My novel Jimmy Stu Lives!, a satire set in the framework of a science-fiction adventure, should be coming out sometime next month from Penumbra Publishing (www.penumbrapublishing.com) . Joe Staton, an artist whose work I very much admire, is doing the cover for it. Joe and I were both in Southern Fandom Press Alliance (SFPA ) back in the Sixties (when we were both toddlers), and he actually did the cover for an issue of my fanzine in those days, Outre’. I no longer have that issue—you know how it goes—but through the miracle of modern technology, I was able to get my hands on a copy of the cover. Ned Brooks, venerable Official Archivist of Southern Fandom Press Alliance, located the issue, Outre’ #3, scanned the cover and emailed it to me, informing me that the issue had appeared in SFPA mailing #14 (circa 1963).
So this will actually be the second time that something I wrote enjoyed an excellent cover by Joe. Actually, Joe did more than just provide the cover for Outre’ #3. He might not remember this, but he actually stenciled all of Outre’ 3. In fact, I’d bet that he drew the cover straight on to stencil. For you of tender years, back in prehistoric times we used to print fanzines on a mimeograph. When I say that Joe stenciled the whole issue, I mean he took my handwritten notes and typed them on to mimeograph stencils. I didn’t type back then, and my mom, who usually typed up my issues, was unable to do that one. So Joe stenciled it. He was Official Editor of SFPA at the time, but believe me, that was way beyond the call of duty.
Joe went on from SFPA to gain fame as a comics artist, his many credits including two long runs on Green Lantern. Currently, he’s artist on the syndicated Dick Tracy comic strip. I always admired his work, and I knew that he’s also an accomplished painter, so I suggested to the folks at Penumbra that they try to get him for the cover. I’m really pleased that the parties could all come to an agreement, and Joe is in fact doing the cover for Jimmy Stu Lives!.
The preliminary sketches for Joe’s cover painting arrived yesterday. He’s planning on doing it as a wet-on-wet water color, I think, but he sent the publisher and me a couple of black and white preliminary sketches. Now I can’t wait to see the painting. I like the frontal view better, but either of the sketches would be a nice basis from which to start.
Set in Nashville and Western Kentucky a hundred thirty-eight years hence, Jimmy Stu Lives! satirizes the contemporary attacks on church/state separation. But I hope that I never let that get in the way of telling a good story in the novel. I’m pretty happy with how it came out, glad that it found a publisher in Penumbra, and glad that Joe will doing the cover painting. Oh, yeah.