After some unfortunate delays, Colonial Comics Volume One (now titled Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750) is readying for a September 2014 release, only six months behind the original schedule. There is still frantic work going on behind the scenes, but there’s enough material coming in now that I can start sharing some awesomeness pretty routinely. And what better way to start than with the cover?
Scott White and I met up at an Anita’s New Mexican restaurant (we were supposed to meet at BonChon Chicken but they were inexplicably closed at 11PM on a Sunday) sometime in mid-December to talk about the cover design. I had some ideas, Scott had some ideas, and combined we had way too many ideas.
I remember saying that I wanted this linear collage that showed England in the upper left corner, the Mayflower crossing, winter, livestock, wars and massacres…just everything. Basically a cover that told every story that was going to be in the book. And Scott was on board! We were going to have the busiest 8x8 cover ever created. And it probably would have been terrible.
It took Scott all of a day to inform me that we were going for too much and he pitched a cover that had the Mayflower landing with Native Americans looking on. The original design can be seen below:
I thought it looked great, but the Native Americans looked very threatening and that wasn’t the story we were trying to tell here. At all. So I asked him to lose the weapons and got:
Again, it looked great…but it didn’t tell a story. So I pitched something a bit crazy to Scott. I asked him to make the focus of the cover the land. This vast amount of empty land. Empty beach, empty forest, very few people. One Native American and one landing boat – all in the distance. Small and not the focal point. Make the story about how much LAND existed, so that the eventual story of English colonists completely taking this land, unable to share it, becomes so much more tragic.
This first volume, after all, is about the establishment of the American identity – the good, the bad, and the ugly. So Scott gave me this cover, and I knew we had our cover the minute I saw it.
And then he colored it:
And then we needed to title it. I went with 1790 Royal Printing Font in order to make it look like old copy. I also grabbed some pages from the Bay Psalm Book and copped some of the design elements. Designed a title I really wanted to use…
….but it didn’t fit with the cover. So I had to lose some elements to finally deliver…
…but I needed the title to be bigger. So here’s where we’re at right now and I think it’ll stay this way…the (hopefully) official cover to Colonial Comics: New England, 1620-1750: