Panel 1: This flashback’s caption comes perilously close to establishing Present-Day Emp’s age, as this younger version of Emp is theoretically somewhere in the age 9 to 10 range. My assumption has long been that Emp found her supersuit a year or two after graduating college and has been “superheroing” for roughly 6 to 10 months by this early point in Empowered, so her age should be roughly 24 or so—making this caption potentially a bit inaccurate. Oh, well.
A bigger deal, really, is the series’ first mention of our heroine’s real name—or her real last name, at least. “Powers” might seem a bit “on the nose” for a superheroine’s civilian name, I admit, but what the hell. I’m told that Lynda Carter’s principal from Disney’s superhero-school movie Sky High has “Powers” for a last name as well, but I can assure you that this was not something I had in mind when I worked on this story. What I can’t recall clearly—or even vaguely, for that matter—is whether or not I had decided on Emp’s full name as yet. I don’t quite think so, as I believe I was still contemplating “Emily” as her first name right up until her full name’s revelation at the end of Empowered vol. 3.
Panel 2: That is quite the over-the-top “saliva string” descending from Emp’s mouth to the desktop, isn’t it? Not sure why I didn’t go with something a bit less extreme, unless I was worried about how well a more delicate strand would reproduce in the final version.
Vocabulary side note: In the previous paragraph, part of its first sentence originally used the term “depending from Emp’s mouth” instead of “descending from Emp’s mouth,” but I thought that usage seemed a tad abstruse. Looked up “depend” in my laptop’s dictionary, and it referred to that verb form as “archaic or literary,” which was a bit startling. I know that I stopped reading “depend”—meaning “hang down”—as a commonly used term quite some time ago, but to see it labeled “archaic” seems somewhat excessive.
Due to the extreme difficulty of puzzling out the complex relational perspective inherent to a classroom scene’s desks and chairs, I appreciate 2006 Me’s canny choice to not have any desks visible beyond Emp. For the record, though, I should note that I did in fact work up a perspective grid for the panel, as you can see that the window panels in the background use the same (far off-page) vanishing points as Emp’s desktop and book. (So there.)