First Ever Mike: Bookseller comic
You can barely make it out on the back of the original comic, but this was drawn on the opposite side of a bestseller paper fished out of the waste bin at good old cash/wrap 2 in the Westgate mall (Westgate RIP) in late March 2001.

Opening shifts at the back cash registers was always mind numbingly boring. There were only so many books you could sneak back there without the manager noticing. I started to grab old daily schedules and papers from the garbage and doodle on them while waiting for the hours to tick by.

 I was sixteen when I drew this comic. That was a long time ago. I didn't really realize then that this little comic would catch on and that there'd be hundreds more added to this first strip.

I'm really happy with where I've taken my cartooning compared to what I started with here. I stopped using the "Garfield" eyes, found a permanent design for Mike's little cow-lick hair piece, and found out how to draw different noses than just a big ball on the front of someone's face.

 Gosh, look how dated the references are. Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears? What in the world is "5ive?" I think there's a Hansen joke in there too. Geez. It didn't take long for me to drop all the extra jokes and words in the comics. It made it too busy. Focusing on the gag proper helped streamline everything.

 Thank you all so much!