Ten Dead Comedians Cover: Q&A with Art Director Doogie Horner

Posted by Quirk Books Staff

Have you read Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente? You might remember the hardcover as a vibrant blue. For the paperback edition, coming out in Summer '18, Art Director Doogie Horner redesigned the cover, and it looks AMAZING.

We sat down with Doogie to talk about the new cover. Read on below!

This concept seemed a little too straightforward, too much like a regular mystery. However, I liked that it showed the setting of the book, which is so cool.


This cover is a big departure from the hardcover. What was the inspiration?

I thought the original cover didn't capture how fun the setup of the book is. What's cool about the book is the location, and the fact that there are ten (!) murders. Also, the style of the writing is kind of throwback, after all, it's a riff on Ten Little Indians, so I wanted to reference old mystery movies, Agatha Christie, and even a little Clue.


The most interesting part of the book? All the main characters. So I thought it would be fun to show little portraits of all the different comics, possibly in a chart style that also listed how they die (although that would ruin some of the mystery). Regardless, this was the concept we decided to pursue.

The mysterious murderer silhouetted in front of a wall of severed head trophies. Considered too gruesome.


Like the characters in the book, you're also a comedian. Is there any one character that you relate to most?

I guess I can relate to parts of all their characters somewhat. Fred is a good writer and the different comics in the book all feel real in different ways. They're alternately vain, deluded, psychotic, paranoid—larger than life. I, however, am none of those things, so I'd say I can relate to Steve Gordon the most. He's the most normal person in the group.


Get it?


The different comic portraits. Our cover meeting team felt it didn't live up to expectations. We were hoping that you'd instantly be able to tell what the different types of comics were, and you couldn't.


Do you have a favorite comedian monologue from the novel?

I like the Orange Baby Man rule book (not depicted in the live monologues in the above list). It was a good idea to include that instead of a description of his act.


So I went back to the mansion idea, but showed everyone getting murdered in the windows. I wasn't sure if I could illustrate this myself or would have to hire someone, so I did this color study as a test.


I redrew the illustration for final. I ditched the lightning and added some ocean to show you the house is on an island.


If you were invited to the island of a mega-watt comedian, would you go?

Sure, who wouldn't?