The webcomics blog about webcomics

The Welcomest News

For once, a logistical screwup at work has resulted in me having more time to get something done, not less! Which is why on what should have been an uncreedable¹ day full of shenanigans, I actually have time to bang out a quick update instead of being without the luxury of time. And what an update, which I would have missed had I posted earlier!

Our long national nightmare is over. The Cartoon Art Museum will (soon) no longer be couch-surfing:

Opening to the public in the spring of 2017, with a breathtaking view of the San Francisco Bay, the Cartoon Art Museum’s new location at 781 Beach Street in San Francisco is just one block from Aquatic Park, the Maritime Museum, Ghirardelli Square, and the Hyde Street cable car turnaround. The new space allows the museum to design a perfect venue for viewing, discussing, creating, and interacting with all forms of cartoon art and connecting with the artists who make it.

The 1912 brick building features a beautiful historic façade, prominent street presence, convenient parking, and easy access to and from public transportation. It offers highly visible public access to the Museum’s nearly 8,000 square feet of spacious galleries with a screening area, classrooms, bookstore, library and collections facility. [emphasis original]

Having been to the previous location, that bit about parking is huge. In fact, the size is (if my memory serves me correctly) considerably more than the public space in the old location, as well. It’s been more than a year, and will be longer still until the new site is open to the public, but this is among the very best possible news one could expect.

Congratulations to curator Andrew Farago, CAM’s trustees and board, the members, the greater Bay Area cartoonist community, and all the ships at sea. And were I you, I’d start making plans to drop by as soon as the opening date is a bit firmed up. It’s going to be glorious.

Spam of the day:

IT Cosmetics — 2 free beauty gifts!

I’m not sure if that IT means it, as in “it stands in for a nonspecific item” or possibly “It Girl”, or it means IT as in “Information Technology”. If it’s the latter, they clearly are selling to the wrong crowd because I’ve worked in IT for decades and cosmetics ain’t exactly top of the priority list for anybody I’ve ever worked with.

¹ This time, I do get to drop a Zappa quote. Galoot Up-Date, y’all. Okay, it’s just one word, but it’s unmistakably Frank.

PNW All Over The Damn Place

I thought momentarily that I was possibly quoting some Zappa lyrics, but Wiki Jawaka says no; I think most likely I conflated multiple different lyrics (odds are, from Joe’s Garage or Thing-Fish) and with three links in close proximity, I should be tripping all kinds of SEO right about now. Let’s talk webcomics.

  • For those who’ll be in Portland next week and will be looking to either celebrate the salvation of our republic or alternately to grab one last bit of joy before the Apocalypse, Wednesday night should fit the bill nicely. The very sexy, very smart, very educational Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan will be hosting a launch party for the third volume of Oh Joy, Sex Toy, which will be the first place to get a copy if you weren’t part of the recent Kickstart.

    There will be raffle and door prizes of an appropriate nature, as well as the opportunity to rub elbows¹ with people that appreciate the fact that sex really resides a couple of centimeters behind your eyeballs and is best appreciated with plentiful use of that particular organ. Fun starts at 6:00pm, runs until 9:00pm², at Portland’s newest (pretty sure, but you never know in Stumptown) comics shop, ,Books With Pictures, 1100 SE Division Street. Tell Erika and Matt I said hi.

  • For those that believe that the launch party will be in celebration mode and not Happy End Of The World Mode, and are looking hopefully towards the future (or perhaps just looking to get out of the country), next May (the 27th & 28th) marks the return of VanCAF. It’s been a bright spot in the Comic Arts Fest circuit of shows inspired by TCAF, attracting an eclectic mix of creators (big names, indie, and a healthy intersection), readers, and food trucks. Showrunner Shannon Campbell has done a bang-up job shepherding VanCAF into existence and a steady upwards trend in both size and quality.

    But everybody needs to step back and try new things from time to time. Ordinarily, I’d be concerned about a drop-off in quality, had I heard only that Campbell was giving up her position as the festival director. Fortunately, I heard a good deal more than that, as it was announced today that several changes are afoot, all of them positive:

    The sheer amount of talent and experience on display is mind-boggling, and given that TCAF just finished a delegation to Tokyo to exhibit at Kaigai Manga Fest (and has likewise been to various European festivals), I can only imagine that VanCAF’s overseas reputation (and ability to invite guests) is about to take a step up.

    The only possible downside right now is that the two CAFs presently retain their scheduling two weeks apart; while not impacting either show’s ability to attract guests or audience in the past, it may prove to be a logistical challenge for one organization to coordinate two shows on opposite ends of a continent in such a narrow timeframe. I’m going to place even odds on one show (more likely VanCAF) shifting to a different part of the calendar in future years.

  • But in the meantime, if you should want to be in Vancouver at the end of May, applications for 2017 opened today.

Spam of the day:

3 Habits To Fight Off Dementia.

There’s a picture of what looks like a French Onion SunChip attached to the inside of a forearm with packing tape4, which leads me to believe that they want me to do this to stave off dementia. Given that they have not provided any dosing information for the chip shown — duration, weight or age restrictions, effectiveness of French Onion vs Garden Salsa, viability of TransPore easy-removing tape — this is highly irresponsible. I’m not sure if I should report them to the FDA, the USDA, or the Snack Food Association.

¹ Or whatever else you are into and can politely arrange in a consensual fashion.

² Or until whenever you and your partner(s) decide, but you gotta find someplace else to be by nine.

³ When ReedPOP bought EmCity a couple years back, speculation ran rampant that it was less about buying the show and more about acquiring the expertise of Demonakos and husband Jim, EmCity’s founder. Jim’s still with ReedPOP, Andrea was until today-ish.

Given the inclination that ReedPOP has towards less comic-centric shows, Andrea heading over to VanCAF is probably a both a better fit for her, and an indication that VanCAF will get even larger while retaining its reputation for excellent administration.

4 That is not the original photo from the email, it’s a screenshot. I ain’t stupid enough to click on or distribute that thing.


It’s Halloween and I have to get back to handing out candy, so this is going to be brief. But as it is Halloween, one would be remiss if one did not remind all of you fine people to check out the latest Homestar Runner Halloween toon. While not a webcomic per se (and despite being around for years before this page even debuted), H*R epitomizes the do it yourself, own it yourself aesthetic that is the focus of this page. Brothers Chaps, I salute you and really wish I could have been at your 20th anniversary concert last month.

  • And while we’re on the topic of Halloween, has there ever been a webcomicker with a moodier, more … unsettling Uncanny Valleyesque style than John Keogh? Given that it’s my rhetorical question I’m going to answer and say No, no there has not. Lucid TV may gone these six and a half years (even to the Wayback Machine, thanks to robots), but the staff and patients of Jim Belushi Memorial Hospital live on in the memories of those of us that got to follow their lives. Our hazy, unreliable memories.

    So it’s with no small joy that we at Fleen can note that Keogh dropped a series of new comics on us yesterday — nine to be precise — at his Tumblr (the aptly named Pillars Of Fear, which may also be accessed via Among the brilliant (and occasionally tender and heartwarming) comics, please also enjoy the best titles this side of Burke’s Peerage, particularly what may be the single greatest title for a one-off strip in history¹.

  • And to round out our tribute to the weirdest time of year (in what is surely the weirdest year any of us has yet seen; courage, friends; The Mountain Goats would not want you to despair, at least not too much ), for what webcomicker could be said to hold the spirit of Halloween in his heart all the year ’round more than Lar DeSouza?

    And in what is surely the greatest proof yet that not only is our existence some kind of simulation, but also that whoever programmed said simulation needed a good editor (because damn, this is some contrivance verging on cliche), today is also DeSouza’s birthday. I’d tell you to have a very happy one, Lar, but given your universally cheerful (and beloved) demeanor, I’m not sure how you’d tell the difference between a very happy birthday and any other ordinary day. Regardless, many happy returns, and here’s to many more.

Spam of the day:

Are You Ready To Retire In A Tropical Paradise? Here’s How

Come on dudes, does anybody ever say no?

¹ Namely, If Mike Wazowski Does Not Feel The Pain Of Death By Your Hand Then You Will Be My Daughter Nevermore, which prompts just so many questions.

Endings, Beginnings

End of the week at long last, and it can’t come soon enough. Let’s do this.

  • It’s been long suspected in corners and cafes here at Fleen Central, but one of the old school webcomics artists, who in recent times has been an away-from-the-web artist more than anything, has made it official. Exploding Dog by Sam Brown¹ has been around for a long time — the images were iconic, and in at least one case, landed in other fertile soil. He’s been away from the convention scene for a long time but still making drawings based on text sent to him; however, nothing lasts forever:

    I’ve not answered that question yet. is no longer the path I’m walking down. I haven’t updated it since 2015 and have been wondering away. I feel like the old me sat down on a rock to rest. I never planned on going as long as I have and it was made for a different time. Maybe if the weather changes I’ll loop back to it.

    I’m not sure what I’m doing. The new me is moving forward.

    I’m still drawing and will put drawings here at along with some projects that wouldn’t fit in at This is a fresh start. I needed a fresh start. I’d like to reflect and write up a “What Explodingdog meant to me” post. Right now I’m not reflecting well.

    Thanks for reminding me to say goodbye to the old me and not just walk away.

    The art, the vision, the drive go on, even if the address is different. Exploding Dog is dead, long live Building A World.

  • And on the Beginnings side of the spectrum, this is your periodic reminder that Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is one hell of an artist, one that you should be paying attention to. This message is brought to you on the occasion of her twenty-second birthday, which will no doubt cause one of two reactions: Wow, she’s so good, I can’t wait to see what she’s like in ____ years! or How the hell is she so good and so young oh glob I’m old and I suck. I can assure you that it is possible to hold both thoughts simultaneously.

    In all seriousness, Ms Valero-O’Connell is absolutely somebody you should be following now, in advance of her major work appearing (that would be illustrating Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, written by Mariko Tamaki, due in 2018; plus whatever she comes up with on her own afterwards). Get used to seeing her name, get used to seeing her work; in a comics future that includes names like Brosgol, Gran, Hicks, Larson, Meconis, Mock, Stevenson, Telgemeier, Wang, Williams, and many more, Valero-O’Connell is going to more than hold her own. Happy Birthday, Rosemary. Hi. Hello.

Spam of the day:

Important Information Regarding Medicare

Jumped-up Jesus on a pogo stick, who do I have to kill in Junk Mail Central to get them to realize I’m nowhere near Medicare age? It’s not just email spammers, I get this shit constantly mailed to my house. I blame the AARP and the time they thought I was 50 when I was 32. Sonsabitches sold my name on a list and now they think I’m 65. Time for a rampage.

¹ A nom du internet.

Less Of A Day Than Yesterday

But still plenty day-ish, you know? I mean, what’s up with seeing five-bar wifi signals all over an office, but only being able to connect when sitting in one particular chair? Somebody’s messing with me. So let us move onwards and put this whole unpleasantness behind us. And quickly, too, as I shortly get to subject myself to the greatest Transportation Hell this side of the fabled I-95, namely, the United terminal of O’Hare International. At least they have a dinosaur.

We hinted at the San Francisco Comics Fest a couple of days ago, and seeing as how San Francisco is also home to the Cartoon Art Musuem, I figured you’d want to know more about where the two intersect; too bad if it’s not what you wanted to know. Today you get to learn about Storytelling Across Media, which is a free one-day symposium produced in association with San Francisco Comic-Con¹, capping off the Fest with panels and workshops covering comics, gaming, animation, movies, and other media. The Fest itself starts next Wednesday (2 November), with SAM occurring on Saturday (5 November).

SAM is free and open to the public, but space is limited and you’re better off registering online to reserve your place. Programming starts at 11:00am and runs to 6:00pm, at the Marriott Marquis on Mission. The full list of guests and participants is has some damn impressive credentials associated with people who aren’t necessarily household names; for example, how many of you could identify the supervising animators on The Iron Giant? I couldn’t, and I love that movie, but you can bet I’d attend the hell out of a spotlight panel on any of them (Stephan Franck, in this case).

The programming list has at least one must-see panel every one of those seven hours, and frequently more than one in conflict. Click on the More Info button next to any panel description to reserve your place, but be aware — some are shown as sold out (including — encouragingly, the session on Diversity And Representation In Storytelling). Go, enjoy, and report back so that those of us in other parts of the world may share in the positive aspects of comics.

Spam of the day:

Revolutionary smart home accessories are here. Enjoy Wi-Fi enabled devices that keep your home safe brought to you by the Verizon Accessories Store.

You’re actually trying to sell me — me, who has a long, painful history trying to get Verizon to make a proven, perfected, 140 year old technology not suck — on Verizon’s Internet of Things garbage when IoT is behind the entire damn internet falling over last week because they’re unsecurable shit? And pitching it as a way to make my home safer? You’re either insane or tripping all the balls.

¹ Not to confused with the previously-mentioned San Francisco Comics Fest. SFCC is a production of Comic-Con International, who also put on San Diego Comic Con and Wondercon.

This Day … This Day

Where to start? With the hotel that didn’t supply all of the lightbulbs it should have, more than one towel, and a working phone? With the gig assignment that sent me to the wrong office? With my laptop, which decided that it’s still the ’90s and wifi is not a thing? With my voice, which is rapidly decreasing? I think that KB “Otter” Spangler hit the nail on the head re: today earlier this morning. So despite some genuinely encouraging news, I’ve only got enough bandwidth (mental and TCP/IP) to go brief. As it so happens, we’re heading to Kickstarter and staying there today.

  • Firstly, followup on Letters From Lucardo (cf: here), which hit goal in half a day and is now sitting at 150% about two days in. Not bad for a largely-unknown Scandinavian creator making a first book, but then again Iron Circus has a reputation of delivering quality smut on time. so there’s that. The Fleen Funding Factor (Mark II) predicts Lucardo will finish up at US$45K +/- $9K, with a personal expectation that it’ll go up in subsequent volumes.
  • Secondly, Tessa Stone (who partnered with Ananth Hirsch on Buzz! and Is This What You Wanted, has launched a Kickstarter for the first volume of her own webcomic, Not Drunk Enough. The semimythical George is shepherding the project, so full confidence that things will run properly. It’s not quite old enough for the FFF mk2, but it is at 58% of its US$17.5K goal, so that’s okay.
  • Lastly, a dream (?) team of creators/professional reprobates is seeking to raise US$69,420¹ to release a pay-what-you-can Full Motion Video game based on the work of Dr Chuck Tingle. All buckaroos and others opposed to demonic forces are encouraged to investigate >deep breath< Kickstarted In The Butt: A Chuck Tingle Digital Adventure for the opportunity to spread a little joy to people whose lives are sorely lacking in (quoting now) Unicorn Butt Cops, the unexpected juxtaposition of disparate concepts (for instance: pirate, ghost, and bigfoot), and the absurd treated as the mundane. With hot, hot, butts (butts technically optional):

    The very nature of the Tingleverse is The Rawest of Graphic Sensualities, but players who aren’t down with visual depictions of sexual content needn’t fear. While we’re working with video and real actors (the cast will most certainly SURPRISE and AMAZE you), there won’t be explicit footage of people taking a trip to bonetown. Our salacious scenes are literary in nature and read aloud by talented performers, intended to pound the most sexual of your organs … Your imagination.

    We’re also including a Kitten Mode, where sexual situations will be replaced by footage of kittens playing. If you wish, you may also engage Kitten Mode on its own, just to watch some kittens playing, because why not.

    Or, in case you are called to explain the project in an elevator pitch-style quick sentence, the developers have provided one for you: Our exquisitely handcrafted smut puts the anal in artisanal.

    No stretch goals (overfunding will just result in a prettier game), but higher reward tiers will allow the backer to be involved in the game². Go, give, and may whatever spiritual or supernatural power you believe in recognize your virtue and buckaroo nature³.

Spam of the day:

D? you care about dental hygiene?

Yes. That’s why I go to the dentist, who takes care of my teeth. Oh, sorry, was this not a rhetorical question?

¹ An amount also known as one sexweed.

² Obligatory disclaimer: this may involve visual or verbal depictions of the backer being subjected to literary poundings in heart, brain, AND butt.

³ Buckarooness? Buckarooality?

Doing Good Work

I think today is a beautiful day for stomping sharing with you the latest programming notes for the Cartoon Art Museum, who though they currently lack a home of their own, have not let that fact dissuade them from engaging in educational programs of their own, and in conjunction with other San Francisco cultural institutions. They’re basically unstoppable comics-and-culture machines.

They’ve got a return visit this time, as Ajuan Mance (previously a cartoonist-in-residence at CAM) is going to have a conversation with Shawn Taylor at part of SF Comics Fest. This particular discussion will cover Mance’s latest projects (cartooning, writing, illustration, professing English at Mills College, and is presented jointly by CAM, Black Comix Art Festival, and the Museum of the African Diaspora.

They should have plenty to talk about, what with Mance’s rise in profile of late (she was the Guest of Honor at the recent 2016 San Francisco Zine Fest) and her ongoing (nearly concluded, in fact) 1001 Black Men project. If you’d like to be a part of the conversation, it’ll run 6:30pm to 8:30pm on Wednesday, 2 November, at 685 Mission Street (at Third) in San Francisco. It’ll run you US$10, US$5 for students and seniors, or free if you’re a member of CAM or MOAD; admission will include access to MOAD’s exhibits and a brief reception with Mance after the public program.

Honestly, this is the best kind of work that CAM does — partnering with other institutions that don’t have comics as their main focus to broaden both constituencies. Popular perception of comics in America skews very white, and African-American culture has long been perceived to concentrate in certain areas (music, oral traditions, “outsider” art) to the point where contributions to areas like comics may not be fully appreciated.

By seeking out areas of intersection with underrepresented communities of creators (CAM has especially brought focus to queer creators and comics), they expand what all of us think about capital-a Art in general and the comic arts in particular. Good on them, and if you’re about the Bay Area next week, drop in and give a listen.

Spam of the day:

Adult dating, the best girls from your city


SEX DATING: Seeking a man to meet.

Curiously, these come from the exact same return address, and feature the exact same 24 – 27 year old “hot singles in your area that want to sex you”. Could it be that this is an exaggeration?

Sic Transit

18+ only, please. There's sexytimes inside.

The news broke as I started to figure out what to write about today — Jack Chick has died, which news will prompt one of two possible reaction paths:

  • Jack who?
  • The guy behind the crazy evangelical tract comics that hated everybody that wasn’t just like him? Wasn’t he dead already?

I honestly can’t think of anybody in comics that’s been seen as widely and yet been so unknown at the same time. There are places where Chick Tracts are ubiquitous — and where the worldview he espoused is celebrated uncritically — and yet the people who were probably most aware of the depth and breadth of his work are probably about as diametrically opposed to everything he believed in. Every cartoonist knew about Chick.

I never wound up on the harmful end of Chick’s message¹ but I’m still glad that he’s no longer cranking out more of it. Others will fill his place, but I doubt anybody else will be as good at it as he was, which I’m going to count as a rare tickmark in the GOOD column for 2016.

So he’s gone, and I never want to be the sort of person that rejoices in another’s death, so let’s look at things that are positive in life today. Things that should make just about anybody smile. At least one of which probably would have enraged ol’ Jack Chick for some reason or other. After all, if the world weren’t sinful and lacking morality (in his eyes, at least), what purpose would he have had?

  • Dogs! Dogs are the best and now I need to go act this one out with my cold-nosed waggy guy.
  • New Hark! A Vagrant update (Wuthering Heights, no less!), including links to comics about Kate Beaton’s King Baby tour of schools and bookstores.
  • New erotica Kickstarter from Iron Circus, this one being Letters For Lucardo, the first of a planned four books from Finnish creator Noora Heikkilä. It’s about an old man and an immortally young vampire, setting the stage for the series theme of the dangers of love between human and superhuman. Did I mention that the vampire is also a dude? You’re welcome, Jack.

Oh, and on a logistical note, I’m going to be on a reasonably strict client site later this week. My apologies in advance if any updates are late or skipped.

Spam of the day:


My best management technique is to not have diabetes. Works great.

¹ As a straight white male, I was on his good side; my atheism makes me lost but I always got the impression that my failure to believe as he did was somehow less bad in his eyes than people who actively believed differently than he did (Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Mormons, Hindus, Wiccans, Christian Scientists, Jehovah’s Witnesses … let’s just say almost everybody).

What I’m saying is that his ministry — such as it was — was probably more of the cajoling type when addressed at me, and less of the bludgeoning condemnation that so many other people received.

Number Five

So an interesting thing happened today. The five top-funded Kickstarter comics projects prior to about an hour ago were:

  1. The Order of The Stick Reprint Drive (2012; US$1.1254 million, 14.9K backers, 2171% of goal)
  2. The Ctrl-Alt-Del Box Set (2015; US$666K, 5.6K backers, 443% of goal)
  3. Dresden Codak Volume 1 (2013; US$535K, 7.6K backers, 1783% of goal)
  4. Penny Arcade’s ad-kill campaign (2012; US$528K, 9.1K backers, 211% of goal)
  5. Girl Genius Volume 12 & back catalogue reprint (2013; US$389K, 4.4K backers, 707% of goal)

All long-running projects with zillions of readers, deep archives, and well-established creators. All the hallmarks of success under the general rules of engagement that we’ve been working under for the past decade or so. Yeah, those rules just got re-written because as of now, the new number five goes to a Tumblr-hosted, irregularly-running comic about gay college hockey players that’s only been around a couple of years:

  1. Check, Please Year Two (2016; US$399K, 5.1K backers, 1226% of goal)

Which prompts one to consider what lessons may be learned.

Lesson: Much in the way that New York is not a city (it’s a collection of 900 different neighborhoods that happen to have a common political structure and very little else in common), captial-w Webcomics is not a medium, it’s not a delivery mechanism, it’s a collection of niches. Whatever your niche, there’s people out there that will respond to it.

Lesson: The more underserved the niche (or niches that intersect in non-obvious ways), the bigger the pent-up demand for the story you’re telling.

Lesson: The necessity of regular scheduling (even in a potentially post-RSS world) may be dead; a compelling story and characters that you care about will carry your readership over irregular updates.

Lesson: The US$75K that Ngozi Ukazu raised a year and a half ago for her first reprint wasn’t a fluke; it was a warmup.

Reminder: Webcomics has always been defined by what’s next; what delivery channel, what payment mechanism, what project. Smart creators are thinking two or three steps down the line at all times.

Reminder: Check, Please! is presently part-way through the third year of a story that will cover four academic years; the ending is closer than the beginning.

Conclusion: Ukazu is likely already planning for whatever will fill her time after Bitty, Shitty, Jack, Ransom, Holster, Lardo, and the rest hang up their skates. Smart publishers should be making offers to her now. She managed to raise nearly half a million damn dollars¹ on her first two projects with very little infrastructure behind her the first time out². If she’s forward-looking and ambitious (and has a decent lawyer), there’s no limit to how far she can go.

Spam of the day:

Getting help is easy with Tech Support Pro

You want me to subscribe to a support service from Verizon? That’s hilarious. No, wait, what’s the other thing?


¹ At just under US$400K for Year Two, the FFF mk2 overestimated the funding (prediction: US$600-900K), as the big first-day surge was likely to. The McDonald Ratio would have pegged funding at US$620K, at the low end of the FFF mk2. This isn’t the first project where a huge Day One response skewed the prediction up by 50% or so, but still not enough data to predict what the limits of a Day One response to trigger the reduction would be. Data, man. It’s weird.

² She coordinated the production of Year One while still a student, with Amplifier handling the fulfillment. Year Two, she’s brought in Breadpig for logistical support, along with a designer and production specialist.

Born On This Day

We’re coming up on one of those parts of the year where a lot of webcomicker birthdays coincide¹; some people see the inevitability of duplicate birthdays where there’s a large enough group of people², others just see belated evidence that certain members of older generations found certain times of year better for sexytimes. Today, the lucky co-birthdayists are John Allison (happy 40th!), Ryan North (happy 36th!), and the handsome man up there, who is peripherally related to webcomics.

I speak, naturally, of the late Jerry Orbach: actor, singer, and current artistic muse to Brandon Bird, whose latest Kickstarter successfully concluded yesterday (what would have been the last day of Orbach’s 80th year), meaning that the Jerry Orbach Memorial Art Car will be a thing. It was a near thing, with last-minute funding pulling the campaign over goal, but I’m glad to see something this full of love, this unanticipated, this weird has caught the imagination of a sufficient number of people to be made.

Bird hasn’t mentioned this idea, and I don’t know if it’s feasible, but it literally just occurred to me that the one indispensable thing that you need on a Jerry Orbach art car is a horn that makes the Law & Order doink-doink sound.

Spam of the day:

Please see the statement attached. File Access Credentials: qMRwgAxe7

Wow, that’s not shady at all.

¹ For example, Jon Rosenberg not only browbeat me into launching the blog, he and I share a birthday each year around [American] Thanksgiving.

² As in the classic statistic demonstration, where there’s a 50-50 chance that two students will have the same birthday in a group of 23 people; the odds only go up from there.