Sunday, October 30, 2011

Art and an Excerpt, Good Citizens!

I hope you all had a fun pre-Halloween weekend! We dressed up as musketeers and went to a couple of parties and saw lots of things that reminded me of Sammy Keyes and the Night of Skulls. One house had transformed their yard into a pathway through tombstones with a grave dug out to hold a real zombie person poised to spring to life and scare the candy out of you! (If I’d have had Night of Skulls with me I would have done a reverse trick-or-treat and given them a book.)

Speaking of Night of Skulls, some of you wrote such nice comments about it here at the blog and since it's just come out and there aren't a lot of reviews of it yet, if you'd like to post yours at Amazon or elsewhere, that would be great!

Moving away from Halloween, several of you commented that after you'd devoured Night of Skulls you were depressed by the prospect of having to wait-wait-wait for Sammy’s next adventure. Well, how about I cheer you up with some art and an excerpt from Sammy Keyes and the Power of Justice Jack?
Let's start with art. Karl Edwards is the artist for the paperback covers, and his process is to submit several preliminary sketches of the main cover drawing to Random House--check out the six versions of "Justice Jack" on the left. These preliminary sketches get passed around and one is selected as the favorite, and then Karl does his magic and creates the final, full-color rendering.

You may recall from a previous post that for Sammy Keyes and the Wedding Crasher poor Karl was tortured by us changing our minds. How do you illustrate the Wedding Crasher? Who was the Wedding Crasher?

Not something I wanted to give away on the cover!

So with that book we went round and round trying to figure out what the image should be, and Karl got caught in the middle. This time, a key reason I wanted to keep “Justice Jack “in the title was so there would be an obvious image for Karl to work with for the paperback. And when his sketches came in I was so happy we did! One of the goals of the paperback art is to capture the humor of the Sammy Keyes books, and this one is sure going to do that—what a hoot!

Now, you’ve only heard me talk about Justice Jack. (For like, what? A year now? Sorry.)

I remember telling you about him when he was just a fledgling idea without a name. Remember that? I said he was “a kinda loser guy” who fancied himself a superhero.

But other than that, I don’t think I’ve given you much physical description, so there’s no way you’ll be able to tell which of Karl’s sketches best represents Justice Jack.

But you know what?

I have the power to fix that.



Before I paste in the excerpt, let me explain that in this scene Sammy & Friends are at Dot DeVries house. (Did I hear a chorus of yays? I know some of you have missed Dot.) And, back inside the Land of Blue, the Dutch celebration of Sinterklaas is underway. All you really have to know for this excerpt to make sense is that Sinterklaas looks like St. Nicholas (or a pointy-hatted Santa Claus).

And now (drum roll please)… here we go!


The man on the porch does have long hair like Dot described Sinterklaas, but it’s black, not white. And he is wearing red and gold like Sinterklaas, but I’m pretty sure what he’s wearing is not something Sinterklaas would be caught dead in.

It’s Spandex.

Or, you know, some other stretchy, Morphsuit-ish fabric.

And over his stretchy-looking red-and-gold body suit he’s wearing tall black boots that have buckles everywhere, red knee and arm pads, and a gold chest plate that looks like a cross between a hotrod grill and a catcher’s chest protector. And in the middle of the chest plate there’s a big red “J” with a black lightning bolt behind it.

Topping all that off are heavy gold gloves, a Roman centurion helmet, and a black mask across his eyes. And around his waist is a utility belt.

You know—like Batman wears?

Only instead of high-tech Bat-gadgets in his utility belt, this weirdo’s got a hammer, a flashlight, and a slingshot.

I almost say, Hey, Halloween was over a month ago! But even though he’d need to do some serious lifting to be mistaken for a real superhero, from the way he’s standing and from the jut of his jaw, I’m getting the feeling that he actually believes he’s a superhero.


So there you go! Art and an excerpt. I hope you enjoy going through this process with me. It’s fun to share it with you, so thanks for tuning in—see you next week!


Ryan said...

Speaking of unlikely superheroes.... our own Justice Jack in Seattle managed to get himself arrested. Horrible... just horrible...

bookworm said...

What a neat excerpt! I am so glad that another mystery will begin in Dot's house! And J.J sounds like such...... an INTERESTING character. :D
I am finding it very difficult to wait for books.......... and movies..........

Thanks, Wendelin!

AbaGayleb said...

I LOVEEEE this excerpt, though, I do wish it was longer, haha (:
The Night Of Skulls is on it's way!I'm So glad!(:

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

A superhero behind bars? Say it ain't so! But randomly pepper spraying people? Not good. Justice Jack is a little more creative with his slingshot and Pellets of Pain...T!

Anonymous said...

I felt so smart in Spanish when I knew so much about All Souls Day, El Dia de los Muertos, Day of Skulls, etc. I even knew about the sugar skulls? SAMMY KNOWLEDGE. SOLID. Oh and Happy Halloween!! I stopped at the graveyard on the walk home from school today to look at grave sites like Sammy and Casey? In honor of Halloween. :)

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

CammyLover--that just made my Halloween! Love it!

Shaina said...

I loved reading Night of Skulls the week before Halloween--it came just in time! I always like to read something Halloweeny in October, and it was nice to have fresh material!

Mrs. Billy Pratt said...

I Cannot wait till Justice Jack!!!! I might die!!!! Is it coming out this May or March? Becuase my birthday's in May, and I can ask to get it as a present instead of me having to buy it...although I would anyway.

The excerpt is FANTASTIC!!! I about died, even if it was just a description. I've always wanted sammy to get recognized, but there was the whole thing with being "investigated" too much, but I'm glad she's going to get some credit for her freaking amazing skills and personality.

So far, for the pictures, I like 'F'..How old is he(Justice Jack?)? Is he younger, older or the same age as Sammy? 'Cause then my opinion might change, but for right now, I really like 'F'.

And another question: Is Sammy's middle name JUST 'Jo' or is it "Joesephine", just shortened? And was Casey's middle name ever mentioned, or did fans just pick one, becuase everyone in their fanfics say it's "Warren"....I just wanna know to make sure. Thanks!

I love you Wendelin!!!

-Mrs. Billy Pratt

Optimistic4ever said...

I havent gotten to Night of Skulls yet. Silly library.

Anywho, I've always been a huge fan of the paperback covers. They're just so adorable!

I missed Dot! She lives near Casey, right?

You wanna know who else I miss? Billy and Cricket. Both of them. Even though Billy was apparantly in Night of Skulls. I still miss him.

But Cricket. She's been in one book, and we totally relate already! Will she be back?

Anonymous said...

so i had the worst halloween :(
i was all pumped to be a cool bean (i say it all the time- i might as well be it for halloween- i can send a pic if you want its hilarious) but then- you guessed it! or not...- a HUGEEEEEE snow storm hit!!! yup, thats right: 16 inches of snow, on the morning of sunday october 30th. trees down, power out now for 4 days. my power probably not coming back on until friday. THANKFULLY my family has a generator. but seriously???? snow has to ruin one of my fave holidays?? trick or treating has been postponed until next sunday in my town (one of the worst hit by the October Nor'Easter) in southern NH but its not the same, you know??? especially not with 6 inches of freakin SNOW left everywhere!!!
but anyway, i didn't want to talk about my crappy halloween: i wanted to say AGAIN how AMAZING night of skulls was!!! i can't even get into how great it was, because i'd be typing about it for hours, and i only have a about 10 minutes left of free internet at Panera Bread before my mom will take us back to our house.
sooo i will just say that i like D and F the best, all though its hard when we don't know the age of JJ...because if he's younger (20s or 30s) then i (no offense!) didn't like any of the pics of him. but if he's like, 40s/50s, then i think D or F would be perfect. and you gotta love the excerpt!!! IM SO STOKED TO SEE DOT BACK!!! and i agree with Optimistic4ever that Cricket needs to come back!!! and also, Optimistic4ever, Dot lives out in Sisquane, and yes, Casey's dad USED to live there, but he moved out, remember? and went to Hollywood?? so now Casey lives with his mom and heather near-ish Hudson's house. I also loved how Dot used to live in that tiny blue apartment with all her family- so cute!!! ALSO BILLY PRATT = THE COOLEST BEAN EVER.
sooo summary: i <3 Dot and Billy, Cricket needs to come back, D and F are my faves if JJ is 40s/50s, my Halloween was marred by snow, i LOVED night of skulls, and i CANNNOT wait for JJ!!!!!!
my apologies for long comments evvvvery time :D
PS thank GOD you gave Marissa her sanity in Night of Skulls when it comes to...Dippin' Dots... because it was SERIOUSLY getting to me how she was acting!!! (this way, i don't ruin night of skulls for anyone, because they don't know who DD is!!)

Anonymous said...

PSS anyone who actually reads all of my comments should get extra halloween candy. i'll send some of mine when i actually get to trick-or-treat.... :(

AbaGayleb said...

I got my book, literally the day AFTER Halloween!I.Love.It.
Thank you SO much for making my Halloween even better! (:

AbaGayleb said...

I'd like to point out that there is a repeated sentence on page 107:
"'So you think he's a cadaver conductor?' and Casey 'So you think he's a cadaver conductor?' and Casey throws in..."
(: Just wanted to point that out!

Anonymous said...

oh ya!! i just looked at it!! i read it twice and was like "no there isn't" but then i realized that it says it once at the very bottom of 106 and then at the top of 107!! good catch!!

yuseyz said...

wow i just noticed that!! cool. i wold have never caught it.