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?
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.
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!