That's right, I said winnerS! Only two contestants were able to correctly guess the identity of our cover artist, so I've decided to send both of them advance copies of the first issue of "Brutal Blade of Bruno the Bandit".
First up is Mike DeStasio, who found us by way of Crom! The Ultimate Conan Fan Blog. The blog is a wonderful resource for all things Conan, and a great way to discover and explore some of the best fantasy artists in the business. Mike himself appears to be a decent artist from the samples I've seen so far, so I wouldn't be surprised to see his name pop up here again sometime.
The second winner has not given me permission to publish his name, so I'm going to assume he chooses to remain anonymous. That's fine; I'm still happy to have had his participation in the contest, as I am with all who entered.
Both winners were, with their discerning eye, able to figure out that our mystery artist is, of course, none other than Ernie Chan, longtime artist of Marvel Comic's "Conan the Barbarian" and "Savage Sword of Conan", among many others. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have been able to commission Mr. Chan to create a portrait of Bruno the Bandit for us, and how pleased I am with the results. As lifelong fans of Conan, both Ian and myself are floored at the rendering of Bruno with which Ernie has graced us, and believe me when I say that it's going to make a fabulous cover for our first issue.
Ernie Chan's art can currently be seen at his website, and also at the DarkBrain webcomic, "The Vat." I strongly recommend giving it a visit.
Here's a larger preview of the cover art. There's a little more to the full version, and I have colored the piece for our cover. I think it's going to be great; see if you don't agree.
As for the book itself, I'm pleased to say that I've just finished what I am tentatively calling the final draft of the first issue. That means that I will soon be sending it out to the distributors to check against their specs, and if all goes well, it should be on sale soon.
Thanks to all who entered the contest. The advance copies will be emailed out to the winners shortly. Meantime, keep an eye here for other happenings...who knows when we're going to do another contest?