Original Release Date: May 11, 2000
Oof. Apparently I had unkind thoughts about lawyers and the government when I drew this one. Also, I'm pretty sure I drew the panel borders in Paint Shop Pro and printed them so I wouldn't have to draw my own. The first five pages prove that I couldn't draw them on my own worth a hoot. Use a straight edge already, past self! I'm also fairly confident I upgraded from copy paper to cardstock when I drew this one, so we're evolving a little bit as far as process and materials go. Still, Mike looks pretty rough in an awful lot of these panels, and I'm thinking it's only a matter of time now before I cast the sloppiness gimmick aside and start using a freakin' pencil already.
This page is not one of my favorites. The dialogue is weaker in this installment, and there's a lot of it, so it sours my opinion of the whole thing. Again, Stu comes off as being inept, which, in the defense of these early pages, WAS part of his original character, if I remember correctly, but it's not how he turned out in the end, so it's strange to look back on these early adventures and see and hear him bumbling around like an oaf. I like the Ninja Factory Outlet Store a lot--it fits the Mike and the Ninja universe like a stealthy black glove.
Then there's Jackson, the bounty hunter. Obviously, he's a Jason knock-off, but with a twist. There were some fairly inconsequential enemies in the Ninja Gaiden games on Nintendo that ran around in hockey masks, and they were named Jackson, so that's where the name and character come from. Aside from the part where I ripped off The Far Side by having Jackson pushing on a door he needs to pull to open, I like him all right. He's terrible at his job, to the great amusement of myself and hopefully the audience.
However, a question must be asked: is everyone in this comic totally inept?!