Prince Thrale was originally more of a sniveling bureaucrat, a craven and obstructionist politician inspired by Neville Chamberlain. But as the mythic elements of my early drafts started to overshadow the politics, and I saw how large of a role Thrale would play, I needed a more powerful, more frightening enemy for Vish’s crew. Thrale went from Maresh’s sniveling toady to a bold (if insane) imperialist, a sort of Otto Von Bismark-meets-Jack the Ripper fiend. The resulting character also strengthens Ismene, who went from being a naive girl trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship to someone willing to sacrifice her own (supernaturally resilient) flesh to deflect the worst of the prince’s excesses.

I apologize for the–not quite spoilers, but the way these analyses of my own writing can peel away the illusion and expose creative work as the often banal, calculating, and even cynical process it can sometimes be. But if you like that sort of thing from people better than me, you can read the original Raiders of the Lost Ark story conference here.

As for this page’s art, it’s more of the same (anatomy okay, perspective still poor), though I’m unusually happy with Ismene’s “recovery” in the last panel. She actually seems keen and alert (and healed), which reflects what I wanted.