February 2, 2005
We posted the first Jesus image yesterday and plan to post at least three others in the next several days. Meanwhile, the comments and opinions continue to pour in:
"The illustration of Jesus is magnificent. You were right to drop the gunfighter image. This portrayal appears more of a rancher who entered into a wilderness and endured the hardships of living off the land. The face is rugged, yet serene. You should be proud. Stay strong and stubborn, you old son-of-a-gun!"
"I am of the opinion that Jesus has a sense of humor, as he was in human form while on earth and had all of our human traits....so I don't think you have to worry about any lightening bolts. On the other hand, this is a no win situation for you and the Mag. I hope folks take the time to read the article which I am sure is done in an appropriate and thought-provoking style. No one can accuse you guys of playing it safe. Good luck."
—Jim Ed Erimie
"In a spirit of mixed encouragement: so your test audience is saying that they're not bothered, but lots of other people will be. I confess, I want to say the same thing. Yeah, you want open-minded readers; but when it comes to advertisers, you don't want to be quite so fussy about the state of their minds. Still, this is True West, the magazine that dares ask if Wyatt Earp was pimping, if John Wayne was an actor and not a cowboy, if all the great controversies of western history can't benefit from a good turning-upside-down-and-shaking.I think it's the cowboy hat itself that makes me nervous; it's a little jokey. (But as for there being no crown-of-thorns blood, wouldn't that be entirely appropriate in reference to the Penitentes of New Mexico? And they're one of the creepier manifestations of Jesus in the West.) Have you asked Dave Daiss what he thinks of the image? He may be a pretty good sample of the folks you don't want to upset."
Funny you should mention Dave Daiss, Emma. He called me last night and put his vote in on the nay side.
Mark Boardman also had another thoughtful reply to the latest artwork (he appreciates the intent but still thinks the idea is too contentious). To Mark and the rest of you I appreciate your comments and please try to keep an open mind as we look over the final sketches and cover ideas. This is a work in progress. I still feel confident, a provacative cover can be created that makes people think.
"A quiet conscience sleeps in thunder."
—Old Vaquero Saying
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