WHAT THE WHAAAAAATTTTTT?!
Issue 1, page 21
Sorry, this is one of those pages that demands you remember the dialogue from last week. It's one of the major challenges of doing a serialized webcomic and why daily gag strips have always been more popular than daily serialized stuff. On the flip side, it's nearly impossible to get people to come back month after month for a full comic because that's not how people typically read online so you're damned if you, and you're damned if you don't and that's how we did it. I understand it's how these young whipper-snappers on WebToons are STILL doing it.
But that's burying the lead, isn't it?
I wrote this story in such a way that you didn't need to read Dinner and a Robbery to enjoy it but like any good continuity-driven story it's much more fun if you have. If this is your first exposure to RL, Paige reads just fine as the irate ex-girlfriend character but if you did read D&R this story offers you so much more. (So go read it if you haven't.)
I like how 2005 Tim tried to do the dialogue thing where two characters talk over each other, stop and then finish their sentences. It kind of works. You might have to read it twice to get the bit but A for effort. Locke and Paige talk over each other a LOT in this story and I was constantly trying ways to emulate rom-com style dialogue in a comic.
There's NO mistaking the "YOU!" bit in the last panel. That's a really excellent speech bubble.
All that out of the way, let's talk about Paige's redesign. I mostly hate it.
My idea at the time is I wanted to Paige look less like a love interest and more like a villain and while I guess it succeeds at that I just like her old look better. It fit her character better. I do get that 2005 Tim wanted to draw her in a sexier outfit because drawing girls in sexy outfits is fun. I can only speak for myself but I believe that is true for more than just straight dudes too. Regardless, the cutouts in the top don't bother me too much but the pantyhose underneath booty shorts look, as my friend and RL editor Dan, said at the time, make her look like a pro-wrestler rather than a thief. He was right.
My unspoken story rationale is that Paige went through a bad breakup and wanted to change her look to give herself a boost of confidence. It's adorable that 2005 Tim thought he had idea what women want. (Spoiler: it was not 2005 Tim.)
Issue 1, page 22
Whew! That was a lot. Onto page 22.
More of Locke and Paige talking over each other in panel where Locke's head is too big and his body appears to have gone completely stiff aside from his pointing finger.
While I don't love Paige's new clothes I do like her new sassy facial expressions. She is NOT here for Locke's nonsense. Meanwhile, Locke thought he was staying a step ahead of Daniels and he emphatically was not. And poor Daniels is just trying to do his job and stubbled into this shit show of workplace immaturity. I'd like to say that this sort of childish behavior is over the top but any of you who have dated as an adult can probably agree with me that it is not. One thing I got right about the future and it had to be that.
In lighter news, I love these last three panels. It's a super-iconic Daniels shot and Paige gets right into the cartoon-y swing of the new RL since she's been away.
Issue 1, page 23
The big win of this page is 2005 Tim competently drew a car and people getting into a car. As I've mentioned this kind of mundane stuff is not in the rookie comic book artist's wheelhouse and in earlier arcs I would have found a way around drawing this. It's really needed to solidify the Office-style uncomfortable humor though and I'm glad I didn't cheat this.
Again, just in case you hadn't read Dinner and a Robbery, Locke lays it out for you in an excellent end-of-issue cliffhanger. Yep, once again, Third Wheel (Awwww you get the title now!) was written as a three-issue mini-series so I could pitch it to mainstream publishers and this marks the end of a standard-issue comic for page count. (It's normally 22 but I figured I could use one of the inside covers or something.)
NEXT TIME: Sleep over!