Panels 1 and 2: Why, between Thugboy and Frank, here, it’s a squared-off thick-finger-palooza! I’d call them “sausage-fingered,” save for the technicality that the ends of sausages generally aren’t right-angled with such a boxy, Kirbyesque flair. Could either fella pick up a dime or a needle off the floor, I wonder? Well, probably not.
One odd detail of the way I draw fingers—or fingernails, more specifically—jumps out at me in panel 2. On Thugboy’s fingernails, note that I always, always draw two curved lines to indicate the nail’s lunula—“the whitish crescent-shaped base of the visible nail,” per Wikipedia—and free distal edge—“the anterior margin of the nail plate corresponding to the abrasive or cutting edge of the nail”. Even when fingernails are viewed from a fair distance, I nonetheless doggedly slap in this teeny, barely perceptible detail almost without fail. Not quite sure why this is the case, other than the obvious explanation that it’s a familiar habit I fell into decades ago. Even now, when I try to draw more simplified fingernails that leave out these admittedly exaggerated lines, I still feel like the drawing is incomplete.
Panel 3: Behold, the first appearance of many in Empowered for one of my very favorite foods on earth, the humble but delicious potsticker. (They've even wound up as honest-to-God major plot points in later stories, believe it or not.) Why, I should probably think about panfrying up a dozen of 'em for dinner tonight. Pan-fried or just boiled, they’re still wonderful! Oddly, in my remote neck of the New England woods, several local Chinese restaurants serve an variation of this dumpling as “Peking ravioli,” with easily twice the mass of a conventional potsticker and a strikingly thick, doughy wrapping. Not bad, really, but not something I’ve encountered elsewhere in the country in my years of voracious potsticker consumption.
I should probably note that Frank’s lines in panel 3 are a direct quote from a friend of mine who was, shall we say, experiencing severe and protracted relationship issues around this time. We were, by coincidence, having dinner at a Chinese restaurant when he muttered those two sentences, to which I immediately answered, “Hey, that’s pretty good. Can I use that in a story?” (For the record, most writers—including myself, most of the time—usually don’t ask permission when we’re thieving bon mots from real-life conversations for future dialogue.) Some might view the statement a tad less charitably but, ehh, I’ve heard considerably harsher rhetoric from men and women in similar situations. Good times!