Like all great heroes, Scarlett Hart has a sidekick, though I’m sure Napoleon himself would eschew such a description (as well as use words like ‘eschew’). This faithful manservant of Scarlett’s father is now her guardian – an avuncular yet grave presence in her life, with a role that hovers somewhere between butler, bodyguard and big brother.
In early sketches, I saw Napoleon as a dismal figure, the kind of grim personage who appears — guttering candle in hand — in Hammer Horror films, when the lost lovers pull the bell-cord of ‘the old place in the woods’.
Checking in with Marcus though, it seemed he was writing the character much more warmly than that, and while ‘lugubrious’ and ‘aloof’ where keywords used, so was ‘loveable’. A little mental re-arranging suggested that a combination of Stephen Fry as Jeeves and John Steed from the New Avengers should fit the bill nicely.
With Marcus happy and Napoleon coming to life, I then had to tackle the thorny problem of drawing Napoleon’s hat. And specifically, drawing it so that it looked like it was really on his head. After Dorothy’s wheels, Napoleon’s homburg is set to be the second most difficult thing to draw in this book (unless Marcus has written a horse into the story and not told me yet).
Napoleon is smartly turned out, old fashioned, protective and dependable. But in keeping with the gothic nature of this project, he can still find a certain dark glee in the work of a monster hunter’s assistant.