Monday, July 18, 2011

Would The Duke Approve?

July 18, 2011

Spent most of the weekend working on our next cover: Cowboys & Aliens: Would The Duke Approve?

Played with a couple of different ideas, like this one of the Duke lumbering across a desert landscape with a squadron of fifties style flying saucers firing at him:

Also, noodled a close-up of the Duke looking down on an alien invasion:

I'm concerned about a dark cover. We have had a string of excellent white and stark covers, although the last issue with Geronimo is very dark. I'm just not sure I want to do two in a row. Did a third and fourth cover idea, including a very large painting of the Duke standing over a downed alien craft, the crash part of the scene poached from one of the Cowboys & Aliens movie stills. I think it may be the one. Robert Ray sent it down to Dan The Man this morning and he is going to work his magic.

I also want to run some comments from the readers (and you) about whether you think The Duke would approve of the genre mash-up that is Cowboys & Aliens. I need your comment, one or two sentences, plus your, full name, city and state. Need it by tomorrow, so get with it.

Nice to be back in the office after our three-state road trip. Speaking of road trips, a great review by Tom Vanderbilt in the New York Times of The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways, by Earl Swift.

Some of the observations are quite astute, like the fact that old style road rambling "may soon be obsolete as America enters its High Civilization period and no one will get sentimental or poetic anymore about trains and dew on fences at dawn in Missouri."

"With the modern car on the modern freeway, the modern traveler is left with practically nothing to celebrate but the ever-briefer time he had to devote to getting from one place to another." That is the author Earl Swift describing the decline of enjoying a road trip.

It was John Steinbeck who famously said you can now drive from "New York to California without seeing a single thing."

"Whole states have been relegated to vague blurs of asphalt." And, "the windshield becomes a proscenium through which we watch the countryside pass without actually experience it; we're in it, not on it."

"The interstate highways carry us without incident, without drama. They offer up food and lodging with minimum fuss. The carve the shortest path all the way home. And most important, 'we made good time.'"

But is it time well spent? Not really. And finally, "The future [of our roads] it seems, is getting away from us, even as we keep asking, with a plaintive cry from the back seat: "Are we there yet?"

Sweet. As a weekend road warrior, I want that book, as well s the others Vanderbilt recommends:

Divided Highways, (1997) by Tom Lewis

Open Road (1986) by Phil Patton

Interstate 69, (2010?) by Matt Dellinger

"For everything you gain you will lose something, and for everythinig you lose you will gain something."
—Old Vaquero Saying

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