This character was created as a companion to STARSHIP CAPTAIN STORMALONG. Stormalong is a space pirate, with his own ship, and therefor he needs a crew. So I figured I’d update another American folk hero to be Stormalong’s First Mate, and I decided to go with John Henry. So, much like with the first image, I went to Keith Howell and told him to draw a “sci-fi version” of John Henry. The only requirement I gave him was to give John Henry and afro. I just think it’s kind of funny to have this futuristic character with this retro hair style.

But, y’know, various fashion styles have been known to come back in style after a long period. So whose to say afros won’t come back in a few thousand years?

I love what Keith did here, especially with such little input from me. Little details like giving John the same insignia on his uniform as Stormalong’s, yet making John’s costume white instead of black, helps establish that they’re on the same crew, but at different ranks.

I never got around to creating characters would be the rest of Stormalong’s crew, and getting Keith to draw them. I briefly thought of filling the rest of the crew with sci-fi version of the other American folk heroes, but instead decided that I’d make them all be aliens from different species. I was thinking of a big fat green alien with an antennae on his head, who would be the ship’s cook. But I’ve yet to get back to working on it.