by Jay Wilburn
Maybe it is not fair to say this post is by Jay Wilburn exactly. I mean, I did write these words down in order, but the post is about the art of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology. Credit for that work goes directly to Luke Spooner and Carrion House.
Luke Spooner has done art for the covers and interiors of a wide variety of professional work. His work can be seen across a range of genre work and he is a trusted artist for sci fi and horror writers across the globe.
In addition to being a constant professional, Spooner is generous with his work and time. He reads the work he illustrates and seeks to have his art serve as part of the story telling. It is his desire to not let the art get in the way of nor to distract from the story. Rather, he wants the art to compliment the story and build up the work that writer has done.
With the Dead Song Legend, Spooner has done covers, wraparounds, and lettering. Each book also contains five interior illustrations as well. We are up to book three in the series as of this post.
Each book will also have music in the form of a five song EP. Each song was written and recorded as if from the world of the novels by the characters. The songs contain dialogue, ambient noise, and run like radio plays straight from the action within the story. We have completed one of those and are working on the second one. Luke Spooner, who is also a talented musician, volunteered one song he recorded specifically for the soundtrack which will appear on the second EP as well.
The newest cover for The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book III: March from Myrtle Beach to San Antonio has really grown on me. I have had more than one reader and friend tell me it is their favorite and the most haunting images front and back so far. Each cover plays on the idea of creepy Americana calendars that are found in so many houses through the decades. It plays up on the subtle, creepy horror there and the themes within each novel.
This is the first illustration from book one. It shows Donna Cash waiting backstage to go on to perform in the first scene of the series. Luke used bullet holes in the stage wall to light her face. It also begins the theme of identity being a fluid concept in the novels including what we show to people and what we hide.
Luke Spooner has been particularly drawn to the female characters in the story. The focus is on the gay male leads, so sometimes the female characters don’t get as many pages. He really brought to life a young ship’s captain who will be significant at key points later in the series.
The interiors are in blackline, but Spooner sent along a color version of the last illustration for book one. He captured a moment where a zombie stands mesmerized which speaks to an underlying truth about the world and about life and death that the characters are still trying to unravel. Spooner picked up on a religious undertone and a Garden of Eden theme in this scene late in book one.
The backcover of book two is another beautiful image of a key female character from the series. This is without the back cover text.
Lots of great art in book two. A number of items might give away story points if I show them and explain them, so I’ll refrain from sharing all even though the art is marvelous. This is the first visual of Kidd Banjo in the midst of a pitched battle with the undead. Other characters were shown before him, but this serves as a good first visual of him in the series.
Our heroes together at the beginning of book three. Satchelmouth Murderman on the left, Kidd Banjo center, and Tiny Jones on the right. They make a good trio.
By contrast, we have three villains pictured at the end of book three. We’ll meet them along the way, but I like how these pictures bookend the story visually and as a story point.
The story moves into greater consequences for the world and the actions of our characters. The art does a great job of complimenting and moving the narrative along.
I love the art included in the Dead Song Legend. I think it plays a big part in the story telling. I hope you will take the time to give this story a chance to capture your imagination.
Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Mainstreet, and Truth or Dare. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels Loose Ends and Time Eaters. He is one of the four authors behind the Hellmouth trilogy. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com