And so, the last major piece gets placed into position on the chessboard. Since we saw the ad for gunslinger clothes back in Chapter 2 (where Rich Jack’s name is slightly obscured), it’s been nothing but references and suppositions without actually seeing whoRich JackLangstrom is. So much of what defines a person in the world of this comic is reputation––what is said about you is infinitely more important than what you actually do––that I wanted the reveal of the ominous “Rich Jack” as just a dude to hit with a bit of irony. So, the long game became important.

Similar to how Long John confronted his reputation back in chapter 1 (and since), now that the camera is on Rich Jack do we actually get to learn who he is. Spoiler: he’s not a good person.

Despite not debuting until late in the story, he’s a character whose design I had been considering for a long time (as was the case with many characters). Using the classic silhouette theory of character design, I wanted him to be as striking as Long John but structurally opposite from him as well. With Long John being such a slab of a human being, I initially leaned hard into Rich Jack having the proportions of a lanky spider. While I liked the design and how it captured his personality, I felt it was a bit too extreme; it didn’t scream “maniacal self-absorbed leader” enough to me.

The very first design attempt of Rich Jack from 2012.

Sundry versions litter the sketchbooks between then and when I took a for-real crack at him again with a design that ended up being pretty close to the final. I decided to not worry about body shape for this redesign because I realized normal proportions are the actual contrast to Long John’s cartoonish bulk. However, the things that could make him stand out could also be the same things that make Long John stand out––a unique hair shape, posture, and a few key details in the costuming.

The costume itself is not changed too much, it’s more about proportions, attitude…and a defined hair shape. From 2016.

The design became finalized a few years later where, basically, all I did was simplify some of the elements (removing the pin stripes from the pants, mostly) and exaggerate some others. Luckily, I had the luxury of time to design this character––one that continues to settle as the chapter moves forward––and ended with the most important aspect needed for any character design: he’s fun to draw.

I liked this concept art so much that I used it as the basis for panel 1 of this page. From 2018.