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Franco’s Non-Romance Cover Art

Now we’re going to look at Franco’s cover art work outside of romance. He sent us quite a few of these ,so I’m going to show you the ones that might be used in a genre-blending novel, a book that combines romance with some other fiction formula such as mystery or horror. We looked at genre blending covers in my April column.

Neither Sandi nor I realized that novels of adult fiction were adapted to the Young Adult market until we saw Franco’s cover on Shock Wave (directly to the left) . I immediately thought of Suzanne Brockmann’s SIM Tall, Dark, & Dangerous series about the Navy SEALS, and how much better Franco’s covers would look than the ones they were sold with. This guy is good looking enough to be one of her heroes, and he is actually on the job. We can see him in the blue water with a swirling circle that shows the shock wave, an explosion to his right in red, and the shattering of the “water” into glasslike fragments around him. I believe that the weapon that made the wave and the explosion is partially veiled in blue to the left of man, as if it were underwater. Certainly a huge part of the attraction of these men, as heroes, is their proximity to danger. You can’t go wrong with a blue and red color scheme since there is an obvious tie-in to the United States.

I’m also intrigued by the cover seen to the right for The Lost Boy. I believe it is in the horror genre and I thought of how it might look on one of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novels. It is very dark and brooding, with lots of black and violets, two of my favorite colors, especially for how arresting they can be in an image. Franco goes into an extreme closeup on the face, drawing our attention to the character’s eye. The rest of the image suggests the setting and night time. Romance is beginning to get a few good vampire covers on its own but all too frequently we are still getting flowers and/or a shirtless heroes to suit me. I would much prefer this image.

We’ve looked at movie, video and DVD /wp-content/uploads/oldsiteimages and seen how effective they are as romance covers and posters. It is therefore no surprise that Franco’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer cover, depicted on the left, shows the characters from the popular TV show. It’s an attractive rendering of the actors in the show and, as usual, actors shine when it comes to conveying the proper expressions. A black backdrop, with a gothic building, is the only other thing this image uses to grab your attention.

Stephen King is supposed to be the best-selling fiction author in the world, so I suppose one has truly arrived when commissioned to do his cover art. I’ve read ‘Salem’s Lot; it’s a story of wall to wall vampires. It was an early, big hit for King, and this cover to the right is for a reissue. Thus, I don’t expect you to find this vampire romantic because King certainly didn’t intend anything of the sort in his novel. This simply yet boldly gets its message across with the face of a vampire, open mouthed and fang-toothed. The violet light around the greenish face sets off the overwhelmingly dark cover image.

Franco goes pared down, minimal and graphic, for the cover on the left of the legal-mystery, The Perfect Witness. This is a different look for him but is as bold and assertive as ever. We’ve had a very slight emergence of this type of image over in the contemporary romance genre but it too seems to be restricted to mystery blended novels. A remarkable facet to Franco is how very versatile he is in his subject matters and styles. This cover is 180 degrees away from the image we began with, The Rose and The Warrior. The figure of the woman suggests to me someone lost and alone in the alienation-prone, contemporary legal system, an apt image for a witness. If she’s slated for a HEA, it’s going to be a long time coming in this story.

Some artists still feel the need to do art that is more an expression of themselves, their “fine art,” as it is known. Franco’s fine art looks different from much of his cover art, which is typical. However, the fine art you see on his show invitation, below, does have that same sleek, pared down, Minimalist look, almost futuristic in feel, that reminds me of The Perfect Witness.


Franco concluded by saying, “I have had shows of my fine art in Rome, California and New York. I have an art opening show in SOHO (New York City) on December 3, 1999, which is mostly nudes.” He sent me the invitation to this opening which shows one of his fine art pieces in the show. Franco also sent along this picture of himself taken over Thanksgiving while he was in Florida.

Many art experts claim that some artists keep painting the same picture over and over again. Well, that could never be said of Franco. This is a facet of his artistry which keeps his work alive, vital, and capable of jumping into your hand off of the bookshelf. I can’t even imagine why I bother reading reviews after newly discovering how easily I can be seduced in a bookstore or online by the right cover /wp-content/uploads/oldsiteimages.


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