First off, a correction for a previous post on this topic. Below is one of the alternate covers that was presented of Hastings bailing out onto the train. Wolf and I discarded it, not because it’s bad or anything, but just because it wasn’t sufficiently dramatic. It is good work, though!
Now, back on topic. We already agreed upon a format, and the next revision Marc sent to us is below:
Good stuff, but the main character seems a bit out of scale, and unless the Chinook is drifting sideways, he’s kind of away from where he should be. Another guy was added, blasting away at the dead. But Wolf’s major problem with this: the stars on Old Glory aren’t right. But as you may remember from this earlier iteration, it’s generally all sorts of good.
Marc’s latest revision…
…has a different sky, a modified aspect, more guys, guns, and zombies–and oh yeah, Hastings actually kicking the head off a zombie. That was an unexpected surprise, and if he can get enough brackish gore in there, it’ll be perfect! Flag modified, our crew chief is whipping out the pistol, and some neat-o spark effects thrown in for good measure. Wolf approves, and so do I, so this is the launching pad for the final.
Now…if only I could deliver my pages so Mr. Wolf can start his slice…😀
First hack at the cover for the upcoming The Retreat 4: Alamo by none other than the luminaire of all things graphic, Jeroen ten Berge! This is just the initial pass, and it’s still awaiting comments from Craig and Joe, but it’s looking pretty hot to me!
And for fun, a little 3D popper as well, even though this won’t be released in print as a standalone:
Can’t really go into the details of the plot as of yet as this is Craig’s secret to reveal, but the battered and bloodied battalion finds itself in yet another tight spot!
Just a quick ditty to provide some incubating eye candy for the next installment of the These Dead Lands series. For those of you who read These Dead Lands: Immolation, then you know that the lightfighters basically split into two groups: Captain Hastings left with the rest of the active duty troops to blaze a path to Fort Bragg, while SFC Ballantine, Guerra, Hoffman, Reader, Tharinger, and some dude named Stilley boarded a train with the dependents and the remnants of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard to roll hot to Fort Carson. Keeping with the last hook as the theme for the cover, Wolf and I went to Marc Lee once again with the following elements: give us a battle train blasting through the dead.
Kind of cool, but there are no Little Birds in the picture as of yet (though they are coming, I’ll hasten to add–I would be remiss for not bringing the Night Stalkers of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment into the zombie apocalypse), and visually, it just didn’t have the same pop as the first cover did.
This one had more tension to it, but again, it’s not exactly a frantic as we’d like it to be. We were beginning to realize that an element such as a train, which is generally really long on the horizontal axis, wasn’t going to work for a book cover, which is a more vertical medium. We just didn’t think we’d be able to capture everything we wanted in a way that would be as powerful as the first book’s cover art was. I mean, the above work was very close to being bang-on from my perspective, but once title graphics were laid in, they’d obscure several elements and water down the impact.
Wolf felt even more strongly that a change in direction was required, and he wanted something that more directly referenced the title–like we’re all alone in this shit, and the world’s going to hell. He was always interested in a theme with a single soldier taking on the horde; in his mind, it would be a kind of parable to Hastings’s emotional destruction over losing his family. Focusing on that–and on the fact that Chinooks rarely appear in book covers–the next design is the one we decided to go with:
Still a bunch of work to be done here, but it kind of fits the bill. Marc will be doing the requisite body-and-fender work to bring it into shape, but if nothing else, you can hardly say it’s static and boring.
For those who might be interested, I’ve placed The Gathering Dead for sale at 99¢. Tell all your friends! The link is: http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Dead-Zombie-Apocalypse-Novel-ebook/dp/B004SYAY2S
In related news, I continue to work on These Dead Lands: Desolation, before turning the remainder of the product over to the erstwhile Scott Wolf for his tender ministrations. Additionally, The Last Town #5 is in the pipeline, as well. After that, I imagine I’ll be diving head-first into The Retreat 5, for which I do not yet have an episode title. I have read the first one-third of Craig DiLouie’s first draft, and it’s bangin’–the Klowns are moving up the social ladder now, with disastrous results for the battalion. Despite all the gore, all the guns, all the mayhem, it promises to be good, clean fun.
That is all! (For now.)
New Year’s celebrations can come a bit early, Joe McKinney’s addition to The Retreat series is out and about! Join the adventure today!