I did not expect Taro to be a recurring villain. Our original 24-chapter outline didn’t even mention him, and he grew entirely out of our asking, “How can we make rescuing these kids harder?” and our general ideas about white-collar greedheads being bigger threats than traditional “yo ho ho pirates yarrr.” Like von Carnaj, he was designed as a mid-level challenge that’d give the heroes something to worry about for a chapter or two but be forgotten by the time we got to the fights with the real Big Bads, Harky and HR.

But we always tried to make all our characters interesting, and the idea of the brilliant child, almost but not quite as smart as he thinks he is, kind of echoes the themes we were exploring with Best. Plus, we’d already named him and his father after the creator of the video game where one guy eats everything. So as the story expanded, the idea of “Taro Rex” began taking root.