The Editor’s Desk: Jonathan Vankin on the cover of HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL

The Editor’s Desk: Jonathan Vankin on the cover of HOW TO...

By DCE Editorial Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Last month we unveiled the final version of Sarah Glidden’s cover painting for her graphic novel, HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS (well, final for now anyway). The book comes out in November. This one is really something special, both for Vertigo and for me as an editor -- a deeply affecting, charming and fascinating memoir of Sarah’s “Birthright” tour of Israel, a trip on which she found herself undergoing some unexpected personal, political and (dare I say) spiritual transformations. I’ll post more about Sarah’s book as the year rolls on (and so will she, I’m sure). But as things turned out, her journey in creating the cover of the book was almost as arduous emotionally as her trip to Israel itself. For that, I’m forced to admit, she has her editor to thank. With a cover, you only get one shot so you gotta make it count. We needed (demanded?) exactly the right scene that said “Israel,” while also conveying the personal nature of her work in the book. Fortunately, Sarah’s experience in Israel ranged far and wide, so she had plenty of scenes to draw. Here, then, is a mini-tour of Israel, as seen through Sarah Glidden’s ultimately unused cover sketches. 1 - Sarah hikes into a canyon in the desert -- kind of like Moses! israel1 2 - A hillside overlooking East Jerusalem. And Sarah about to dive off the cliff. Figuratively speaking, of course. israel2 3 - Groups of young women with large guns are not an uncommon sight. Military service is required for everyone is Israel. israel3 4 - A refreshing dip in the Dead Sea. israel4 5 - Sarah visits the Church of The Holy Sepulchre, according to legend the site where Jesus was crucified. Nice image, but not really the theme of the book. israel5 6 - Finally, Sarah’s pencils for the illustration that will actually appear on the book. A typical Israeli street scene, somewhere in the Galilee region. israel6 To see the finished cover painting, go here.