Panel 1: Emp’s profile shot isn’t quite working in this panel. The manga artists who influenced me in this very particular aspect of drawing tend towards a cartoony approach that looks almost like the muzzle of a canine—a subtle, hidden “furry” reference, perhaps? Ah, but Emp’s muzzle-like lower face in this shot is even wonkier than I normally drew back in 2006. Oh, well. Artistically speaking, you can’t win ’em all, kids. Like I’ve said before so many times, drawing Empowered is all about embracing imperfection, right? Gotta embrace it, maybe wince a little, and move on with my life. (Note, however, that sometimes this little mantra does ring a tad hollow for me, and I do in fact go back and redraw egregiously messed-up faces before publication.)
Panel 2: I should note that Emp’s spectacularly tight miniskirt, here, is indeed drawn from photoreference—but not, I should further note, from fashions likely to be worn casually. That is, I’m reasonably sure that the photoref in question is of marginally fetish-oriented origin and features, ah, notably curvy young women wearing extraordinarily tight microskirts made of latex or very, very thin leather. I do recall that one of the fellas behind the original “damsel in distress” sketch requests that spawned Empowered was extremely enthused about such skintight microskirts, which is where said photoref probably came from. Wait, I remember, now—I think he wanted a sketch of Supergirl in disguise, dressed as a Sexy Librarian for God alone knows what unlikely scenario, yet “laid low” by that pesky Kryptonite, dagnabbit! In fact, I recall that I gave poor, half-naked “Sexy Librarian Kara” the following, exasperated, proto-Emp thought balloon as she’s shoulder-candied away by J. Random Bad Guy: “How come this sort of thing never seems to happen to Kal-El?” (In fact, that sketch may well hatched the basic idea for this scene, though I can’t recall for certain.)
A broader question, never answered in this story: Where exactly did the “Sexy Librarian” outfit originate from? Did the SuperHomeys have this cosplay get-up in storage, ready to be deployed for just such a scenario? (Just as likely that Sistah Spooky could have magically created such clothing, or it was popped out of some cape-tech, Star Trek: TNG-style “replicator” as necessary.) Or did Emp just happen to have the halter top, skintight miniskirt, garter belt and stockings in her closet already, and rustled up this bit of cosplay on the fly? I have no idea, folks! Mysterious!