Original Release Date: May 25, 2009
The ninja went on strike in 1991. The highwayman in panel four is supposed to be the same guy from the previous page, now with a 90s-appropriate haircut. He doesn't seem to be very good at hijacking trucks.
The idea behind the ninja strike was to acknowledge the sort of ruthless, hyper-competitive business practices of the 1980s. There is all of this cool, pop-culture driven nostalgia that comes out of the 80s, but consider the yuppies, the corporate villains, and the money-driven aspects of the decade, as well. The ninja strike was not necessarily intended as a purposeful statement against these things. It started as just a goofy plot device and grew into an acknowledgement of the underlying corporate menace. However, I like the idea of a good guy or group of good guys being corrupted by power or popularity or something dumb, and their eventual redemption. We know the strike happened, but it hasn't been fully explored until this flashback. This plants the seed for the union's eventual turn in Volume 3. It's also an excuse to put ninjas in suits during the negotiation scene, which is redundant and gratuitous, considering they are still wearing their ninja gear underneath.
I was moving at around the time of the publication of this page. I was leaving my crappy duplex for an even older, crappier apartment. There were a number of reasons to move: I wanted to be a little closer to my job, the apartment was in the same building as Amanda's, and while none of my roommates were bad, I was ready to try living on my own.
Of course, living on my own meant making some sacrifices to be able to afford my own apartment. I started walking to work. I couldn't run the air or heat as much as I used to, which proved challenging in a drafty apartment. It was on the north side of the building and had no shade, so it got immensely cold during the winter and immensely hot during the summer. More on that in later commentary. I also had to learn to eat on a budget, and I gave up cable TV and never went back. Fortunately, Netflix's streaming service was proliferating at around this time, so I still had plenty to watch, and for far less money, too. The move forced me to grow up a lot--I had fewer safety nets than ever, and it wasn't fun sometimes, but I adapted and have a lot of good memories of those crappy apartments. Looking back on them makes me appreciate what I have now that much more.