Original Release Date: April 8, 2000
This comic relies a little bit on meta-humor. Mike makes conversation with the narrator, and then I didn't bother to draw the teller booth from the side, not because I was "too lazy," but because I simply didn't know how to do it. This was a normal part of the early pages, as you'll see in the coming weeks. I do legitimately enjoy meta-humor, but it's easy to use it as a crutch and eventually abuse it, which I did a lot of in the beginning. A little bit here and there, in the right kind of story, can be quite effective, but as Mike and the Ninja evolved, I relied on it less and less.
More importantly, however, is the first appearance of Stu the Ninja. Even in the very beginning, Stu was just trying to be the calming voice of reason. Although, he has an uncharacteristic thirst for violence in the last panel. Also, Stu has a visible sword sheathed on his back. I unconsciously did away with that after a while, and suddenly Stu could apparently just pull the sword out of the ether.
We also see our first evidence of the Hired Goon Association (I can assume Bob's goons in the first strip are his own and not affiliated with the HGA) in the form of one hired goon, and an officially sanctioned Goon-O-Matic Hired Goon Dispenser, a teleportation pod connected directly to Hired Goon Association headquarters in Los Angeles. The goon's MegaClub 5000 is sanctioned, standard-issue gear for all HGA goons.
Also of note, this is the second consecutive comic in which somebody calls "Security!" on Mike. Can't really explain why, but people shouting for security--particularly when it's unwarranted--has always been very funny to me.