if any of you go the "create-a-comic" route, i highly recomend a white-out pen in addition to a sharpie marker. white out pens are seriosuly underrated - they're super-opaque, you can do medium-sized areas or draw with them, and you can blend the wierd liquid-y but opaque stuff that they put out with your fingertips.
thanks for all the positive comments, guys! Yes, the hat is needle felted. the process is a little much for me to write a tutorial right now, but the bones of it are: you get wool. some of it has been combed and wound into a loose "rope" - this is called roving. This hat is made from a handpainted roving i bought from dudleyspinner on ebay. Then, i poke it five million times with tiny needles. I sort of taught myself the technique that i use - from what i can gather, most needle felters use foam forms. I have an undersized glass head that i use as a stand, and sorta freehand shape the wool.
The dreads were actually super-easy. The Quinnster site (quinnster.co.uk) has great instructions (or a link to them, i forget which) on how to make wool dreads - since i already had wool around, this was really really easy! i followed the instructions vaguely, and there are only about five of them installed in my actual head - so taking them out won't be too much of a PITA.
The thing that i love about felting (well, one of the things!) is how easy it is to get started, and how little equipment you need. Thank you all for the comments!