The author who did the trio of earlier historical books also had me work on a murder-mystery novel. Although the book is contemporary, the client had encouraged me to use retro clip art, which wasn’t working out so well. So my next inclination was to play around with a noir-ish concept using found art from old comics sections from 1940s newspapers I have. My idea played on an explosion that happens in the book, keeping the action a bit melodramatic but engaging. At the same time the client also had me work on an idea with a fireplace poker and copious amounts of gore, the other murder in the book. I’m torn on executing ideas like this. I know that aspect of our ultra-violent society flocks to savage imagery like hungry dogs to their Alpo, but it’s also pandering to something that doesn’t need anymore feeding. So the question always refers to the bottom line, what’s going to sell? And the answer is almost always blood and guts. I don’t think that’s ever going to change.