I thought i should talk about how Ramsden will look, and share some design sketches.
I think the figure of the mountie with his scarlet tunic and his yellow stripey breeches and his "Montana Peak" hat is one of the most iconic and recognisable images in pop culture. It's a fantastic outfit... reminds me of Flash Gordon or something. If superheroes had existed back in the old west... or the old north in this case... they surely would have dressed that way.
Which is nice in that the outfit itself does a lot of the work for me... it's almost like a visual shorthand that, at a single glance, gives the reader some idea of what this character is all about.
On the other hand the trouble with uniforms is that they are all so... uniform. One mountie looks pretty much like every other mountie. How do i ensure that people know they are looking at Ramsden and not some other mountie?
I'm a huge fan of Mike Mignola and i read somewhere online that this is one of the reasons his Rasputin is bald and his Baba Yaga has one eye... to set them apart from other popular depictions of those characters and establish some sort of ownership over "his" versions. Now i don't know if that is true, but it seems like a smart idea to me, so i decided to do something similar with Ramsden.
Apparently the iconic uniform that most people are familiar with wasn't standardised until 1904 or thereabouts. Prior to that there were many different versions of the uniform, and there was a lot of variation and mixing and matching as official supplies were scarce and officers often incorporated whatever they could get their hands on.
Now this is a boon to me as it means i can tinker with Ramsden's uniform and still be reasonably historically accurate.
I won't be drawing the comic as i'm not much of an artist, but i can draw enough to give you a basic idea of what i settled on...
It looks pretty close to the uniform we all expect to see a mountie wearing.
One or two important differences tho.
I think the main thing is i wanted to ditch the "winged" breeches... they are a total bitch for artists to draw and they look silly. I replaced them with tighter trousers similar to those worn by the US cavalry. Apparently the NWMP often traded clothes and supplies with the US cavalry so this makes sense to me... also most of the old photos i see of mounties from the late 1890s show them wearing this sort of thing.
Same with the boots. I switched those for the sort of shorter and looser-fitting riding boots i saw a lot when i was researching.
I wanted the tunic to look looser and bulkier than was common for the time. I think this style of tunic was introduced a few years later than the story is set but i'm allowing a bit of artistic license here because i like how it looks.
I swapped the big gauntlet style gloves for smaller leather gloves... he won't be on horseback much so the gauntlets aren't necessary.
I gave him a big overcoat to wear over his uniform... collar turned up naturally. It has always been pretty common for mounties to wear pea coats in colder weather but again i wanted something longer and looser and much more bulky. I made the coat and trousers a dark charcoal rather than the traditonal midnight blue because i wanted to give the character a more muted look when his coat is closed. I want it to be like Superman ripping his shirt open to reveal the "S" on his costume... when that coat opens and you see that flash of red you know shit is about to go down.
And finally i gave him some snow goggles for maximum pulpiness.
I think i managed to make him look distinctive enough that you can tell him apart from most other mounties... and i quite like the goggles and coat combo... so i'm reasonably happy.