Twenty-eight years and two months ago, I stood there in the science fiction section of a Barnes and Noble bookstore in Forest Hills and beamed at The Hammer and The Horn–all five copies of it. The cover was painted by Rowena Morrill, a most talented and acclaimed artist for whom I have the greatest personal admiration. But it wasn’t quite right. The antagonist on the cover was too small, too apelike, too spectacularly dressed. The hero was smiling when he shouldn’t have been. And there was orange in the background. A ton of orange.
Quite frankly, it bugged me. Not just then, but for the last twenty-eight years.
And it wasn’t until now that Caio Cacau, a crazy-talented Brazilian artist you’re going to be seeing a lot of, has come forth and un-bugged me. The cover he lovingly rendered for this re-release of The Hammer and The Horn is full-on, take-no-prisoners dynamic. The hero doesn’t look like he’s having fun–and why should he? He’s fighting for his life. His adversaries are big and brutish-looking, as they should be. And, perhaps best of all…orange? Not so much.
The universe is once again in balance. And Caio is busy working on another spectacular cover for me, embellishing a most unusual tale of a most unusual hero–but that’s a story for a different day.