Updated: Jul 30, 2021
SUPER-CRAZY NINJA ACTION! (That was the actual tagline for this book.)
I've been trying not to tie these commentaries too much to what's going on in my life at present so I can recycle them for them a Complete Reckless Life collection someday but we're gonna break that rule for this one.
It's been a long time since I made these comics. And then I got work in comics shortly after this book ended as a digital editor/producer for 2000AD and got to do all kinds of amazing things and meet all kinds of amazing people as a result. It's a time period I refer to as The Glory Days.
The funny thing is I didn't really see it that way at the time.
Anyways, all that the Tim that made these comics wanted was everything he didn't have and he didn't have a lot of appreciation for the cool things he was doing.
In retrospect, I appreciate what I was doing with this stuff a lot and I miss it. I got busy with other stuff and took my eye off the ball and all of a sudden ten years went by.
The point is, in the morning I'll be tabling my first comicon in over ten years. No, I don't have a new book yet but I will. Until then I'll be peddling the remainder of my Reckless Life stock just like the old days and I can't wait. It has me feeling extra nostalgic for these commentaries and it's good timing because Locke and the Las Vegas Ninjas isn't the BEST Reckless Life arc (some fans will disagree) but it is a fun one and I think the one where Reckless Life really decided what it's tone was.
Here's to the NEW Glory Days!
This is one my favorite Reckless Life covers. The design is tight if not a little lifted from the Marvel Ultimate comics coming out at the time.
The script does say Reckless Life. I'm pretty sure. I crowd-sourced the translation from a local anime con's message board in exchange for free comics. I've since had it verified that it's pretty close. Even if it's not it still looks cool.
It also introduces Locke's melee weapon; a bo staff. I knew there would be a lot of sword fighting in this book and Locke needed something to swing back with. Donatello is my favorite ninja turtle so I didn't think too hard about what his weapon of choice would be.
The story you're about to read is tonally very different from Dinner and a Robbery. (I think the title makes that fairly clear.) I really can't remember what inspired it. I think maybe I just wanted to write something fun after the bummer stuff I wrote right before this.
As is tradition, the whole creative team was fired at the end of the year. Sorry, 2003 Tim. You've been replaced by 2004 Tim. He's not THAT much better of a draftsman but his page layouts show a bit more imagination and he has a much better handle on what Reckless Life is at heart -- an action-comedy.
One change that stuck starting with this page is I added a soft blue cast to the grey tones. I thought it gave the art a slightly more sci-fi "future" feel and it really makes the reds pop.
As is ALSO tradition, a major arc starts with a cold open. It's not my favorite one but like the others, it leans into genre tropes to get you settled in and remind you what Reckless Life is about. You've seen this bit a hundred times before but that's kind of the point. 2004 Tim will subvert your expectations once they're set.
As I said, while the actual drawings in LVN aren't that much better than Dinner and a Robbery the page design is. I like how this book starts with a design element (the police tape) and does some nice things with the flashlights. (Why don't the cops turn the lights on? Simple. It looks cool.)
I'm pretty sure this is the last appearance of Detective Williamson which is too bad because I had a lot of other things to do with that character. (Maybe we'll pick that up again someday.) Either way, fear not, there is still a LOT of Reckless Life ahead.
I do like that the police tape design element carries through to this page. I'm pretty sure 2004 Tim knew that Locke was going to run through it like finish line tape when he put it on page one. Not bad, 2004 Tim.
You'll also notice that I ditched the unnecessary piping on Locke's cuffs but if you look even closer you can see it's still there I just filled it in black. I think it was a few pages before I decided to ditch that for real.
Not a ton happening on this page aside from a CRYSTAL CLEAR homage to the opening to Batman the Animated Series. (As if this whole book wasn't.)
This cold opening is pretty short but this is one of the shorter major RL arcs and I was getting better at story economy here so that's okay. Come back next week for the real start of this gonzo story. As for me, I'm up too late the night before a con.
NEXT WEEK: Straight to the ninjas.