A rather wonky close-up of Emp, here, but with a sinister—if not deranged!—air that is indeed highly appropriate for a certain moment in the upcoming story. Might be hard to tell, but Emp’s slightly unusual nose and facial structure in this portrait are a reference to the work of mangaka Kenichi Sonoda (Gunsmith Cats). Back when I wrote and drew the (long-outta-print) Dark Horse miniseries Bubblegum Crisis: Grand Mal, I referenced many, many shots of BGC’s heroines directly from Sonoda’s character designs for the anime, so a number of his design riffs will forever lurk in the back of my mind.
BTW, the “long-outta-print” bit about Bubblegum Crisis: Grand Mal once again points up the dangers of working entirely on work-for-hire comics projects; believe me, if I somehow had ownership in any of my old comics, I’d be reprinting the hell out of ‘em! In fact, back when I did Grand Mal, I met Sonoda at an anime con (back when I attended such shows) and he told me that I should be working on creator-owned projects. Too bad it took me another 20 g-d years to finally wise up and follow his sage advice.