This week's Friday Five (we're not crazy, see below) features the editor of Something Wicked: Joe Vaz.
We're proper devotees of South Africa's first and foremost SF/F/H magazine (see our brief review here). Right now, there's a campaign going to raise enough money to fund the first Something Wicked anthology. The perks are magnificent: $35 (that's like £20) gets you a complete set of the magazine's e-issues: $75 (that's like, what, £40?) gets you a set of the the print magazines. Collectors and fans should note that these include appearances from Lauren Beukes and Sarah Lotz. Swoop now, or spend the rest of your life staring at them on eBay.
The campaign ends on Saturday, so we've declared today an honorary Friday - so there's plenty of time to read this, empty your piggy bank and support the cause of great geeky fiction.
When I started Something Wicked, back in July of 2006, my intention was mostly to showcase new and as yet undiscovered writers from South Africa. Obviously I needed some art to go with the magazine, but the intention was purely to put out a ‘cheap & nasty’ magazine, much like the mags I had grown up with. Newsprint paper, ragged edges, black and white line art sketches. The focus was to be on the written words, not on the packaging, so it might seem strange that my Friday Five is about artists rather than writers.
It all started with Vincent Sammy...
Within a week of my opening art submissions my plans for a simple, mostly text-based magazine began to crumble. The very first piece of art that arrived in my inbox was by Vincent Sammy.
Those of you who are familiar with Something Wicked will of course recognise the image as the cover of our debut issue. As the weeks progressed every artist featured in issue 1 delivered more and more extraordinary pieces, eventually turning our little mag into the design-heavy black and white glossy that it turned out to be.
It should be of no surprise, then, that those artists, namely Jesca Marisa, Hendrik Gericke, Pierre Smit, Vianne Venter and the aforementioned Mr. Sammy, have turned up again and again and have (to date) illustrated every single of our twenty issues.
Beelow are my favourite Something Wicked covers from each artist.
We’ll start off with Vincent Sammy.
Vincent Sammy has illustrated six covers for us, so making me pick just one is just pure evil. Every last one of them has left us all gasping at his brilliance. So after (serious) deliberation I decided that the work he delivered for issue 8 is still one of the most impressive pieces, not only because of how beautiful it is to behold, but also because he really captured the feel and content of the story "Genesis Jack-O-Lantern" by Richard Pitaniello.
Hendrik Gericke has illustrated four covers for us, but without a doubt my favourite is the phenomenal wrap-around painting he gave us for Michael John Grist’s "Freemantle Mons - The Leviathan Smile", the cover of issue 9. I tried to buy the original painting from him, but couldn’t afford it, it might still be available. The girl was not originally in the painting, but was added in afterwards to create the final cover image.
Vianne Venter is better known as our tireless story-editor, who single-handedly has edited over half-a-million words of fiction over the last six years. But she’s also quite the artist. Vianne has, to date, illustrated only two covers, my favourite being issue 17, which is actually a massive painting (around 6ft tall) that I appropriated for Cat Hellisen’s "Jack of Spades, reversed".
Jesca Marisa has given us three covers, all of them absolute knock-out illustrations. This was a hard one, I couldn’t decide between the "Bat-Girl" on issue 4 or this one, but I think in the end ‘Cleaver Girl’ wins out. This was actually a second painting as I rejected the first one she sent me for being ‘too sweet’ looking. I think Jesca meted out her revenge on the poor unicorns in this painting.
Tied with Vincent as our most prolific cover illustrator is Pierre Smit. Pierre has illustrated six of our twenty covers and to pick one is nearly impossible but I had to go with his Swamp Thing meets War of the Worlds homage for the cover of issue 6. Commissioning work from Pierre is always such a pleasure; perhaps because we both work in the film industry (he’s a scenic artist, I’m an actor) we speak the same filmic language and tend to finish each other’s sentences when brainstorming illustration ideas.
Well – that’s my selection. There are tons more amazing covers (as well as interior illustrations) by these five along with the dozens of other artists whose work we have commissioned over the years. Trying to list all my favourites would be pointless. Pick up the mags (the print ones) and see for yourself. (Incidentally we’re giving away our entire print back-catalogue as one of the perks on our IndieGoGo campaign to fund our first South African SF & Horror anthology... Guess who illustrated the cover?)