I gave my friend Steve Foster a toy orang-utan in a top hat and opera cape who used to sit by his telephone. My Mum made the opera cape. Steve called him Zak. Zak had a good innings, but when Steve got married a few years later it was time to put away nerdish things. I hope Zak found a good home, but I doubt if he’s nowadays so nattily dressed.
The orang-utan in fancy clothing came about because we had both been tickled by the corny movie version of Murders in the Rue Morgue, particularly the notion of the killer leaving a strikingly clear outline, including flowing opera cape, after jumping through a pane of glass. Wanting to give Jack a “friendly adversary” to balance his not-always-trustworthy mentor, Gus, I switched Zak to the other side of the law and gave him a more distinguished name. So was born Inspector Primo Simeon of the Sûreté.
Somewhere along the way , Simeon lost Zak’s elegant sartorial sense and acquired more of an honest, almost bohemian, style with crumpled coat and floppy painter’s hat. (And quite right too – snappy dressing is for bad guys.)
I put my own drawing up here to avoid showing too much of Leo’s and Nikos’s material before you actually get to see it in the context of the story. (Update: May 2013 - here is the finished panel.) I don’t know why my McNab always has that Snipcock-and-Tweed thing going on – it makes him look far cuddlier than he really is.
The chap on the far right appears in the very next episode (#13: "Smoke and Mirrors"). But more on him another time.
Next stop: Reading Comic-Con! - I've enjoyed travelling up and down the country this year (plus a visit to Northern Ireland) as a guest of various comics conventions. This weekend it's m...