Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out……last night Jack Scanlan, our publicist and a good friend, gave a reaction to the use of the “giant hand threatening John Carter” on the cover artwork that stopped me in my tracks. His comment was short and to the point: “Cover art reminiscent of “white gorilla” criticism. I like ROMANCE in foreground with action-packed background like original cover art.”
The original art he was referring to (for anyone who’s not been following all the iterations) incorporated St. John’s Thuvia into the artwork. Unfortunately it’s just impossible to get that one into a landscape format and since then, I’ve become stuck on the idea that it needs to be landscape and look like a cinema screen. That took us to Abbet’s “John Carter of Mars” which features John Carter facing a huge hand ….which I liked because it looks like the hand of the gods coming down and threatening John Carter.
But Jack’s point really stopped me in my tracks. The biggest single shortcoming or failure of the marketing campaign is the obsession with the white ape/arena scene. It really does feel like a misfire to use an image so similar here.
The image I’m now trying out is the one you see below — another Abbet. It’s kind of “soft” in that there is no action in it …. but I like the atmosphere, the beauty and grace and sense of chivalry (which is talked about in the book), and John Carter wearing sword, harness, and pistol at least hints at action. The two moons are there, and the flyer makes it feel more sci-fi, or — the unique blend of sci-fi and chivalry that was Barsoom. It is in such contrast to what Disney did with their promotion — I think that’s another point. I also like the “Mars” colors and the way this one pops against the dark background…..
By the way, I also thought about using Abbet’s “A Princess of Mars” but I can’t get it into a landscape format — the composition is too “portrait”.
I’m going to have to pull the trigger on this today, at least for the first printing. Would love to hear pros and cons of the one below versus this one.