A while back I got into a conversation about the balloon project with a colleague of mine, the incredibly-talented Jane Irwin. (The Gilberts are especially fond of her story of Vogelein, the Clockwork Faerie, but be sure to check out her most recent work, too: “Clockwork Game Graphic Novel” .) Jane has been an extremely avid supporter of the project since its inception, and has looked for ways to contribute where she could. For example, since she owns a kayak, she has volunteered to be our official "Water Recovery Personnel" if there is actually a SPLASH-down rather than a TOUCH-down. However, it was her creative side that came through with this recent conversation.
We were talking about our stratonaut, Rainbow Dash, and I mentioned about having to anchor her to prevent her from flying away when the balloon is in the upper atmosphere. Jane started giggling and then got "that" look in her eye. I knew, after having worked with her for more than a few years, that a light bulb had just gone off. She announced she wanted to make Rainbow Dash her own own helmet and aviator goggles.
I laughed, but then had to ask if she was serious. She was. I then had to remind her that we might not actually get this balloon, or anything on board, back. I wouldn’t want her to spend a lot of time making this. Jane didn’t think it would take her a lot of time at all. She then – being the comic book artist that she is – sketched out what she had in mind. I had to admit it, I thought it would be cool.
I brought Rainbow Dash in the next day, and about a week and a half later Jane returned her, suited up.
Wow. Just – wow. Jane said the tuft of hair in front was completely accidental, but it really adds a nice flair to the overall look. As if your geek cred really needed the boost, Jane – I mean, seriously?
I brought "Aviator Dash" home, and showed her to the girls. Their reaction?