I've been bad about reviewing some of the cartoon books I collect. Heh. I'll have to post a picture of the comic wing of my library sometime soon.
Howard Taylor was an engineer at Novell. He needed a hobby to help blow off some steam. So he started cartooning. He'd draw around the kitchen table and kill several hours a night. The cartoons went up on a website. Fast forward a few years and he quit his job at Novell to do the cartoon full time. The first book, "Schlock Mercenary: Under New Management", was released a little more than a year ago. I ordered one for me and two for gifts. The problem with this book was that it jumped into the cartoon several years in. It's book three in the eventual series. It contains a couple of story lines but there's missing background. I have to assume he started there because that's where he became happy with his art.
"Schlock Mercenary: The Blackness Between" is the second book released and the fourth in the series.
"Schlock Mercenary: The Tub of Happiness" is the third book, starts before the first strip and runs through several story lines.
The comic is the ongoing tale of a company of missionaries. It successfully pulls off the daily joke format and the long running storyline format. Being an engineer, Taylor does his best to keep the science accurate, or at least consistently wrong. When dealing with the more obscure sciences or feels the need to explain why he's doing it wrong or the history between certain species and corporations the author puts a blurb under the cartoon. All blurbs are contained within the books along with a few extras and some fan art.
If you're not sold on the book yet feel free to have a free look. Schlock Mercenary is a daily strip appearing at http://www.schlockmercenary.com/. The archives are complete and you can read the whole run before deciding whether you want to help support his career choice by shopping at http://store.schlockmercenary.com/.