Anthony Jones, a concept artist and faculty member at Red Engine Studios, is the man behind these creepy (awesome) noir-ish portraits of that classic Mario characters we all know and love (well, I dunno whether I love Wario, but, yeah…)
Jones explains the project:
I’m developing a story for a spin off of Super Mario Bros! So far I’m calling it “Mario”
Mario – Is a beat down Plumber and leads a lonely but modest life. He can barely pay his rent and is coming off a drug called “Star.” little does he know that he is destined for great things
Peach – She is a successful actress/model and is working her way to the top! unfortunately most of her fame has been due to the help of mob boss Bowser, which leads her into some trouble later on down the road.
Luigi – Is the brother of Mario. They used to work together until something took a hold of Luigi. Although Mario was able to control his addiction to “Star” Luigi couldn’t. Now living in the streets lost and confused he has forgotten who he is and where he comes from! Always finding the next fix Luigi slowly deteriorates.
More of Jones’ artwork, including more Mario portraits and a lot of tremendous concept art (some of which is inspired by John Harris, one of my favourite Science Fiction painters), is available on Robot Pencil, his official website.
What if Darth Vader lived in Feudal Japan?
Inspired by a simple question, artist Clinton Felker has produced a range of Samurai-influenced portraits of our favourite Imperial baddies (and a bounty hunter).
Kurosawa would be proud. More of Felker’s artwork can be found on his blog. Prints of his artwork are also available.
In 2011, after much angst and delay, my first novel, God’s War, came out from Night Shade Books. It went on to win the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel and was nominated for a Nebula Award as well as a Locus Award for Best First Novel. I earned out my advance in about six months and sealed the deal for the third book in the series not long after that. I’ve also just sold UK and audio rights for all three novels in the series.
Looks like a smashing good success all around when you string it all together like that, doesn’t it? In fact, it looks almost miraculously easy, as if I must have written some kind of exceptional book or something. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my books. But I also read a lot of other books in 2011 that I thought were a lot better, some of which didn’t make any awards list and many of which are still earning out their (probably substantially larger) advances.
So how did this happen? How does a little book that was rejected at nearly every other publisher as being “unmarketable” and had its first contract cancelled for similar concerns get so much… well – as people kept putting it online – “buzz”?
The real answer is, nobody really knows exactly why some books get talked about and some books don’t. A lot of people will tell you that who you know is what gets you published. And until I went through this process, I’d be the first to tell you that that’s bunk.
What I didn’t realize was that I was about to become one of those “silly punks” myself.
But turns out that once you can actually write a good book, that it does actually matter a good deal who you know and who’s heard of you. Recently, in this post over at Staffer’s Musings regarding the relationship of book bloggers and publishers, God’s War and its marketing came up again in conversation, with an assertion that, hey, you know, it must have been because it was such a good book that it made all these lists.
But there were a LOT of good books that didn’t make these lists. What helped God’s War get noticed? There’s a lot of mysterious stuff that happens among readers with particular books, and I can’t pretend to get that, but what I can do is tell you how I went about trying to get this book noticed, and how a small but passionate bunch of book bloggers, colleagues, and friends helped get this book’s name out in 2011. Is this approach applicable to other books? Sure. If you’re willing to play the game. And accept the fact that what you’re about to launch yourself into is a casino, not a meritocracy. Continue reading
Art by Todd Lockwood
One of the most exciting things about the upcoming release of Wards of Faerie, a new Shannara trilogy by stalwart Fantasy writer Terry Brooks, is that, for the first time since The Wishsong of Shannara, in the ’80s, the novel will feature artwork to go alongside Brooks’ story. It’s doubly exciting because they chose one of my favourite artists, Todd Lockwood, to do the art. I’ve always felt that Lockwood and Shannara would be a good mix. Having read Wards of Faerie, I think he nailed the feel and look of Brooks’ characters and world.
The above image is kinda small, but Lockwood also made some detail shots available, to give us a closer look at some of the characters.
Great work. I can’t wait to see the rest when Wards of Faerie comes out this summer. I know Brooks gets a hard time nowadays, and he’s been writing some hit-or-miss novels for the past several years, but Wards of Faerie is one of his better novels and I hope other fans are as excited as I am to see where he takes the trilogy.
Art by Donato Giancola
Along with Range of Ghosts, Elizabeth Bear’s The Eternal Sky Trilogy has featured some of the best Fantasy cover art in years. This is gorgeous, and I applaud Tor’s effort to promote and capture the ethnic diversity of Bear’s work and her characters. Beautiful, important and powerful.