View the source, luke.

Whaleocalypse is the world's first open source comic.

That means you are free to read, change, redistribute, and sell whaleocalypse provided you pass along those same freedoms to your readers when doing so. You like some bit or art I put up? Take it, it's yours. You're curious about how I achieved some particular visual effect, and you'd like replicate it in your own comic? Go for it. You think you have a funnier punch line? You probably do, try it out. You want to translate whaleocalypse into your native language? Cool!

How can a cartoon be open source?

You can download the original, layered Photoshop files for any of my strips, and in many cases the original highres drawings. You're free to change them, and post them on your website, or print them in your news paper. The only caveat is that you must abide the terms of the Gnu Public Licence when doing so, meaning you must also provide your layered photoshop files the same way I'm doing here.

Open source is a concept from the software world, but it applies pretty well to these comics too. In this case the "source code" means the Photoshop files that I use to create whaleocalypse, while the compiled binary files are the JPGs I post on the website. Of course Photoshop files are a bit more visual than what we normally think of when we think about source code, but not by all that much (consider VB, for instance). The source code that runs whaleocalypse.com, by the way, is also open source and available on github. (fork me!)

Why?

When you give people the freedom to share, you are giving them the right to be part of a community. In the words of Open Source pioneer Richard Stallman:

These freedoms should not be strange to you. At least, not if you cook, because people who cook enjoy the same freedoms in using recipes.... If you cook your version of the recipes for a dinner with your friends, and a friend says "that was great, can I have the recipe?" you can write down your version of the recipe and make a copy for your friend.

When you use a work to do something, if you're not in control of it, you're not in control of your life. And if you can't share with other people, you're forbidden to be part of a community.
-GNU Project founder and noted crazy person Richard Stallman (video)

I am an open source software developer for a living, and one thing I've learned is that ideas are infinitely more powerful when they are shared. When I code, I might come up with a good idea, but someone out there in the world might add to it and make it infinitely better than I ever dreamed possible. And someone might take that addition and find a use for it that the author never even considered. And when this happens all of us are enriched. Never once have I felt cheated or diminished by someone using my code without my permission. And of course, I have used the work of thousands of other developers without ever asking. In the words of the poet Hafez:

Even after all this time, the Sun never says to the Earth, "you owe me." Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.
—Hafez

We give and receive freely among ourselves, and together we light the whole sky. What a beautiful thing. Wouldn't it be cool if art worked that way too?

Can I sell whaleocalypse?

Yes. Anyone is free to to redistribute whaleocalypse commercially or not, provided you also give out your source files (layered PSDs) when doing so. Technically, you don't even have to attribute it to me, though I'm asking privately that you attribute where possible. Bear in mind, though, that you have to offer these same terms to your readers when distributing. So you can sell whaleocalypse, but anyone in the world will be allowed to make an exact copy of the thing you're selling and give it away for free.

Do you really think anyone is going to modify these comics?

Probably not. But maybe.

I don't get these comics. They're never funny and I always feel like I'm missing something.

Go home dad, you're drunk.