Update on Books

Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 6:45 AM

[Update by Brian]

I'm going to take Volume 3 off Amazon (and the other online outlets) temporarily while I correct a minor issue with the book's cover. Should be back up soon. Volumes 1 and 2 are also near the end of the proofing process, so with luck, all three books will be available at around the same time.

Thanks for your patience!

The End (Part 4)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 5:56 AM

[Update by Brian]

Mike and the Ninja (then named Chewy Ninja Monkey Bars, for the uninitiated) started some 13 years ago with a 4-part beginning arc. Fittingly, it ends with a 4-part ending arc. I find it to be a sort of melancholy ending in some respects--each character has had to grow and pay a price to get where they are today. For Stu, it was the loss of a friend. For Mike, it was giving up juvenile, argumentative, and slacker-ish behavior to become something more and experience adventures that may have been more mentally taxing to someone else. Mike seems to have adjusted well--he's now seeking out adventure, though he may still seem like a fish out of water and has a lot to learn. But, he feels like he has purpose, and that's something I don't think he had in the beginning.

Producing Mike and the Ninja over all these years has truly been a joy. There were times I didn't give the comic the attention it deserved, and times when I wanted to give up. There were plenty of times I would rather play video games or write an entire book than draw one more panel. Despite all of the hard times, the end result is something amazing, and something that not many people in the world can say they've accomplished. I have learned so much about storytelling, pacing, and art. Also, it's just fun to draw, and seeing my work improve over the years makes me want to find more reasons to keep drawing. I'm proud of what I produced, and I have no regrets along the way, in life or in making comics. I always try to remember that if things in my life hadn't happened the way they have, I may not be where I am today, and the thought of not being with my wife, not having a great relationship with my family and friends, and not being blessed in many other ways, is terrifying to consider. If I'd worked on Mike and the Ninja more consistently and it had ended in 2007, I think Mike and Stu would have had very different adventures, and it would have ended in a very different place. That, too, is something that's hard to think about.

So what's next? Well, I'm contributing to a blog called Funtime Explosion with my friends Matt Sissom and Wade Christian. It's a video game blog, and I haven't actually written anything for it, yet, since life is still finding ways to be super busy, but I hope to push out some content there soon. I'm also working on a personal blog about sports, wrestling, video games, and so on, but I'm going to push it back a few months so I can really get the site design where I want it to be, and so I can build up some content at my leisure so I don't launch the site too early and immediately burn out because I'm struggling to keep up with posting new content.

As for Mike and the Ninja, the website and all the comics will be here for the foreseeable future. I'm still working on moving Volumes 1 and 2 to Amazon, but a few additional tweaks need to be made before they go on sale there. I will also be revamping the site design here, as it's a couple of years old now and has a few technical issues that need to be worked out. I'll also continue to post any Mike and the Ninja-related news as it comes up.

One last time, thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me in making these comics over the last 13 years. You played a big part in the adventure, as well, and without your kind words and encouragement, you may have never seen today's comic. As always, until next time, take care and thanks for reading!

The End (Part 3)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 4:54 PM

[Update by Brian]

God willing, that'll happen to me someday. Maybe not dealing with guys with guns, but if I fall backwards into some money, I'm going adventuring, too.

I'm in the process of making Volumes 1 and 2 of Mike and the Ninja available for purchase via Amazon.com and other retailers. I might have some time this week to finish up all of the details, but we'll see.

Next week is the LAST PAGE of Mike and the Ninja ever, so you better be back here to see it! We've all come a long way since April of 2000, and it's time to finish what we started. Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!

The End (Part 2)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

Looks like Renee (and Ohtani!) have done well for themselves. But what's going on with Mike? What is in the envelope that was slid under his door?! You have no choice but to return next week! (Or buy the book, of course.)

Speaking of books, I mailed off copies of both volumes 2 and 3 to the Library of Congress today. I feel really bad having put off submitting Volume 2 for almost two years now. It's amazing what small tasks can fall through the cracks when you're as busy as I have been over the last couple of years. I'm so glad a lot of that has been clearing up lately, and I hope it stays this way for a while now.

I'll see you back here next week! Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!

The End (Part 1)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

We've officially reached the epilogue, ladies and gentlemen. It looks like Stu has finally found where he belongs, though not without cost.

But what of Mike and Renee? Perhaps we'll find out how things turned out for them next week? Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 7:15 AM

[Update by Brian]

So...there's that. Making comics ends up taking you in weird places, and it's amazing how much I found myself caring about characters that I created. These last three weeks were easily some of the most emotionally intense comics I've ever made. To lose a character was more emotionally taxing than I realized it would be.

On the plus side, the day is won, and that giant spider was defeated. Kind of a bittersweet victory.

It's not ever yet! We'll see you again next week. Until then, take care, and thanks for reading.

Grand Finale

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

What better way to celebrate comic number 300 than with a giant explosion...?

...That a beloved character is trapped in?

Maybe we'll get some answers next week?

Do What You've Gotta Do

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 - 10:34 PM

[Update by Brian]

"Do what you've gotta do" means several things to me. Sometimes it means doing something that I know is right, but makes me uncomfortable. Sometimes it means doing something I don't want to do to get to a place in life where I want to be. Sometimes it means doing something because I won't feel like a complete person if I don't do it. I'm not exactly certain what Evil Bad Guy Ninja means by it here when he says it to Stu, but based on how much he's grown in the last volume, I have a pretty good idea. Stu's interpretation of it is probably not too far off.

From a mental standpoint, this was probably the hardest comic I've ever had to draw. But it's not the last. See you next week.

2-Minute Warning

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

Man. This is gettin' tense.

I don't have a whole lot else to say at the moment. I'll just let that tension set in. Meanwhile, I'm just glad to actually have the time to post the comic on schedule.

Also, if you missed it, the news post below features info on how you can buy Mike and the Ninja Volume 3 from Amazon! Can you believe it? A book I made on Amazon?! I really feel like I'm moving up in the world! Pretty soon my book will be selling as well as third-rate, 2-star cookware and bulk wiring. Those will be good days.

I'm outta here. Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading!

Mike and the Ninja Volume 3 Now Available on Amazon!

Saturday, April 27, 2013 - 1:11 PM

[Update by Brian]

In case you missed Cape Comic Con last weekend, and if you're not local and won't be seeing me anytime soon to get a copy personally from me, Mike and the Ninja Volume 3: Return of the Ninja is now available for purchase online via Amazon.com. For just $10, you can get the completed story a couple of months ahead of the online schedule, plus all of the extras in the back, plus a great addition to your bookshelf or coffee table to be plucked and inspected by curious guests or family members! (Hopefully not thieves, though. They're not allowed to read it.)

If you're feeling generous with your time and words and would like to leave some positive reviews for Volume 3, they would be very much appreciated! I'm sure many of you already have Amazon accounts, so get to it!

Volumes 1 and 2 will also be available on Amazon in the near future. I just have to get them moved over from my old publisher to the new one.

That's all for now! See you Tuesday!

Help Me Help You

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 9:21 AM

[Update by Brian]

So Stu and Evil Bad Guy Ninja fight a lot. Like, a lot. Really, they fight all the time. This fight, though...this is different. Usually EBGN is dropping in on Stu to settle some beef from their younger years, while cashing in on a bounty laid out by some villain at the same time. This time, it's not EBGN's choice to fight, and I feel like that makes it kind of heartbreaking. He finally reforms after enduring the role of reluctant good guy in a couple of scuffles against the Hypergoon Elite and Bob in volumes one and two, respectively. Now, despite that, here he is fighting Stu again. It's hard to take.

I'd like to extend the biggest, most heartfelt thank you possible to everybody at Cape Comic Con this past weekend. Whether you are a show organizer, a vendor, another artist, or somebody who stopped by the booth, you helped make the show possible, and it was a blast. It was the most successful Cape Con to date for Mike and the Ninja, and despite the physical exhaustion involved with the show, I left on Sunday full of energy and excitement, ready to crank out more stories and more drawings. Even though Mike and the Ninja is ending, if there was any doubt at all in my mind about moving on to a new creative endeavor, it's gone now. After every Cape Con, I feel so much camaraderie and fulfillment in what I do that I couldn't possibly ignore that creative itch. Every last stroke of the pen and every last written word is worth it.

I'll be back next week with a new comic. Until then, take care, and as always, thanks for reading.

Cape Comic Con

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 11:15 AM

[Update by Brian]

A reminder to residents of the Cape Girardeau-Jackson, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area! Your weekend needs for entertainment and self-fulfillment can be met by following these simple instructions:

1. Come to Cape Comic Con at the A.C. Brase Arena Building 4pm-10pm Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday, or 11am-5pm Sunday. (Or just be there all three days. Really, who's stopping you?)
2. Visit the Mike and the Ninja booth. We'll visit, laugh, maybe shake hands, and generally have a good time.
3. Purchase humorous, quality Mike and the Ninja books. Don't forget: Volume 3: Return of the Ninja debuts at Cape Con!
4. Spend more time (and possibly money) perusing the rest of Cape Comic Con and support your local artists and comics community.

Come if you can, don't if you must, but have a great weekend either way!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 7:22 AM

[Update by Brian]

Today's comic is the first of the final ten pages of Mike and the Ninja ever! I hope the suspense is killing you! (If not, then sorry.)

I'll be back on Thursday to bug you again about making sure to come to Cape Comic Con to support Mike and the Ninja and the local comics community. Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!

Final Fight

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 - 9:00 PM

[Update by Brian]

Even with Stu and Evil Bad Guy Ninja getting along these days, it comes as no surprise that we see them battling each other once again, albeit this time with EBGN under the corrupting influence of The Six! What will come of this?!

Now, on to other important matters. Cape Comic Con is just 10 days away, and Mike and the Ninja will be there, as always! (And I guess I'll be there, too, if they let me tag along.) Here are the important event details:

When: Friday, April 19 from 4pm-10pm; Saturday, April 20 from 10am-6pm; and Sunday, April 21 from 11am-5pm
Where: A.C. Brase Arena Building in Cape Girardeau, Missouri (Note the venue change from last year! It will NOT be at the Osage Centre--a couple of additions to this year's convention have necessitated a change of venue.)
Why: Your feeble bodies require comics, games, toys, collectibles, cool costumes, art and creators, celebrity appearances, and more for both entertainment and survival.
Cost: $5 for a day, or $15 for the weekend.

But, this is the real reason you'll be attending Cape Comic Con: the premiere of the third and final volume of Mike and the Ninja: Return of the Ninja. Not only can you buy this book at Cape Con to complete your Mike and the Ninja trilogy, you can also buy it and see the end of the story before everybody reading it online! You'll know what happens two months ahead of schedule! Do with this information what you will: lord if over your friends, find great personal self-satisfaction, or spoil the ending for everyone on Facebook. (Please don't spoil the ending for everyone on Facebook.) Volume 3 is also packed with extras, including concept art, my personal look back on making Mike and the Ninja, as well as an "oddities checklist" that lists the in-jokes, pop culture references, background visual gags, and other little easter eggs that have appeared in the comic over the years. It's a good-looking book, I'm proud of how it turned out, and I'm very excited to offer it to you.

I recently switched to a new printer that does higher quality work at lower prices, which means you're in for some great deals at Cape Con. I'll be offering all three volumes of Mike and the Ninja for just $8 a book this year! That's $4 cheaper than in previous years. But that's not all--normally, I offer two books for $20. This year, it's not just two for $20, it's THREE for $20! That's right, you can get all three Mike and the Ninja books for just 20 space bucks! Only need two books? You can get TWO BOOKS for $15! Holy crap! You can't beat these deals, not even with a rusty 9-iron! Plus, I'll have all the usual freebies (stickers, bookmarks, and flyers) and my Eisner Award-winning personality.*

We're gonna have lots of fun at Cape Con this year. I can't wait to see you all there! And, I'll be back here next week with a new comic. Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!

*Personality has not actually won an Eisner Award.

Hostile Takeover

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 6:50 AM

[Update by Brian]

Uh oh. This is probably not gonna be good.

I must have had at least some free time this past week--the comic is on schedule, and I had time to archive a number of older, lingering blog posts. You know, the ones from last summer that were still here on the homepage, masquerading as current events. They're on the blogs page now.

Lastly, this arrived late last week:

Volume 3!

I've looked over it one last time and made the final changes and corrections. We should get final approval from the printers today, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Details on it, and Mike and the Ninja's appearance at Cape Comic Con, will be revealed next week! Get excited!

Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 6:40 AM

[Update by Brian]

I swear, you guys, these comics are all done and I still can't get them posted to the site on time. This is what I get for daring to take a trip out of town, then getting stuck halfway home on account of the snow and getting home a day later than expected.

Also, we're really starting to get close to the end here. I'm talking three or so months of comic to go. What's gonna happen next?!

Gotta take care of some work around the house before I go to the ol' day job. Take care, and thanks for reading!

Chaos Strive

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 - 10:38 PM

[Update by Brian]

A lot of times, I also endure incredible pain for a noble cause. Sometimes I go a whole day without eating any Cheetos so that someone else can enjoy them. It's tremendously difficult, but I know it's the right thing to do.

Amanda and I are going to Chicago to visit my brother and sister-in-law, see the sights, eat well, and attend the Midwest Gaming Classic in Milwaukee. In the meantime, the website will be left in the care of several trained squirrels, assuming that they are not killed and eaten by our cats, in which case the service from which we rented the squirrels is not going to be happy. The cats, on the other hand....

I gotta go--it's way past my bedtime. Take care, and thanks for reading!

Four's a Crowd

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 5:40 PM

[Update by Brian]

Why do with two ninja what four ninja can do better?

Good news, Ninjamaniacs! The cover for the third book is finished! I'm working on compiling extras now, and should be able to order a proof by late tomorrow night or Thursday. The extras look to be pretty lengthy, too, so I hope you'll be getting a lot of bang out of this third volume.

Plenty of other stuff is keeping me busy in the meantime, as well, so I gotta get going. Take care, thanks for reading, and see you next week!

Sequential Art of War

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

Longtime readers may remember a similar fight between Stu, Evil Bad Guy Ninja, and these two particular Hypergoons from way back when. Old rivalries never die.

The cover for the third book is starting to take shape. All of the drawing and inking for it is done; coloring and assembly will follow. Meanwhile, I'm working on writing some of the content for the book's bonus features, which is taking me on another stroll down Memory Lane. Listen, this book? All about Memory Lane. Hey, it's the last one--whaddya expect?

I gotta get going. Amanda and I are hitting up a Lindsey Stirling concert tomorrow, and we still have a bunch of work we need to get done tonight. Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading!

In Duplicate

Wednesday, February 26, 2013 - 6:45 AM

[Update by Brian]

This comic was inspired by the "phantom doubles" power-up found in Ninja Gaiden II: The Dark Sword of Chaos, a Nintendo game in which your ninja could split himself into one or two additional ninjas that would mirror the actions of the original ninja. It was a really cool idea, and you could use the doubles in a lot of creative and strategic ways.

I've started work on assembling the materials for the third Mike and the Ninja book! I've found some great extras (some of which have really taken me down Memory Lane), and intend to produce a couple of additional extras, as well. I'll keep you updated on the progress--the book has to be done in time for Cape Comic Con, which is April 19-21 this year. I can't wait.

That's all for now! Until next week, take care, and thanks for reading!

Conflict of Interests

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 7:09 AM

[Update by Brian]

Tend to your friend who just got shot? Or stay latched to a table out in the open, laser blasts streaking all around you, to save the world? I'm honestly pretty glad I don't have to deal with that decision this morning. Or hopefully ever.

On Monday, I wrapped up all of the artwork on all remaining comics. Mike and the Ninja is done...sorta. Now I just have to put a book together, and start thinking about that new website design I hinted at a while ago--something brighter and friendlier, but still definitively Mike and the Ninja.

I have to go to my real job now! Take care, and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

Do you ever wonder where the ninja keep all of these weapons that are obviously way too large to conceal? The question has crossed my mind, as well, and I'm willing to bet it's just another one of those sacred arts that regular folks will never understand.

That, or maybe it's just artist neglect. The other sounds much more reasonable, though.

I don't have a lot of time, so I better get going. Take care, and thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013 - 7:15 AM

[Update by Brian]

Whoops. Looks like that first salvo didn't quite go as planned.

Keeping busy! Been lots of stuff to do around the house, plus I'm helping with the Cape Comic Con website, and there's a lot of news and big announcements being made over there. I also was part of a video game podcast with some friends last night that may or may not see the light of day, depending on how badly everyone wants to subject the general public to one of the worst games possible--we'll see.

That's all for now! I have to get ready for work. Until next time, take care, and thanks for reading!

Ninja Versus Hypergoon Elite, Round 2

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 7:39 PM

[Update by Brian]

Hey look! Not gone (but probably forgotten by now), it's a new edition of Mike and the Ninja after an unexpected 2-week hiatus! I apologize for the lack of updates--I was sick when I missed the first update, and I missed the second update because of some personal matters I won't discuss here. Everything is okay now, so no worries.

I don't have much else to add right now. I'm desperately behind on a number of items after being out of action for two weeks, so I'm mostly just busy trying to catch up right now. But I'll see you next week with a new comic. Until then, take care, thanks for your patience, and as always, thanks for reading.

Sick and Tired, But Mostly Sick

Wednesday, January ??, 2013 - ??:?? PM

[Update by Brian]

Pneumonia + Bronchitis = No new comic this week. I've been totally out of the loop since Saturday and just now have enough wits about me to function to some degree again. I'm on probiotics and antibiotics at the same time!

So I'll see you next week when I'm a little more coherent and a lot less exhausted. Thanks for your patience!

Big Fight

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:00 AM

[Update by Brian]

I hadn't seen this particular comic for several weeks. When I saw it again, I was surprised to find that I was genuinely excited about what was going on in the comic, beyond what I normally experience as the author. I feel like there's real tension and desperate intent behind everyone's actions. I realized I was really happy with how it turned out, and I hope you enjoy it, as well.

I'd like to spill some beans on one of the other projects I'm working on that I hope will kick in to gear sometime within the next couple of months. I'm starting a blog that will cover sports, video games, and pro wrestling, which are three topics that I really enjoy and have a desperate urge to write about. I maintained a sports blog for a little more than a year and a half quite some time ago, and it was a lot of fun to write every week. I shelved it to put more focus on the comic, and now that the comic is nearing its finale, I'd like to get back into blogging, as my writing itch is becoming unbearable, and I need to start tuning up for some additional writing projects I would like to take on. Right now, I'm just working on designing a website for the blog, but like I said, I'm hoping to start actual blogging within the next couple of months. This is also part of the reason why the game reviews on this site have dried up recently--I'm focusing this site solely on the comic and am saving up any video game material for the new blog.

I'll keep you posted on the new blog. But for now, I mostly just hope you're excited about what's going to happen next in Mike and the Ninja. So, I hope to see you back here next week. Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!

...Unto the Breach

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 4:35 PM

[Update by Brian]

Happy new year to everyone out there in Internet Land! 2012 was a pretty good year for Mike and the Ninja, but 2013 is expected to be possibly the biggest year yet. Unfortunately, 2013 will see the end of Mike and the Ninja, but it will also see the release of the final volume of the Mike and the Ninja trilogy, a new Mike and the Ninja website, the usual appearance at Cape Comic Con, and maybe one or two additional Comic Con appearances, as well, depending on how things go. I've been wanting to expand our number of Comic Con appearances for a couple of years now. Will it finally happen in 2013?!

I'll keep you updated on the progress of all of the aforementioned big stuff that will be happening this year. In the meantime, take care, happy new year, and (as always) thanks for reading!