Here we have Bill Finney, The Standard’s agent, who is of course equipped with rocket boots in order to keep up with his client.  This is the only time we see him flying around with the rocket boots, if there had been a good opportunity it might have been nice to have a call-back to it.  I always thought it was a fun idea, especially with how Jon draws him like he can barely control his flight.

Bill Finney has turned out to be a very popular character amongst Standard readers.  I’ve had several people tell me he’s their favourite character, and I must admit I’m rather fond of him myself.  I certainly kept on giving him more stuff to do as the story progressed far beyond what his original role may likely have been.  I think it was easy to find a voice for him, as – like me – he’s Glaswegian.  That caused some funny notes in the initial editing process, with editor Steve Forbes, unaware at the time that I was Scottish, giving me notes on how to write convincing Scottish dialect!

In terms of inspiration, Bill Finney is not, as some have guessed, an author surrogate.  I probably see more of myself in the goofy optimism of Gilbert Graham than in the quick-witted depravity of Bill.  No, Bill Finney was in fact based on Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle, right down to me originally sending Jon Rector pictures of Boyle when it came to designing Finney.  Though once we got into the actual comic Bill seemed to take on a more distinct appearance of his own.

Let’s also take a moment to appreciate that last panel.  In the script, this was one of the most demanding panels of the whole first issue.  Here, we see The Standard dropping our drug dealer into an assigned drop-off point, so we have to be close enough to be able to see this action – which as described would be perilously close to a moving panel, given how we have to see the baddie get dropped and him go into the tube – but also far enough out to establish exactly what he’s being dropped into.  The big arrow signs and the billboard in the background show that The Standard has various corporate-sponsored drop-off points throughout the city where he can conveniently drop off criminals while he’s on his regular patrols.  It’s a nice little detail that adds further nuance to The Standard’s world, and yet for all the effort that went into putting it onto the page – even the lettering on the billboard was tricky for Kel to pull off! – I’m guessing a lot of readers didn’t even notice it when the book was available in print.

Also, note that the corporation sponsoring the drop-off point is Zarthos Industries, the same company splashed across The Standard’s chest.  Where have we heard that name Zarthos before?  Hmmmm…..