laugh-out-loud moments. They talk pop culture. They talk about losing their virginity. It all flows naturally: a bigger picture about all the things they’re not saying creeping in at the edges until, before you know it, the characters are fully formed and human, and completely relatable.

Unfortunately, the comic is on hiatus temporarily while the author recovers from knee surgery—(Get well soon!)—but there’s plenty of material there to ensure you’ll bookmark it for later.

Check out The Less than Epic Adventures of T.J. and Amal!

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