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.
Welcome to the new Mike and the Ninja dot com. It is fully equipped with mobile friendliness, search engine optimization (well, maybe), proper coding, 4-wheel drive, and several secret compartments where ninja are probably hiding right now.
Naturally, I didn't get everything done in time that I wanted to, and I haven't really had much opportunity to test for bugs, so if you notice anything strange happening, let me know, and I'll try to get it worked out as quickly as possible.
So, the conversation I kept having with myself during this process went something like this: Why make a new website for Mike and the Ninja? It’s done. You finished it in 2013. Why put so much time and energy into something that’s already done? Why not focus this energy on your new projects so you can make them better and finish them quicker?
Well, I have my reasons for that. To start, as a website designer, I couldn’t stand the old website. I built it at a time when I still only kind of knew what I was doing, so the website was serviceable, but not properly built and a big mess behind the scenes. Now, I think I’m at a point where I actually know what I’m doing, so I wanted to finally apply that knowledge to Mike and the Ninja’s online presence. It was three or four years overdue. Plus, mobile friendliness is now an essential part of web design, so it was necessary to incorporate that, as well.
Secondly, as an artist, I’m really proud of Mike and the Ninja. It is not perfect, but it is, by far, the biggest artistic endeavor I have ever undertaken, and I think it deserves an active, professional-looking online presence. It is a webcomic, after all.
Lastly, as a business person(?), I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to let a brand stagnate or appear inactive, and that is exactly what I’ve let happen to Mike and the Ninja. Aside from convention appearances, I haven’t done much of anything with it since the series ended, and this website redesign is intended to help rectify that error.
So, there you have it. I hope you enjoy the re-release and the artist commentary that will accompany each page. Take care, and thank you for reading!