Original Release Date: June 18, 2013
Mike still drinks soda, Renee and Stu still drink coffee. If there's anything I kept consistent throughout this comic, it was that.
I have always found the ending of Mike and the Ninja to be somewhat melancholy. Mike, Stu, and Renee are all successful, in good places, and most importantly, have found their purposes in life, which is what I wanted them to achieve. And they're still friends, too. That's all good stuff, right? So why is it melancholy, exactly? For me, their relationship reflects relationships I have with some of my friends today. Whatever activities initially brought us together have, in many cases, long since passed. We're still friends, but not in the purest sense because we're no longer doing the things that originally brought us together when we were young and at our most idealistic. For example, the things that brought me together with a lot of my friends were playing dodgeball and making movies. We don't do those things anymore, and even though we're still friends, the absence of those activities does bring about the occasional pang of longing or emptiness or something, even though our friendships are still strong and we do other, life-enriching things together. I see the friendship between Mike, Stu, and Renee in the same light. The evolution of their friendship is not a bad thing, but they are past their world-saving days. Honestly, for them, that should be a good thing!
So that's the end of Mike and the Ninja! It was a long and arduous journey, full of pitfalls and self-discovery and having to really push myself to get it done, but it got done. An entire trilogy of books! Sometimes when I look back on it now, I don't know how I did it. 300-plus pages over 13 years is not actually that much work, but in another sense, it really is, especially when you consider that more than 250 of those pages came in the last five and a half years of its run! The best thing I have gotten out of Mike and the Ninja is that any time I doubt myself, or doubt that I can accomplish something, I look at these books and am reminded that I am a competent human being, after all.
Two questions I get a lot:
1. Do Mike and Renee end up together? I don't know. Making them end up together seemed forced and clicheed, so I didn't want them to. Also, too many stories get a tacked-on romantic subplot, and I just didn't want to deal with that. On the other hand, we don't know that they don't eventually end up together, either. Ultimately, it's a decision I didn't want to make for them. It's up to Mike and Renee to figure that out.
2. Will there ever be more Mike and the Ninja? It's unlikely, but I've learned to never say never. The only rules are that there will be no prequels, and Evil Bad Guy Ninja will not come back to life.
Thanks for reading and for your support!