September 4, 2008
I’m in love with John Meyers’ cover for The Order of Odd-Fish. First-time novelists generally don’t have any control over cover design, so imagine my relief when I got an artist who not only has compelling visual flair, but also understands the Odd-Fish spirit so well. I’m discovering from online reviews that many people are picking up the book purely because of its beautiful design!
But there’s more to the story: I was fortunate enough to have not just one fantastic cover, but two.
The other cover was done by fellow Chicagoan and all-around mensch Paul Hornschemeier. I first met Paul in 2004, when the Chicago Reader assigned him to do the illustration for my short story “The Lam of Hal Hamburger” for their annual fiction issue:
I already knew about Paul from his knockout graphic novel Mother, Come Home, so it was a treat to meet him, and we soon became friends. When the time came to design the cover of The Order of Odd-Fish, I enthusiastically nominated Paul for the job.
I was blown away when I saw the result. I remember the moment vividly: Dark Yellow and I were driving to Hot Doug’s (an establishment that proves, yet again, Chicago remains a “dazzling citadel of the frankfurter triumphant”) when we picked up Paul, who had brought along a printout of the cover (the title was to have been in the center picture):
Ohhh! The creepiness of his Belgian Prankster! The cool toughness of his Jo! The suave urbanity of his Ken Kiang! (Of course Ken Kiang has a John Waters mustache.) And all the little details, too: Sefino’s little glass of port, Aunt Lily’s flinty look, the Schwenk, the other pictures bleeding off the edges, even the wallpaper — just superb.
I would’ve been overjoyed with either Paul’s cover or John Meyers’ cover. Delacorte made the final decision, but really, it was win-win for me. Paul has his account of the experience here. You should also check out his most recent full-length graphic novel, The Three Paradoxes, as well as his collection Let Us Be Perfectly Clear. Too much talent for one man!