Yes, I admit it, I’ve been setting up the encounter between Sarah and Helga ever since Episode 18. Though that bit about the ‘Oa Ki Coral’ was tricky. (You try searching through all of the online Samoan-, Fijian-, Tahitian-, and Hawaiian-English dictionaries to find some plausible homonym for ‘OK Coral’) In my defense, I offer the principle of Checkov’s Gun, proposed by Anton Checkov (the Russian playwright [1860-1904], not the weapons officer aboard the starship Enterprise) more than a century ago.
“One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” [Checkov, 1889]
From this, one immediately obtains Gazis’s Corollary to Checkov’s Law:
“One must not introduce two strong female characters into a drama if there is not going to be a catfight.”
This meant I had to bite the bullet (a rifle bullet?), decide what the two principals in this drama looked like — something I’d been putting off ever since Episodes 24 and 27) — and sit down to draw them. This raised all manner of additional questions, such as ”Where should their confrontation take place?”, ”What combat forms should they use?”, and finally… What should they wear?. Readers’ suggestions ranged from traditional (women’s Royal Navy uniform), practical (shapeless overalls), and implausible (flapper garb and a silk Chinese dress), to alarming (string bikinis). The fourth alternative had many advocates, but after weighing the arguments for and against it (beer vs death threats, depending on the gender of the proponent), I decided this would be just asking for trouble…
What happens next? Will Sarah and Iverson manage to get together? And to what new project will Helga devote her very considerable energy now? Stay tuned and some of your questions may be answered!