The uncooperative ghost here still gets a big laugh out of me. As a way for the dead to insult the living, “breather” is a pretty great slur, and panel 2’s photobombing has to be one of the top three Guilded Age bird-flips.

I feel like there might be some modern relevance to Gravedust’s determined belief in the variety of the Cultists. Seems like a lot of my friends, in 2016, shifted their beliefs from “Americans are pretty great and super socially progressive except for a few forgettable losers” to “Americans are just horrible people, human machine guns firing forever at their own poor, minorities, and women” with almost no interstitial stages in between. As if the president (Obama or Trump) were a living metonym for millions of voters. As if understanding him were the same as understanding every one of them. Life’s more complicated than that, people are more complicated than that, and there’s a long, long history of all sorts of motives leading people into despicable movements. Plenty of them do go full Kool-Aid, but then there are the Ashoks. And a further spectrum beyond those two points.

(Update: I wrote this commentary some days back, but it’s ended up being quite relevant to the latest Shakespeare’s Trump scene, available now. It deals with another character who’s not as radical as his fellows and who pays a price for it.)

We had no plans to bring back Ashok when he met his life’s end. We knew some version of this scene would take place, we knew Gravedust would be among those investigating, but I don’t think we put those puzzle pieces together until it was time to outline this chapter.