By addressing him as “Byron the Berserker” and various other cues, Syr’Nj draws a sharp, straight line between her role as commander and her role as Byron’s… confidante. It’s not just because Byron needs a firm hand right now, though he does. It’s also because, as E-Merl haltingly points out, the new folks joined Bandit’s Peacemakers, not Syr’Nj’s or Byron’s, and there needs to be no question about who’s in charge here.

The detailed concept of each new recruit comes from Phil, but the name and initial establishing dialogue comes from me. In this case, “E-Merl” is a nod to one of my old friends in comics, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey AKA E-Merl, whose experiments with digital comics continue to this day.

Naturally, the shortened name “Merlin” and the once-edgy internet-style prefix “e-” also fits the idea of a young magician who’s trying to reinvent an art that seems to be owned by an older, out-of-touch elite. That spoke to me as a webcomics artist, too.