Phil’s original concept here had some continuity problems. The first draft called our hooded figure here “Brother Banner,” but the guy Byron and Syr’Nj confronted in Chapter 7 had been tagged as Brother Tom.

Brother Banner would’ve been posing as a soothsayer for his own ends, not really believing any of this crap but good at selling it and therefore at channeling the rubes. He would’ve been much more of a “brother” to Iwatani under the skin than Brother Tom is. A little of that idea survives in the establishing shots in panels 1 and 2, which show that Brother Tom has a bit more of a taste for having nice stuff than one would expect from a nihilist. (Works well with the capitalism on display in the previous few pages, too.)

But the cynical Banner didn’t really gel with the Chapter 7 scene. The madness-causing power Tom displayed there wouldn’t be a deal-breaker, maybe, but he also spoke a couple of predictions there that we fully intended to come true. And while cynical cult leaders manipulating the sheeple will never not be relevant, Brother Tom is scarier as a true believer. As I said to Phil then, “The notion that the guy who says the world will end any day now has actual precognitive powers is unnerving for reasons I don’t think I need to elaborate.”