Original Release Date: May 25, 2004
This was the first comic after a break of more than a year. 2003 is a year I don't remember particularly well, so I don't know what was going on that would have prevented me from working on comics. I was in college, but 2003 was probably my easiest year of college, so that shouldn't have been a big deal. My mom almost went blind because a virus attacked her vision, of all things, but she recovered. That was a very scary ordeal, but I believe that it only lasted a couple of months over the summer, but I could be wrong.
On a personal level, the first half of 2004 was another story. I let myself fall into the deepest of the dumps. It might be the closest I've ever been to clinical depression? I'm not qualified to say that, though; I could be way off-base. I brought it on myself, anyway. I was in the middle of one of my most difficult semesters of college and spent a lot of time reading and doing homework. My friends invited me out, but were usually doing things I wasn't interested in, so I acted like a stuck-up jerk and stayed in most, if not all, the time. My favorite release, friday night dodgeball, had dried up on account of the weather and didn't really get going until March. I let every failure consume me. Every social gaff, every time I forgot to do something at work, every time I forgot to read stories for my literature classes and stayed up until 4am getting them done, complete failure with women, every mistake made me feel like the dumbest, most unlikeable, most incompetent person in the world. If anybody tried to help, I rejected them and insisted they were wrong.
On the plus side, all these bad feelings motivated me in some ways. I got in pretty good shape by going running in the middle of the night and lifting weights while watching Adult Swim. It was here I discovered the joys of Futurama and Cowboy Bebop, which became two of my favorite series. I also started a journal. At first, the journal was mostly there to remind me, in writing, of what a failure I thought I was, but it evolved into something of greater significance. And, eventually, the writing brought about ideas for the comic.
So, with my first comic back after a long hiatus, I of course chose to make fun of myself. I didn't quite escape my funk until around a month after this, so I used meta-humor one more time for cheap laughs at my own expense. Also, I'm very happy I stopped drawing Stu's ears in later strips because those things just look weird. There's kind of a strange role reversal at work here, too. Normally, Stu is the one who is able to break the fourth wall, while Mike is aloof, but in this case, Mike has all the answers.