Revealed: Past Life of Artist Behind the Much Ado About Corona Cover (Novel Update #6)

As I shared in the last novel update, artist Jordan Henderson exceeded my expectations with his painting for the cover of the forthcoming novel Much Ado About Corona:

It isn’t a big surprise he did such an exceptional job, being that I recently discovered he is—believe it or not—the reincarnation of George Cruikshank.

Many of you are probably not old enough to remember George Cruikshank (after all, he died in 1878). He is best known for having illustrated the original edition of Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

So how do I know that Jordan Henderson is George Cruikshank reborn? Let me present exhibit A and B…

I rest my case (however sketchy it may be).

I must say it was mighty kind of ol’ Cruikshank to return in these crazy times to provide not only the cover artwork for Much Ado About Corona, but also these four charcoal illustrations that will preface the four parts of the 125,000-word novel:

Do those seem like unexpected subtitles for a book exposing the coronavirus scandal? “Unexpected” is how most of the beta readers have described the novel. The story is a genre-breaking weave of facts, suspense, romance, surrealism, humour and, as Jordan Henderson told me, even horror.

Here’s Jordan’s email to me after he finished reading draft #13 of the novel:

My interpretation of the novel leaned almost towards horror. I don’t mean anything like the blood fest movies coveted by thrill seeking teens (of which I dare not be too critical considering trends in my painting). I see it as demonstrating the inevitable train of logic discussed by [the character] Stefanie: dumb laws seem harmless enough, but what if a conscientious person refuses to be fined? What if they refuse to be arrested?

So, your novel, in my view, uses fiction to illustrate real world truths—such as the fraudulent nature of COVID-19, and the true brutality and cruelty of the laws. The novel format allows these cold realities to be felt by the reader, rather than just abstractly considered. This work drives home the gravity of the situation; “minor” things like mandated compliance for quarantine quickly escalate… and are not minor after all. That is what horror is like; the rapid escalation from mundane to brutal. But I think that is totally appropriate, because that does happen, and wakes up the reader to the danger in seemingly mundane mandates.

[However,] the suggestion of greater meaning to life in the novel, adds hope and ultimately brings in the big picture.

Next post, I’ll share with you multiple versions of the final design for the cover (with the title and authorship added). I hired three different designers to come up with multiple renderings. I’ll send you my top picks and ask that you vote on your favourite.

Regardless of the typeface, knowing I’m using artwork created by the reincarnation of Dickens’ most famous illustrator, the cover will undoubtedly help my novel counter the corona fantasy story of the mainstream media.

Now, I wish I could advertise I was the reincarnation of Charles Dickens. Alas, while there are some physical similarities between me and the great Victorian novelist, I wouldn’t dare make such a claim:

Unless, of course, I grew a longer goatee and adopted his eccentric hairdo. Sadly, my wife says she’ll divorce me if I do. She also says I look more Justin Trudeau, especially over lockdown when he banned barbers…

Alas, I’d rather be compared to Dickens.

Though, I probably spend more time on editing than Dickens did in his pre-word processor era. I’m nearing 800 hours of work on Much Ado About Corona. The plan is to have it out by early December.

Until then, check out Jordan “Cruikshank” Henderson’s coronavirus art and consider buying a print, greeting card or T-shirt.

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