Oddly enough, this sequence, featuring Emp's painful recounting of her father's death, represents arguably my favorite moment in the early volumes of Empowered. One of the main reasons I’ve bothered continuing this series has been the chance it gives me to write scenes with strong emotional charges like this, even though writing such raw, nakedly expressive material without the protective shield of irony actually makes my skin crawl. Discomfort aside, the results of such blatant, unabashed emotional manipulation are often the scenes I'm proudest of from all my work in comics.
Though I did happen to write this story shortly after my own father had died, Emp's story is based much more closely on the very untimely death of a friend's dad. The friend in question doesn’t read my comics work, so he’s wholly oblivious to the reference, thankfully. Ah, but as I’ve said before, writers will happily and ruthlessly strip-mine their own meager experiences—or other’s experiences—for use in their work, and I’m no exception to the rule. Also, I should admit that Emp's relationship with her father was considerably more warm and fuzzy than my own equivalent—but then again, Emp herself is considerably more warm and fuzzy than myself in pretty much every imaginable way.
That, really, is what makes writing enjoyable for me as attempting, howeve feebly, to model the thought processes and behaviors of characters at least marginally unlike myself is far more interesting than the concept of “writing myself into a story.” Because even I get bored with me, the trope of the direct author avatar—or author surrogate, or author identification character—rarely has all that much appeal for me, though I’m amused to occasionally see readers attempting to suss out such tendencies. (Random example: I recall someone speculating that I made Thugboy half-Japanese to reflect my own identity as a “half-manga” artist or the like. Uh, nope.)