I like Helen’s gender-swapped character design enough that he could be a regular character, were I inclined to have a dude version of Helen wandering around all the time. The darkness of his goatee is not intended to suggest that Helen isn’t a natural blonde. A lot of people have darker facial hair than head hair. Also, I didn’t like the way the blonde goatee looked.
Mell’s fist in the first panel is all kinds of messed up.
I like that Mell is more bothered by this situation than Helen is. Helen just thinks it’s kind of neat.
I did a little more with gestures and body language in this storyline. It was important to project the idea that the characters remained the same people when transformed, and that meant focusing on their characteristic body language. The actual bodies are, of course, still drawn pretty crudely.
Yes, Mell has certain stereotypically masculine characteristics, in her own adorable way. One of the problems that immediately emerges when I try to write a gender-swap story is that I don’t think the innate differences between men and women are all that vast, so I don’t have much to work with. It’s not like I’m inclined to write a comic where guys turn into women and are suddenly seized with the urge to go shopping and dress up all pretty. (I am, on the other hand, inclined to write comics where guys go shopping and dress up all pretty on their own. You know me.)
Still, the testosterone rush seems like a reasonable issue to address. And it allows Helen to punch a big dent in the panel and hit himself in the ear. Sure, why not.
One of the employee bulletins in the first panel says “For Ellmann.” Another has a gerbil on it.
There’s a lot of pro wrestling stuff in this storyline, mainly because I was watching a lot of pro wrestling when I wrote it. Trish and Toshi at Viz used to tape the WWF shows and we’d watch them in the video screening room during lunch. Mick Foley was the commissioner and there were some pretty good storylines. Also, it was great whenever the Rock wore tiny pants and writhed around pretending to be hurt. Good times, good times.
Dave’s pose in the first panel is so ridiculously over the top. Like I said earlier, I was trying to draw more expressive body language in this storyline. Sometimes I just expressed too much. Also, the characters are strangely cramped in these panels; I needed to pull back a little.
Helen’s still got a pocket watch.
Ah, nothing beats ending on a cliffhanger. I eventually stopped trying to do end-of-the-week cliffhangers because a lot of readers miss the Saturday strip anyway. But this one’s great because the cliffhanger starts on Friday and continues through Saturday without advancing the plot. So nobody misses out!
And, yes, I worried about the magically changing haircuts.