Though this was my section overall, Phil did a lot of reworking of the Hijinks Ensue crew’s dialogue. It was hard for me to admit that his stuff was better there, because I tend to think of writing established characters as one of my strengths, and I’d written a lot of card-carrying-nerd pride in Fans. But Phil had more experience than I did in front of a camera, and his stage/screen/podcast persona was closer to the HE guys’, and he just followed them more closely than I did.

In fact, Hijinks Ensue reminds me a little of Phil’s own autobio strip from way back, The Hoojie Crew. They even sound alike, oddly enough. Only a few faint echoes of that earlier work remain online today, but I have fond memories of talking it over with Phil at a Philly eatery.

It’s funny how the subconscious works. I picked the name “Byron” because it seemed kinda nerdy to me in a 21st-century context and mashing that up with a Conan-the-Barbarian title struck me as funny. Like “Dwight D. Dwagonslayer” or “Melvin the Mauler,” but dialed down a couple notches. The idea of invoking the “Byronic hero” didn’t occur to me (or Phil, far as I know) until much later. It’s not an exact match, and I had to work to find Lord Byron quotes that suited our needs here, but I’d say the Byronic hero works as an aspect of our Byron.