My favourite moment in this page has to be those last two panels.  At this point, my goal was to suggest that there is more to Bill Finney than being one-note sleazeball comic relief, and that he perhaps has some humanity to him after all.  And Jon Rector just absolutely nails that in his execution of panel 5 here, from the framing of Finney in the panel to his body language.  Stellar work.

Continuing the series of world-building articles linked from, here’s a look at the passing of the torch from Gilbert Graham to Alex Thomas:

The Two Standards

It may have been Gilbert Graham’s intention to slip quietly away into peaceful retirement, without fuss or fanfare.  But as it happens, this was not to be the case.  Foreshadowing the love of publicity that he would later become known for, Alex Thomas – now established as the new Standard – spearheaded a campaign to have Sky City build a statue in honor of his predecessor.  Then he convinced the original Standard to show up at the ceremony unveiling the statue.  What followed was a historic moment, one to this day never repeated in public.  Two Standards – from past and present – stood side by side, in what became viewed as a changing of the guard.

Some might have questioned the cause of The Standard’s departure, or the legitimacy of his replacement, but with a shake of the hand, in the eyes of everyone the torch was officially passed on.  Then, one last time, Alex Thomas gave the stage over to Gilbert Graham, who gave this emotional parting speech to the assembled crowd of thousands in Sky City Memorial Park, and the millions watching on television all over the world:

Gosh, what a turn-out!  Thank you all for coming.  I’ve never been one for speeches, but I’ll try not to put you to sleep.  Nice statue, by the way.  I haven’t looked that good in over a decade!

You know, people say that I’m unstoppable, that my powers are limitless.  But while I’ll admit to being stronger and faster than a lot of people, and I’ll acknowledge that flying and firing energy beams from my fingertips is pretty cool… I’m still human.  Sometimes I lie awake at night and curse that meteorite for giving me all these powers, but not the cure to male pattern baldness!  Gee… getting old sucks.

But it’s not all bad.  With age comes experience, and you get to see the world change around you.  For me, I’ve had the privilege of watching a young man grow into a better hero than I’ll ever be.  And though I may be getting older and balder and tubbier by the day, I wouldn’t be giving up the mantle of The Standard unless I was sure… absolutely, positively sure… that it was being passed on to somebody who can not only maintain it, but take it to whole new lights.  Your new Standard will do you all proud, like he’s already done me proud.

As for me… well, while again I say the statue is nice, and the thought behind it is appreciated… you shouldn’t be thanking me.  I should be thanking you.  Thank you, all of you, for letting me serve you all these years.  It was truly an honor, a gift you’ve given me that’s more cherished than any parade or statue.  I’ve had the time of my life.  And now I get to kick my feet up and relax, safe in the knowledge that The Standard is watching over us.