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Hugo Recommendations – Best Professional Artist

February 18, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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Nominating for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist is always especially difficult.   There are so many terrific talents working in science fiction and fantasy just now, it is next to impossible to settle on just four or five as being worthy of a nod.   Nonetheless, that’s the way it works, so…

Once again, I’ve had the honor of working with some astounding artists during the past year.   Let me bring a few of them to your attention.

MICHAEL KOMARCK, who has been the cover artist for most of the Wild Cards books since Tor revived the series, once again excelled this year, with knockout covers for both LOW CHICAGO and TEXAS HOLD ‘EM.   Take a look:

Komarck is a meticulous craftsman who always takes great care to get the characters right.  I can’t imagine anyone capturing Bubbles or Khan any better than he did on these covers.   It is truly past time that Komarck got another Hugo nod.

We had so many Wild Cards titles released last year that Tor brought in other artists to spell Komarck.   One of them was DAVID PALUMBO, who did the art for the reissue of ONE-EYED JACKS, featuring the Oddity.   Palumbo was also the artist for Bantam Spectra’s illustrated edition of NIGHTFLYERS: the cover and the gorgeous interior plates were all his.

Of course, no discussion of Wild Cards artists would be complete without a mention of JOHN PICACIO, who illustrates all of the stand-alone Wild Cards stories that appear on Tor.com.   Here are a couple of the pieces he produced last year, to illustrate Victor Milan’s “EverNight” and Max Gladstone’s “Fitting In.”

 

The biggest book I published during 2018 was not a Wild Cards mosaic, however: it was FIRE & BLOOD, the first volume of my imaginary history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros…. published on November 20 by Bantam in the US and HarperCollins Voyager in the UK in a stunning hardcover edition (still in the top ten on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list, some two months after publication, I am pleased to report).  The edition was extensively and lavishly illustrated by DOUG WHEATLEY.

 

Last… but certainly not least… let me draw your attention to JOHN JUDE PALENCAR, whose powerful (and disturbing) paintings for the 2019 SONG OF ICE AND FIRE calendar make it one of the strongest and most unforgettable in what I like to think has been a very distinguished series.  (Though the calendar covers 2019, it was first released at Comicon in July 2018, so the artwork therein is eligible for this year’s awards).   JJP’s take on Westeros and its denizens is like none other, and I have already arranged to buy several of his originals for my own walls.

(If you are one of the many who no longer uses wall calendars, but loves great art, you can get signed copies (signed by me, not the artist, alas) of the JJP calendar from the bookshop at my Jean Cocteau Cinema).

So there you are: Michael Komarck, David Palumbo, John Picacio, Doug Wheatley, John Jude Palencar.   Keep them in mind when making your Hugo nominations.   I know I will.

 

Current Mood: artistic artistic

Coming In October

March 24, 2018 at 12:42 pm
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This is going to be an epic year for all you Wild Cards fans out there.

Let’s see. In June we have LOW CHICAGO, coming out from Tor in the US, and KNAVES OVER QUEENS, scheduled for release from Voyager in the UK. But that’s not the end of it. On October 23, look for TEXAS HOLD ‘EM.

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is the final book in the America Triad, and the twenty-seventh volume of the overall series… but no, it’s not necessary to have read the first twenty-six to enjoy this one. In fact, it’s not even necessary to have read MISSISSIPPI ROLL and LOW CHICAGO (though we hope you will).

The table of contents:

Caroline Spector “Bubbles and the Band Trip”
Max Gladstone “The Secret Life of Rubberband”
William F. Wu “Jade Blossom’s Brew”
Diana Rowland “Beats, Bugs, and Boys”
Walton Simons “Is Nobody Going to San Antone?”
Victor Milan “Dust and the Darkness”
David Anthony Durham “Drop City”

That gorgeous cover is by Michael Komarck, who has been doing stunning work for Wild Cards since Tor relaunched the series. I hope you guys remembered to nominate him for a Hugo, he certainly deserves one. (And I hope to remembered to nominate Wild Cards for Best Series too. Thirty-one years, twenty-seven books, we’re all pretty proud of the work we’ve done, and will continue to do).

TEXAS HOLD ‘EM is available for preorder now.

On other Wild Cards fronts, check out the latest post on the WC blog at http://www.wildcardsworld.com/blog/ where Miss Wild Cards answers your questions. And keep an eye out for new Wild Cards stories over at Tor.com. If you haven’t read Vic Milan’s “EverNight” yet, you should… and we have new original WC tales coming up from Caroline Spector and Bradley Denton, Max Gladstone, and Marko Kloos. All FREE!

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

Wild Cards Artwork

March 2, 2018 at 11:21 am
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The Wild Cards series has been blessed with some really amazing artwork since we’ve been published by Tor. Let me introduce you to some of our artists.

MICHAEL KOMARCK Has been our main cover artist since INSIDE STRAIGHT, and he’s still hitting it out of the ballpark. Here’s his cover for LOW CHICAGO, due out in hardcover in June.

The amazing JOHN PICACIO has been doing all the “cover” art for the Wild Cards stories on Tor.com. Here’s his two latest, for Vic Milan’s “EverNight” and Melinda Snodgrass’s “When the Devil Drives.”

David Palumbo has been building quite a buzz for his recent cover work. If you haven’t seen his cover art for Nnedi Okorafor’s BINTI, look it up, it’s stunning. We’re thrilled to have snagged him for Wild Cards. Here’s his cover for the forthcoming reissue of ONE-EYED JACKS.

Bastien Lecouffe Deharme is another artist new to Wild Cards, but he did a knockout cover for our most recent mosaic, MISSISSIPPI ROLL. See below. We want to get him back for more covers!

Remember those four names when you are making out your Hugo nominations for Best Professional Artist: Michael Komarck, John Picacio, David Palumbo, Bastien Lecouffe Deharme. You can find lots more examples of their art on their respective websites.

Current Mood: excited excited

A New Year and a New SoI&F calendar!

January 23, 2018 at 2:15 pm
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Minion Raya here,

It’s a brand new year, and we’re proud to announce next years Song of Ice and Fire official calendar.  2019’s calendar will feature the stunning work of John Jude Palencar, who will bring his uniquely haunting visions of the SoI&F world to your home eleven months from now.

Check out some more of Jean’s work here at his website http://www.johnjudepalencar.com.

The calendars will be available from Random House, Amazon and other book seller later this year, so be sure and look them before the supply is gone.

Check out this cover art exclusive featuring a forlorn unnamed member of the Nightswatch. Keep and eye out for updates on John Jude Palencar’s 2019 calendar.

THIS ANNOUNCEMENT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

The Dragon Has Three Heads…

December 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm
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… and he’s landed in my back yard.

He’s a gift from m’lady Parris, and the work of a marvelous artist named Tyler Eugene Smith.

I love it.

And yes, Tyler’s the same amazing sculptor who made the Alfies for Spokane and Kansas City. For those he had old hood ornaments to work from, but the dragon he made from scratch.

Meow Wolf Conquers Las Vegas

September 25, 2017 at 5:35 pm
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Meow Wolf invaded Las Vegas last weekend.

No, not the historic old railroad town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, where Doc Holliday and Hoodoo Brown once prowled the streets, but that gaudy newcomer in the desert, Las Vegas, Nevada.

As part of the weekend festival called Life Is Beautiful, Meow Wolf took over an defunct motel and redid the courtyard and all the rooms in their own surreal and inimitable style.

You can see some of the rooms here:
https://www.reviewjournal.com/entertainment/arts-culture/see-21-interactive-rooms-at-art-motel-for-life-is-beautiful-video/

Alas, alack, I gather that Life Is Beautiful only lasted the weekend (life, it would seem, must go back to being whatever it is the rest of the year), and the Meow Wolf installation was only temporary, so if you missed it, you’re out of luck.

(I would have told you earlier, but I did not know myself).

There’s still plenty of time to come to Santa Fe and see the original Meow Wolf, however.

And if you can’t, well, cross your fingers — Meow Wolf may soon be coming to a city near you.

Current Mood: enthralled enthralled

Something Cool

May 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm
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The Jean Cocteau Cinema is primarily is a movie theatre, to be sure. We also feature various live events: music, comedy, magic, burlesque, and of course author interviews and readings. And we’re a bookstore as well, selling autographed copies of the titles from the various writers who have appeared here. If you’re a regular reader of the Not A Blog, you know all this. I’ve talked about all this frequently enough.

One thing you may not know is that we’re also an art gallery… well, kinda sorta. We have two walls in our lobby where we display the works of local and visiting artists, changing up every thirty days or so. I haven’t talked about that aspect of the JCC nearly as much.

But this month we have something very cool and unusual on our walls, a really stunning display of glass swords by local Santa Fe artist G. Michael Smith.

I might not want to go into battle with a glass sword — give me Valyrian steel — but they sure are pretty to look at. Come by and see them in person if you get the chance.

Sign of the Times

April 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm
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Watch out! Here there be dragons!

“Here” in this case refers to Camino Alire, and the former Desert Academy, which building I bought a couple of years back and converted to Dragonstone Studios, low-cost studios for aspiring artists.

It’s taken longer than I thought (a lot of repair and restoration was needed first), but we finally got up a proper sign.

I love it, and hope you do as well.

The sign is the work of one of those aformentioned aspiring artists, the sculptor and metalworker TYLER EUGENE SMITH. Tyler is also the guy who makes the Alfies every year out of old hood ornaments, and who created the amazing Beast Head that welcomes patrons inside the door of the Jean Cocteau Cinema. And wait till you see what he’s making next… it will blow your minds.

Meanwhile, drive down Camino Alire, and admire his latest.

Meow Wolf Gets Even Cooler

February 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm
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Just wanted to give the locals… and anyone passing through the Land of Enchantment… the heads up that Meow Wolf is open again. The attraction was closed from January 17 to February 1, alas, but for all the best reasons. Not content to rest on their (by now considerable) laurels, the amazing Meow Wolf collective decided to make the House of Eternal Return even cooler by adding some new rooms and revamping some old ones. So now there are even more secrets to uncover and portals to explore.

Come check it out.

It’s been an amazing year for Meow Wolf, by the way… less than a year, actually, since we’re still a month and a half shy of our first anniversary. You always hope for success when starting any new project, and when the project is as new and different and creative as this one, you cross your fingers and mutter a prayer to whatever deities you believe in. A year ago, as the Meow Wolf artists were madly pushing to finish everything before the scheduled opening, the hope was that we would be able to draw 100,000 visitors to the attraction every year. If we managed 150,000, that would have been occasion for celebration. Well, Meow Wolf hit that mark within the first three months, and by now, some ten and a half months since the opening, more than 400,000 people have visited the House of Eternal Return.

If you’re not one of them, hey, you don’t know what you’re missing. Meow Wolf has become the most Instagramed place in New Mexico, surpassing even White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. And the reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp will blow your mind.

There has been all sorts of incredible recognition as well, even beyond the excitement and pleasure of all our visitors (especially the kids). In November, Meow Wolf won a THEA Award from the Themed Entertainment Association. https://meowwolf.com/2016/11/meow-wolf-wins-thea-award/ They will be collecting that in April at Disneyland. And the American Institute of Architects in Santa Fe voted Meow Wolf an award as well, for its fusion of art and architecture. http://www.aiasantafe.org/2016

It pleases me to observe that Meow Wolf is also reaching out to help other artists. Most recently, in the wake of the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland that claimed the lives of 36 people, Meow Wolf has announced a hundred thousand dollar fund to help DIY (Do It Yourself) art and music spaces improve their venues and bring them up to code, so that horrors like the Oakland fire need never recur http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2016/12/13/meow-wolf-starts-fund-for-diy-artists-in-response.html (And in case you are wondering, the defunct bowling alley that houses Meow Wolf was brought completely up to code before opening, and is inspected regularly. In fact, the fire marshall was there two days ago, when I last visited, testing the ear-splitting fire alarm. There are smoke alarms all over the House of Eternal Return, much of it is fireproofed, and all of it is sprinklered. Wonders are wonderful, but we did all we could to put safety first).

All this success, all this coolness, all this good work… I can’t take credit for any of it, really. I am just the landlord. But I am proud to be associated with it. The artists and creators of Meow Wolf are an incredible bunch of people, and they’ve made Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the world a better place with their energy, imagination, and hard work.

And the best part is, they’ve just begun. Denver, Austin, Los Angeles, watch out for spiders and giant robots, you never know what might turn up on your doorstep.

Hugo Thoughts: Best Professional Artist

January 30, 2017 at 1:23 pm
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Hugo nominations are now open. You will have until mid March to make your nominations… however, if you were not a member of MidAmericon II, you have only today and tomorrow left to sign up for either That Finnish Convention (this year’s worldcon) and/or ConJose II (next year’s worldcon) to earn the right to nominate. Act now, or forever hold your peace.

A few days ago I posted a few recommendations for the two Dramatic Presentation categories. Today I’d like to offer a couple of artists for your consideration, staggering talents who did some outstanding work in 2016, and are more than worthy of nomination.

The first of them is MICHAEL KOMARCK, who has been painting our Wild Cards covers ever since Tor revived the series. He’s done a bunch of other things too… check out his website… and he is doing the artwork for a Wild Cards graphic novel that is just going to blow your mind, but it’s his recent Wild Cards covers that make me want to get up and dance. Here’s some of his recent work.

Komarck has been nominated for the Hugo once before, but has never won. Here’s some of his older Wild Cards covers. Amazing work.

I had the honor to work with another wonderfully talented artist this year as well: the French artist DIDER GRAFFET, who illustrated the 2017 Ice & Fire calendar from Random House.

There’s lots more art in the calendar just as good. Grab and copy and see for yourself.

Of course, SF and fantasy are blessed with all sorts of extraordinary artists, many of whom have been Hugo winners or nominees in years past. John Picacio, Julie Dillon, Donato Giancola, Stephan Martiniere, and many more are worthy of your consideration as well. But any list of recommendations that does not include Komarck and Graffet is woefully incomplete, imnsho.