As I said before, having the input from a prospective client as to why your work was or wasn't chosen is HUGE. I've gotten jobs where I can't understand why they came to me, and others where I thought it was a perfect match and it just didn't work out that way.
Here are the PROS/CONS of the 10 Finalists summarized by what was said by the editors;
1. SPACE ABE VS THE TENTACLES
Lindsay showed me this piece in a bad sketch that had vibrant colors. She was reluctant to show it because of the bad anatomy and in her mind this was just something she was playing with. What she didn't seem to get was this was such a far out idea (and who doesn't like Lincoln? OK, John Wilkes Booth and most of the South but they aren't our readers) that if this was handled right it would be a home run.
On selection day, the Editors were so impressed with this piece that they picked it as #1 over dinner that night and decided they would figure out the other four at our meeting on Thursday. Ironically, editor Jim Riel, who wasn't there on Tuesday but was at the meeting picked this as his #5 selection.
When we showed this to prospective comic book buyers they were very excited by it.
2. BOAT OF FRIENDS
Among the editors, during the posting process from back in October, this was the piece they were most impressed by. I think Allison providing such detailed prelims made a huge difference in giving her an early lead. That's a positive thing with clients, communicate and don't make them try to figure things out.
As the process continued, many of them felt she was heading in the wrong direction color wise, and made those comments clear to me. Luckily they also posted on the blog and Allison took another look at it.
In the end, this was another piece that was highly rated by the editors, but I think the fact that it lacked the action of SPACE ABE (raygun, in a threatening position) made it score lower with the male editors who thought it was a beautiful piece, but dangerously close to feminine (Not a lot of our demographic).
Editor Alison Cowell, who is our creative genius at UCF, suggested we use this cover as a theme for the issue of "Friends and Monsters" which is what landed it at #2. It was like she set off a light bulb in the other editors heads.
Comic fans (male) were not immediately drawn to the book -- we had printed out the covers at full size and set them up to look like the actual books-- until they saw the back with the other monsters. Female fans loved it. Not a bad thing, James Jean scores much higher with women than men too.
3. TONGUE GIRL NEEDS A STAMP
Silvia kept this one pretty close to her vest, which can be risky. On the blog we only saw pencil prelims, examples of the kind of work she could do, and the start (background) of the piece. Comments along the way during the process ranged from "It seems very ambitious" to "I don't get it". Being familiar with Silvia's collage work, I expected this to be good.
On Selection day, they were blown away by this in person. One of the editors picked this as #1 and the others warmed up to it quickly. One of the other editors wrote; "I love this. It has a grown up-ness as well as a childishness to it. The technique was great."
I liked it because it was creepy. It also suggested multiple possibilities as to what issue it could run on. It would work for Winter, and almost was slated to run Jan 1, and it could work for Fall or Halloween. Having multiple choices really helped this.
Comic fans who read traditional (i.e. superhero) comics were not enthralled. The ones who read Vertigo type titles said they would pick it up.
4. EYEBALLS OF THE FIELDS
This one was back and forth. Appreciating it's beauty, creeped out and repulsed by the vines in the noses. Was this a comic book cover? Probably not. More like a poster or a traditional book cover. But the recent take on graphic novels skews more towards "regular" books so I thought you could make the case for it. This one ended up in a tie breaker with two other pieces, BIGFOOTS BIG HEART and LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD.
The striking color art and the happy memories of The Twilight Zone scored this some points. It also seemed to fit well with Spring-- and we needed a cover for that issue.
5. MR WIGGLES GETS A VISITOR (These all, by the way, are just titles I'm making up)
This one scored so high among comic fans, and one of the editors, that it was decided we'd run it on our Halloween Spectacular-- which to date is our biggest selling edition, and then one we really go wild with.
This is a perfect example of providing information to your client when you show your work. If Doc Burney hadn't had his ORIGINAL sketch up on the wall, he wouldn't have been chosen. On selection day, the colors really worked against the piece, but editor Derek Ring was so impressed with the original sketch (and honestly it looked like something Derek or I would do) on selection day that he asked me if it was possible to choose the sketch and as Doc to rework the colors. I saw no problem with that since the sketch was strong enough to run as it was.
In terms of a committee style client relation, this is a good example of getting one of the judges on your side. This struck a cord with Derek and he fought for the piece's inclusion, convincing the other editors to go along. I think Doc is a comic fan, and this probably gave him a leg up.
And then the runners up;
GIRAFFES- a really beautiful piece of art, cleverly done. This was one of my personal favorites, but I agreed that we couldn't see how it fit as a cover for one of our anthologies.
With the anthology, I don't restrict content, and we've had some pretty scary things in there.
SNOWMAN- Another great piece, the biggest problem with this was where would it run? It would have to be WINTER and we weren't sure if people would feel like the content of the book didn't match up with the cover.
BIGFOOT- One editor wrote; "great sketch- if this was refined it would be a winner-- as I'm sure it will be someday." We toyed with the idea of doing a paranormal issue with this as the cover-- something we might have to talk to Will about for the future.
The Professor-- A stunning piece, extremely professional and perfect if we were doing DETOUR JR. In fact, we thought about doing a mock kids version, but we felt our regular readers wouldn't get it, and any new readers would be horrified if they picked up another issue.
LITTLE RED- Fantastic technique, the fact that you weren't sure what was going on until you looked at it for a few minutes worked for it and against it.
Someone suggested flipping the image-- i.e. the girl is lying on the field on the front cover, and when you look at the back you realize she's had an "encounter" with the wolf, which makes it a much stronger cover. This was one of Veronica's favorites, and she will be in touch with Dena.
Ultimately, they chose based on what worked best for the series.
If you'd like specific comments about your piece, just let me know, I have TONS of notes from this process.
Otherwise, let's put DETOUR to bed (for this year at least).