A new story arc! One of my personal favorites.
Welcome to the next major Reckless Life arc, Dinner and a Robbery. I have a well documented guilty-pleasure thing with romcoms and this story is my tribute to the genre.
As you can see, between Hit Me Baby One More Time and D&R I fired the artist. This is clearly NOT the same guy because the art is WAY better. Yes, 2003 Tim, enjoy your tenure on Reckless Life because I'm going to fire you next year too. Still, this sequence is 1000 times better than the best pages in Mad at the World and I consider this the real beginning of Reckless Life. The stories before it are absolutely cannon and there's stuff I can enjoy in retrospect but this is where things start getting GOOD. I hope you like it too!
QUICK DISCLAIMER - this story has a lot of gender and relationship humor in it and it was written by a less evolved version of myself. I find a few of the jokes kinda cringy now. Your mileage may vary but I apologize in advance for any misogynistic humor. Please know that I'm a little more mature now.
On with the show!
As much as I prefer the later stories in Reckless Life the first two overs are still the best. I can't decide which one I like better, this one or Mad at the World. They were both inspired by equal parts Ultimate Marvel covers and Cowboy Bebop, both of which I was VERY into around this time.
Right off the bat, you can feel my influences shifting. Whereas Mad at the Wolrd started with a kind of Looney Tunes jailbreak this page sets a more cinematic mood right away with how I presented the credits. Locke's gadgets are also a lot more fun and inventive than they were. The layout is MUCH more creative and the action has some movement to it. Don't worry - I'll start pointing out mistakes in a second but looking back at this first page versus what's come before it's clear I'd been practicing over the summer. (I always took summers off from publishing.)
One thing I did do the same is the "you don't see Indy right away" gag I had in Mad at the World and these cold opens are absolutely inspired by that most iconic of scenes. I think every movie should start that way.
See? That drawing of Locke is better than anything we've seen so far and it's not close. That harness actually looks like it has weight as it comes off and he has what will become his signature smirk.
So the "Special Moments figurine" is obviously one of those goofy Precious Moments figurines. Did your grandma have a bunch of those? Mine did. I actually struggled with the McGuffin in this story for a while. Originally it was going to be a lego Green Goblin (with glider) for reasons I absolutely cannot recall. Terry Haller was absolutely NOT having that for reasons I also can't recall but he was right. This jives much more with the chia pet from Pop Art and it has a much better payoff on something that happens much later in the story.
I'm pretty sure I lifted this "glove through the lasers" bit from some TV show or movie but I can't remember which. Either way the use of the red tones is improving here too.
Proving that 2003 Tim is not, in fact, perfect it appears that Locke's legs are about 9 feet long in panel 4 and his left arm appears to broken in panel 8. I'd get that checked out Locke. The old lady isn't exactly inspired either but I was definitely lazy about my extras back in the day.
Speaking of lazy, 2003 Tim clearly only wanted to draw that figurine once and then just photoshop it in all of the place. It's not TOO bad but it's pretty obvious.
Again, compared to the stories you just read this page is hot. The layout, action, lettering, and perspective are all miles past Mad at the World. I promise all of the commentaries on this one won't be me just praising my past self but I DO love this story and I might a little.
The motorcycle is again a 2000-something Buell lighting. Buell is back and once again making beautiful bikes!
NEXT WEEK: A brief interlude and then jokes about those sorts of sites that are for grown-ups.
POST CREDIT SERENE!
Since writing this post my facebook has been getting bombed with this:
The things I do for you, dear readers!