Title and Cover Design for Neil Gaiman’s AMERICAN GODS

On February 3rd of this year I received an email from Tom Egner, the art director for Avon Books, a division of Harper Collins publishing. He wrote:

“I’m interested in having you hand letter four Neil Gaiman book titles . The illustrations are being done by the very well known Bob McGinnis.  Neil would like the lettering to have the vintage feel of pulp covers to complement the retro look of the art. I’m hoping that you are interested in creating the lettering.”

I was familiar with and loved the work of legendary cover artist Robert McGinnis, probably most famous for his James Bond paintings, but didn’t know that he was still alive and working. Mr. Egner and I spoke on the phone about the project, which I was happy to agree to, and I also corresponded with Neil about it. Neil wrote:

“What I’d love is if you can design the whole cover in each case, so all the lettering is of a piece, including the tag lines. The brief is, it’s 1966 and these are cult underground bestsellers, and you are selling them to the curious, I guess.”

I thanked Neil for asking that I get involved, and I told both Neil and Tom that I was amazed and excitied to be working with new art by McGinnis, and that I would pore over sixties paperbacks with and without McGinnis covers and see what I could come up with. At the Harper-Collins end, the project was transferred to Gail Dubov, and I worked with her thereafter, but always showing things to Neil first to get his feedback. You can read about how the project came to be in this BLOG POST FROM NEIL.

AmGodsLogo002Here are the first two title ideas sketched in pencil. The top one is more free-form and typical of many 1950s to 1970s genre paperbacks (crime, thriller, science fiction and so on). The second works around a medieval black-letter style for GODS, something you might have seen on 1970s fantasy paperbacks. Continue reading

Incoming: NEW ROMANCER

NewRomancer031

Image © Peter Milligan & Brett Parson.

Another recent Vertigo series I enjoyed lettering. It’s been decades since I worked with writer Peter Milligan (on SHADE, THE CHANGING MAN), and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he did a fine job with this romantic comedy. Lord Byron brought back from the past to be a draw for an online dating service? Fun idea. Not to mention the complications of other famous lovers like Mata Hari and Casanova, and more modern schemers, all out to ruin the unlikely pairing of programmer Lexy Ryan and Byron himself. Should be out soon, and complete in this collection.

And Then I Read: WONDER WOMAN #1

WW1Image © DC Comics.

The beginning of an interesting new approach, in this comic. Not only new for the character, but a new storytelling device. This issue follows Wonder Woman of today, continuing from the Rebirth one-shot. Next issue will be about Wonder Woman’s first year in man’s world. Both stories will continue in alternate issues.

Here’ Diana is in the African jungle on a mission that gradually becomes clear. She’s searching for someone that she thinks can help her with a serious problem. Someone who doesn’t want to be found, and sends fierce beasts and warriors to stop Diana. Meanwhile, a new version of Etta is working a communications command in touch with Steve Trevor, also in Africa on a secret mission. Both of them are wondering what Wonder Woman is doing in the same arena, but they have no answers. Neither has talked to her in a while.

Good set up, lots of action. The writing by Greg Rucka has me wanting more. The art by Liam Sharp is rich and delicious. Waiting to see what the other story line is like, but so far I’m on board.

Recommended.

Incoming: THE ILLEGALISTS and LUCIFER

LuciferVol1TPImage © DC Comics.

Another new Vertigo series that I’m enjoying lettering. I think writer Holly Black is doing a fine job, and I love the art of Lee Garbett. Don’t know if it’s anything like the TV show, haven’t seen it, but likely it’s not. Very much carrying on from the characters as Neil Gaiman and Mike Carey handled them.

IllegalistsHCHere’s a new hardcover, a fantastic project I’ve been working on the last few years, whenever Stefan Vogel could afford to produce more of it. The story of the Bonnot Gang in early 20th century Paris. Working folks lashing out at unfair laws, police brutality and poverty by becoming the Paris version of the Bonnie and Clyde gang…sort of. It’s an exciting and well-told story based on true events. I’m not sure if you can get the English language version if you didn’t back the Kickstarter, but there’s a Facebook page where you might ask. There will be a French language version next year. And if you watch my eBay auctions…