I hope cat-Ellen is a welcome visual stand-in. People have been asking about the potential of a cat-girl Elliot a lot, and while that likely won't be addressed in this Q&A given that it's the sort of thing that's likely to come up in the story itself, I figured cat-girl Ellen would likely be a welcome sight.
I considered several different ways of addressing the clothing situation of Amanda and Lisa, and most of the solutions I could think of that had them go through the process of changing were tricky to stage, didn't lead well into any particular questions, and brought things to a grinding halt. Skipping ahead a bit made the most logical sense, but I couldn't do that without making a joke about it.
The various items on the table are there to help emphasize scale, and the time skip made it reasonable for things that weren't there last comic to be there now. I was going to have a simple cell phone instead of an iPhone (that's what the dark object is behind and to the left of Amanda in panel three), but it occurred to me that I might be able to do more with that, particularly given that all three are too small to make use the computer terminal. Well, Chika might; she's only half size in the last panel, but she's dwindling fast now.
Granted, I might not use the iPhone at all, but it's nice that they have access to a web browser should I think of a reason for them to use it.
Panel four is no doubt the most "what the crap?" part of this comic (which, now that I think of it, is saying something). It's basically my response to arguments against the convenience of transformation in EGS and any calls to make that aspect of it more gritty and realistic. Transformation itself in this comic is absurdly safe and convenient for a reason, and it's part of the fantasy and fun. The potential trouble comes from what happens after being transformed, not during.
I'm not saying a more "gritty" approach is wrong in general; I speak only of what is appropriate for this comic. The world is full of cynical, gritty and dark comics full of brooding, angst and doom, and while I'm sure many of those comics are good, one of my specific intentions for EGS is for it to not be one of those comics. I don't want it to be 100% light and fluffy with no conflict, but there are significant limits to how much angst I want it to have.