Original Release Date: April 15, 2008
So, obviously Mike's response to Renee's note, and the reverse silhouette used in the panel, implies that some sort of romantic subplot may be developing here. At this point, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. From what I know about Mike, what I know about Renee, and their interactions so far, I think he's definitely got a crush on her here. However, I never really allowed myself to feed into any will-they-or-won't-they speculation beyond this point, aside from a couple of hugs and general concern for one another's wellbeing. I was intrigued by the idea of them becoming an item, which is why I drew this panel the way I did in the first place. I thought they could be a thing. But, ultimately, I decided I didn't want the comic to become a relationship comic, or even to have a relationship side story--I didn't have faith in my ability to write one, and I was critical of other webcomics I read at the time that got majorly sidetracked by unbelievable or uninteresting romantic subplots.
Meanwhile, there are choice gags on this page. We see the beginnings of a running joke of Stu kicking in doors, are introduced to Tiffany Partridge, the mayor's loyal "aide," and what I think is a sharp exchange between Stu and a concerned citizen. I like the idea that everybody is so upset with the mayor that they are constantly kicking in doors at City Hall, so much so that signs are hung to discourage it. Tiffany also assumes that Stu is there to complain because that's what everybody is there to do!