Before I started on the new series, I wanted to step back into the planning process to make everything feel new again. The new series doesn't directly start after the graphic novel, so it gave me some time to look at everything again through fresher eyes (that along with taken the time off after finishing it). While Tommy isn't necessarily changing things up much, I do want to preview one of the biggest differences my book had with other masked books, a changing outfit.
I just felt like Tommy needed to be flexible in his clothing items. Climate and weather would have to affect how he would dress. Also, there might be more times he needs to blend in a bit. I'm not going for realism in this choice. I just want to give the feeling it's not always necessary to be outfitted in work clothes, as well as, give me some variations to draw him in.
Now for other characters, most stay as they are. The Colonel had two costumes in the book. The last one I designed a long time ago (10+ years). Going with my promise to myself to present the book as I had developed it over the space of time, I kept the cumberbund around his waist. To be honest though, that addition didn't fit too well with my current sensibilities. So I've decided to alter the outfit a bit, without a belt design. When we catch up with the Colonel in the book, he's hitting some rough times, so the sketch reflects that. I mentioned in my Facebook posting that from his creation to the publication of the book, my opinion of the Colonel's temperment and attitude had changed. Call it aging or whatever, but there's a part of me in the Colonel that I had never envisioned when I came up with him and his place in the book.
A lifelong comics fan, Mike W. Belcher is the writer/artist of MAN IN THE MASK. A story he's had with him for over 20 years.