The original plan for this chapter was to stay with HR’s previous scene to the end, and perhaps we would’ve witnessed the revival of Gravedust and the others through his eyes before coming back to Arkerra at the start of Chapter 10.

This was an improvement, and it feels like Phil’s sense of pacing that got us here. As we would learn, it is challenging to wring too much drama out of a guy staring at a screen and murmuring, “Y IT BORKEN?” so HR’s appearances would be fairly brief until he started really losing his grip.

This would be the penultimate “arguable end of Act I” for the series. It depends on what you consider the important characters, really. HR is clearly more important to the finale than the second wave of Peacemakers will be. But I still think we aren’t quite out of the “introductory” phase yet; I’ll argue why not in a couple more chapters.

As we were finishing this up, Phil hit me with an idea for a Pokemon parody/alien invasion story, tentatively called “Battleslave Fightmonsters Go!”, for maybe a year after Guilded Age was finished. I guess that’d be a couple months from now. Phil and I have clearly changed a lot since then, and our interests have shifted… I’m still happy doing mostly non-comics stuff outside these annotations, for now. But I should ask him about it.