Coming up with a good cover is always a challenge. Ideally, a cover drawing conveys precisely what the book is about. For Religion: a Discovery in Comics I wanted it to contain me (since there’s a lot of autobiography in there), an image of “God”, and the symbols of the five world religions. The very first sketch (for the Dutch edition) was this:
The image of Man reaching for God and God reaching out to infuse Man with life is an allusion to this famous fresco by Michelangelo, called ‘The Creation of Adam’:
Although I liked the overall feel of the picture, I was having a hard time getting all the elements right. This was an early version:
Nice enough, but colleagues pointed out that this picture has two focus points: the divine halo in top and the yellow circle where pencil and God’s hand almost meet. It’s better to have one point in the picture to draw the eye to, and someone suggested this:
I liked that, but I wasn’t sure about the space between the pencil and God’s hand. In the original Michelangelo painting there is this space, and it creates a good suspense of almost-being-animated – but then I realized that my book is not about a one-way relationship with the divine, but rather about the dynamic between people and how they perceive any “higher force”.
When I made the finger and the pencil meet, the image suddenly “clicked”. It can be read in two ways: either the divine is inspiring the artist, or the artist is conjuring up an image of the divine. Or both!
So this is the final result, and the cover to keep an eye out for in stores soon: