David Herman

Graphic designer, editor, photographer in Brooklyn

52

5

Superman: Miracle Monday

UPDATE: Final covers, Dec. 20

My three last cover updates will be my final covers. If I had to pick one as my "final" final, it would be the first one below, the one that's specific to this book.

Here are the three designs again:

Cover 1: a cover that's unique to this novel

Cover 2: a cover that could be part of a series

Cover 3: a cover that could be unique OR in a series

UPDATES: DEC 14

Cover 1: unique to this novel

I made just a minor change to this cover -- repositioning the glasses for greater impact.

Cover 2: revisions to cover as part of series

Based on comments below, I took another look at this cover. I cut down on images and colors on the cover, removing distractions and creating a better flow on the cover (the statue's eyes, to Superman, then down his red trail to the red title).

Cover 3: a new cover that would be part of a series

I also wanted to come up with one more option for a series cover. (I did try to create an illustration, but every image resulted in as cover that was more graphic novel than prose novel.) My idea was to break the cover more or less into thirds horizontally, placing different cover elements into each section.

My original image of the devil statue could not work in this format, as it was too square or even vertical. Going through my notes again, I found another image idea. At one point, this demon turns various skyscrapers in Metropolis upside down, endangering the populace and enraging Superman. The Superman image and title on top then carries over to the black part of the buildings, which merges into a red Photoshopped "sky," which brings you to the red title.

This cover could be used in a series -- changing the central images title color as needed -- or as a cover unique to this book.

UPDATES: DEC 6

RESEARCH/COVER DESIGNS

The basic story

The book revolves around Satan trying to take over Earth. Her key to doing it is to corrupt the one uncorruptible man, Superman, by getting him to break his most sacred vow: to never kill. She takes over the body of a young traveler from the future, a girl who has come back in time to investigate the holiday called Miracle Monday.


In the girl's body, Satan wreaks havoc across the globe -- death, destruction, and so on. Everyone wants the girl killed. [Spoiler] Superman finds another way, which saves the girl's life and forces Satan to restore what she has destroyed and leave this realm. The day he saved the world becomes known as the title holiday.

Hooks in the story

1: A big turning point in the book takes place during a televised panel of experts, including Superman's alter ego Clark Kent, to discuss the horrible events around the world. In the middle of the broadcast, Satan appears. On national TV, she fires a blast at Clark, leaving him with just his Superman costume on and revealing his secret -- her final act to get Superman over the edge.

2: Superman is humiliated. He no longer feels connected to the rest of the world. He flies north to his Arctic fortress, depressed, then sits atop the entrance and listens to the world. Just listens, with super-hearing. In a great bit of narrative, he hears the rhythms all around the globe, and how everything -- even he -- is connected. Faith restored, he flies back to Metropoils to save us all.

Which Superman?
While I'm trying to avoid the usual icons associated with Superman, I did want to include of the character on the cover. But which one? A drawing would make novel too comic book-y. A picture of an actor -- say, Christopher Reeve or Henry Cavill -- would give the impression that the book is related to a movie.


Instead, I chose to use Superman as crafted by Alex Ross, an artist who paints all of his stories, a mix of the fantastic and the real. The images here are taken frrom Mythology, a collection of his work that was (coincidentally) designed and co-authored by Chip Kidd.



Cover 1: unique to this story

This cover (and its  spine, to the left of the red line) reflects the first hook: the loss of Superman's Clark Kent identity and the last straw of Satan's plan to defeat him. Broken "Clark Kent" glasses (actually, they're mine, Photoshopped), set starkly on a white background, symbolize the event and the terrible loss felt by the hero.


Covers 2-4: A design that can be used in a series

These variations can all be used for a series of Superman novels: an image representing the story, with a small but dramatic picture of the Man of Steel.

In this case, I wanted to find a good, confrontational image of Satan, the antagonist. The photo here, found online, is of a gargoyle at Notre Dame in Paris, showing the antagonist and the ancient evil at play.

(Side note: My original idea was to use a medieval/early Renaissance drawing of the Devil/demon, but I couldn't find anything I liked -- not only online but also after some time spent wandering through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Any suggestions of sources?)

Other ideas


If these designs were rejected, I did have a few other concepts in mind:

  • A graphic drawing of Superman, the Devil silhouetted in his cape, using just reds, blues, and blacks, sort of in the style of this artist:

  • A man looking over an Arctic cliff.mountaintop, very small and isolated, to tie into the second hook I mentioned. A concern is that similar imagery was used to promote Man of Steel.
  • Something that shows temptation. I was considering paintings of the Temptation of Jesus, but I think that could be sacriligious or, at the very least, a bit over the top of what this novel explores.

So let me know what you think!

UPDATES: DEC 6

RESEARCH/COVER DESIGNS

The basic story

The book revolves around Satan trying to take over Earth. Her key to doing it is to corrupt the one uncorruptible man, Superman, by getting him to break his most sacred vow: to never kill. She takes over the body of a young traveler from the future, a girl who has come back in time to investigate the holiday called Miracle Monday.


In the girl's body, Satan wreaks havoc across the globe -- death, destruction, and so on. Everyone wants the girl killed. [Spoiler] Superman finds another way, which saves the girl's life and forces Satan to restore what she has destroyed and leave this realm. The day he saved the world becomes known as the title holiday.

Hooks in the story

1: A big turning point in the book takes place during a televised panel of experts, including Superman's alter ego Clark Kent, to discuss the horrible events around the world. In the middle of the broadcast, Satan appears. On national TV, she fires a blast at Clark, leaving him with just his Superman costume on and revealing his secret -- her final act to get Superman over the edge.

2: Superman is humiliated. He no longer feels connected to the rest of the world. He flies north to his Arctic fortress, depressed, then sits atop the entrance and listens to the world. Just listens, with super-hearing. In a great bit of narrative, he hears the rhythms all around the globe, and how everything -- even he -- is connected. Faith restored, he flies back to Metropoils to save us all.

Which Superman?
While I'm trying to avoid the usual icons associated with Superman, I did want to include of the character on the cover. But which one? A drawing would make novel too comic book-y. A picture of an actor -- say, Christopher Reeve or Henry Cavill -- would give the impression that the book is related to a movie.


Instead, I chose to use Superman as crafted by Alex Ross, an artist who paints all of his stories, a mix of the fantastic and the real. The images here are taken frrom Mythology, a collection of his work that was (coincidentally) designed and co-authored by Chip Kidd.



Cover 1: unique to this story

This cover (and its  spine, to the left of the red line) reflects the first hook: the loss of Superman's Clark Kent identity and the last straw of Satan's plan to defeat him. Broken "Clark Kent" glasses (actually, they're mine, Photoshopped), set starkly on a white background, symbolize the event and the terrible loss felt by the hero.


Covers 2-4: A design that can be used in a series

These variations can all be used for a series of Superman novels: an image representing the story, with a small but dramatic picture of the Man of Steel.

In this case, I wanted to find a good, confrontational image of Satan, the antagonist. The photo here, found online, is of a gargoyle at Notre Dame in Paris, showing the antagonist and the ancient evil at play.

(Side note: My original idea was to use a medieval/early Renaissance drawing of the Devil/demon, but I couldn't find anything I liked -- not only online but also after some time spent wandering through the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Any suggestions of sources?)

Other ideas


If these designs were rejected, I did have a few other concepts in mind:

  • A graphic drawing of Superman, the Devil silhouetted in his cape, using just reds, blues, and blacks, sort of in the style of this artist:

  • A man looking over an Arctic cliff.mountaintop, very small and isolated, to tie into the second hook I mentioned. A concern is that similar imagery was used to promote Man of Steel.
  • Something that shows temptation. I was considering paintings of the Temptation of Jesus, but I think that could be sacriligious or, at the very least, a bit over the top of what this novel explores.

So let me know what you think!

BOOK COVER FOR:

I've chosen a novel from my younger days that I've always enjoyed -- even though last time I read it was probably 15 years ago -- and never had a proper cover: Superman: Miracle Monday.

I've been thinking about the book a lot lately, thanks to the recent release of Man of Steel. In the movie (I won't give out any spoliers), Superman faces an opponent and makes a choice that is antithetical to the character's entire history. In Miracle Monday, he faces a similar challenge and makes the opposite choice, and does so in a totally rational and inspiring way. The book, beautifully descriptive, takes many unique, interesting approaches to the character and his supporting cast. 

This book, however, has never had a proper cover. The only one published, shown here, is actually for the movie Superman II, and has nothing to do with this novel itselff. I feel it deserves a better cover.

I'd like to design a cover that makes Superman a character based in American fiction, rather than just one in comic books. In the design, I'm hoping to avoid at least some of the usual icongraphy -- e.g., the 3D SUPERMAN masthead -- so the book comes across as a novel and not "just" a comic book story.

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