Who did Dirty Work?

by Dan McGirt on March 23, 2012

Greetings, Loyal Reader!

With Noble Cause now written and working its way into the various ebook stores, I have the breathing room to solve one of the great mysteries of the Jason Cosmo series: Who painted the cover of the 1993 Roc edition of Dirty Work?

As longtime Loyal Readers know, Dirty Work was the third volume of the classic Jason Cosmo Non-Trilogy. Richard Hescox provided the cover illustrations for my first two books, Jason Cosmo and Royal Chaos. The late Josh Kirby did the covers for the UK editions of all three books, published by Pan Ltd. But it remains a mystery to this day who painted the cover for Dirty Work.

Sadly, Roc did not provide a cover credit in the book itself. That was the first place I looked. Some fifteen years or so ago, a prominent fantasy artist I happened to meet whilst holding a copy of Dirty Work took a look at the cover and said, “Oh, that is _____. I’d know his style anywhere.” And I wrote the name down on a scrap of paper, long since lost to time, and also made a more “permanent” note on my computer, long since lost to a hard drive crash. Yeah, I’m not very good with names.

But the time has come to solve this mystery. Someone suggested it may have been the awesome Walter Velez. But I asked Mr. Velez, he checked his records, and it was not him. I emailed the fantasy artist I once bumped into to ask if he might again identify the artist simply from looking at the art. I don’t know if he will have time or inclination to reply. Or if my message even got through his spam filter. So I also sent the below letter to the generic email address of my former publisher Penguin USA/ACE/ROC:

Dear Unsung Hero on the Other End of this Email:

In January 1993, Roc released the fantasy novel Dirty Work, by Dan McGirt. I am the author of this book. I would very much like to know the name of the artist who painted the cover illustration. Unfortunately, there is no artist credit in the book so…I’m asking for your help.

Somewhere in the records of Roc/Ace or in the mind and memory of someone in the art department, or maybe in the ledgers of accounts payable, lives the name of this artist. Finding the correct person to ask is a bit tricky for me, as I cannot roam the halls of your offices, sticking my head into doors and asking “Who did Dirty Work?” There is no FAQ on the Penguin USA website that supplies the answer to “Who painted the cover of Dirty Work released in 1993?” Perhaps no one at Penguin Roc/Ace has even asked this important question since the start of the Clinton Administration.

So I appeal to YOU, Unknown Recipient who monitors this generic email address at penguingroup.com. If you cannot miraculously supply me with the answer, I ask you to kindly point me in the right direction with a lead, a clue, or the name of someone who might know. This is your moment! This is your chance to help solve a mystery of the ages! (Granted, it is a small mystery of the ages, but it still counts.)

I thank you for reading this far and for your hoped for assistance. (The irony that I also do not know your name does not escape me.)

Sincerely,

Dan McGirt
Author of Jason Cosmo, Royal Chaos, & Dirty Work

We’ll see if anyone replies. In the meantime, if YOU can help me solve the mystery, Loyal Reader, you will be proclaimed a True Champion of the Cosmoverse by none other than me personally, along with various and sundry other rewards that go with that title. So sharpen up your Google Fu! Dust off your Art History degree and let’s answer once and for all the burning question: Who Did Dirty Work?

Best regards,

Dan McGirt

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1 Gary Vandegrift March 25, 2012 at 5:00 am

I tried using tineye.com to compare the cover image, but it wasn’t a help. Tineye only found three matches… one here, one on Amazon, and one on some guy’s blog who thought “Dirty Work” was a movie that Greenday did a song for (don’t ask, I had to use google translate on his blog :) ) I had been hoping that perhaps the artist had the work on his/her web page.

BTW, I added a bit to your entry on Wikipedia, today. I noticed it only listed your original three Jason Cosmo books, so fixed it up some, including adding some references (Wikipedia loves references, hehe). There’s not much there; you might want to consider adding to your entry. I’m also getting all your stories entered into isfdb.org, should have that finished up tomorrow.

Anyway, good luck on finding out who did the cover art for “Dirty Work.” Hopefully one of those e-mails you sent out will be answered.

2 Dan McGirt March 26, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Gary, thanks for your efforts! I sent that email to Penguin on a Friday afternoon, so I’ll give them a while to respond. If not, someone on the Internet knows the answer..it will turn up eventually! I haven’t yet emptied my bag of tricks.

Thanks also for touching up my Wikipedia entry! I take a look at it from time to time, but keep hands off (except to correct a wrong date or title). I think Wiki prefers the subject of an article not edit the article — and it is more fun for me to see what others write. Sadly, I’ve been in “non-notability” limbo for several years, due to a lack of third party confirmation that I actually exist. Meanwhile Jason Cosmo–who is fictional — has his own entry, the notability of which is not questioned at all!

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