Here’s where we get into the meat of the story, for me.  Or, at least, for the majorest take-away I needed here for my own ongoing story needs.  Walky’s overconfident.  He’s had a win or two and no defeats, and at least one of them was by the skin of his teeth, but he doesn’t know that, and so he’s starting to think he’s hot shit.  Rikk is a perfect counterpoint.  He just went through this arc.  He’s overcompensating for his own recent failures.  So it’s kind of like if you got to go back in time and yell at your dumb self.

Spontaneity vs. organization! Round one, FIGHT!
I didn’t do a survey or anything, but I got the sense that I was one of the most anal-retentive planners in the (shudder) “webcomics community” at the time. This was due to necessity as well as temperament: I was often feeding up-to-thirty-page scripts to multiple artists to make sure Fans kept on schedule despite its ambitious format and MTWTF frequency. My workflow’s loosened up since then, but “go in with a plan” is still a sacred tenet of mine.
Now, hey, let’s not overthink this contrast (har). David was no Walky– a complete non-planner wouldn’t even use story titles, let alone larger arc titles with the ominous cadence of “Rise and Fall.” We were actually on a pretty similar wavelength when it came to discussing everybody’s longer-term destiny.
But like most people working in the field, he wrote what he drew and drew what he wrote, which always gives you more freedom to feel things out as you go. I appreciate that he was willing to play this one more or less my way, and if we ever do anything together in the future, I’ll be happy to return the favor.