Greetings, Loyal Reader!
One of the greatest mysteries of the Cosmoverse was recently solved. For more than a decade I have been on a quest — well, an occasional quest — to learn who painted the cover illustration for the 1992 Roc edition of Dirty Work. Now, at last, the answer is revealed!
Before I reveal the answer to you, a few thank yous are in order. No quest is completed alone, and like many truth-seekers before me, I could not have found the answer without the aid of able allies.
You may recall that earlier this year I asked Who Did Dirty Work? Several Loyal Readers came forward with guesses and suggestions as to the identity of the Mystery Artist.
Kudos to Loyal Reader Gary for going above and beyond the call of duty by conducting his own investigation–an investigation which, though it did not solve the mystery directly, provided a critical clue pointing in the right direction.
You may also recall that I appealed to my former publisher to search their records for a name. A helpful editor at Penguin — herein dubbed Deep Book — kindly offered to delve into the musty art records kept in the Penguin basement. Alas, that avenue proved to be a dead end. Thanks to Deep Book for your help.
Special thanks also to awesome artist and graphic designer April Martinez for providing game-changing Gandalf-like encouragement when I was on the verge of giving up. April designed the covers for the ebook editions of Jason Cosmo and Royal Chaos, updating the original paperback covers. I’ve held back wide release of the Dirty Work ebook, wanting very much to release it with the original cover art if possible. A couple of weeks ago I decided to throw in the towel and talk to April about designing an alternate cover. She had her own educated guess as to who the Mystery Artist might be, and suggested I make one more try at finding the answer. This was excellent advice–for I was much closer to my goal than I realized!
April’s own guess was incorrect. But I decided to also follow up on a lead from Gary’s investigation. Fans in a fantasy art forum he consulted thought the outstanding artist David Mattingly might be our man.
As I explained in the post comments here, I ruled out Mattingly because I had been in touch with him before and Dirty Work never came up. So I hadn’t yet followed up on that lead. But, now, making a final push, I could afford to leave no stone unturned. I emailed David Mattingly and explained my quest.
Like an all-knowing oracle of art, Mr. Mattingly responded a short while later with a name…not his own name, but that of a fellow artist.
I went to said artist’s website and there, before my very eyes, was the object of my quest!
No, not the Holy Grail…but the cover of Dirty Work in all its glory!
It had been there all along, in a collage of his other cover paintings (but minus any Google-friendly text that would have been visible to a search engine. Because that would have made the quest much, much too easy.)
And so it is that I finally know that the Dirty Work cover was painted by the talented hand of…Den Beauvais!
From his bio:
Den Beauvais is one of the most prolific and versatile artists in the field of Fantasy/Science Fiction today or in any venue he passionately explores. He has won numerous awards for his cover art for books, magazines, game boxes , comics books and a host of other mediums. His artwork is widely sought after by collectors and has graced classic book covers by such renowned authors as Isaac Asimov, Margaret Weis, Piers Anthony and Gordon R. Dickson.
Den has been nominated twice by his peers for the Chesley Award as the Best Paperback/Hardcover artist of the year, and he received the prestigious Eagle award for Favorite Comic Book Cover of the year for Aliens #1. His art had an essential role in launching Dark Horse comics and he has illustrated many covers for Dark Horse works, such as Predator, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, Time Cop, Ghost and more. Den also initiated the Universal Monsters graphic novel adaptation series with Dark Horse Comics, starting with his color rendition of Universal’s classic 1931 Boris Karloff Frankensteinblack & white movie.
So…wow! I have in my closet a box of old Dragon magazines, including several with awesomely cool covers by Mr. Beauvais. If only my eye for art was more discerning, I might have deduced his identity that way. Or if I had only listened to Gary sooner…or, er, asked David Mattingly four years ago.
But a quest unfolds as it unfolds!
I emailed Mr. Beauvais and received a kind reply a couple of days later. He said he enjoyed painting the Dirty Work cover and it was a fun project. Glad to hear it!
The purpose of my quest was three-fold:
First, to find and thank the artist for a great cover. I did that.
Second, to give the Dirty Work artist proper credit throughout the realm of Cosmodom, which I am doing here and henceforth. Den Beauvais joins the estimable Richard Hescox and the late, lamented Josh Kirby in the pantheon of Jason Cosmo artists. I cannot express what a thrill it is to see the characters of my imagination brought so vividly and strikingly to life by these immensely talented artists.
Third, to secure the appropriate rights and permissions to use the original image in the cover for a new Dirty Work ebook. I would love to reissue the original cover — and I know April’s design would let more of the picture shine through than the paperback did — but we will have to see what is possible. This is the least of the three goals.
Thank you once again to all the Loyal Readers who have joined and aided me in this great effort. Thanks to David Mattingly for providing the right answer at the right time. And thanks especially to Den Beauvais for his great Dirty Work cover that truly captures the oft-bemused spirit of Jason Cosmo amid deadly danger!