Welcome to Airship 27,
My name is Ron Fortier, and I have been a professional writer for over
thirty-five years. I have worked on comic book projects such as The Hulk,
Popeye, Rambo and Peter Pan. With my two most popular comic series being
The Green Hornet and The Terminator (with Alex Ross). With Ardath Mayhar
I penned two TSR fantasy novels, and in 2001 I had my first play, a World
War II romantic comedy, produced.
This site serves as a portfolio of the work I've done to date, as a showcase
for projects in the works, and as home for my online Journal
(below), which will be updated frequently.
I am currently writing and producing pulp novels and short stories
for various publishers and have several movie scripts floating around
Hollywood looking for a home, and if that isn't enough, I also have a review column at the
Get the latest news, post your comments, questions, or just say hi at my online forum.
A devoted grandfather of six, at 67, I am thrilled to be part of
the new web-comic evolution. Part of this joy is in the realization of a life long dream,
that of becoming a pulp writer.
Thanks for visiting, and enjoy your stay.
Latest Flight Log
||EVOLUTION OF A PULP COVER
|| Greetings Loyal Airmen, we are going to have some artistic fun with you this week. A few days ago we released our latest Airship 27 Productions title and we thought it would be fun to take you back on how this amazing cover was put together and the two remarkable artists responsible for it.
Our story begins sometime last year when the Air Chief was approached by writers Derrick Ferguson and Joshua Reynolds. Both of have done lots of great work for Airship 27 Productions in the past so you know, when they offer up an idea, the Air Chief is all ears. This time around they had this idea of writing a full length pulp novel in which a young Dillon, the black hero created by Derrick (one of the most popular new pulp heroes out there today) would seek out a 70 yrs old Jim Anthony; Super Detective to be his teacher in all things dealing with adventure. They were going to call the book THE VRIL AGENDA and after we read the loose plot outline, we sign on immediately. The Air Chief right at the offset this would turn out to be a very special projects.
To that end, we thought it would be wise to announce the book's arrival way-way ahead of time. Something we rarely ever do. But the Air Chief wanted to get pulp fans excited about what was coming their way and so we enlisted the aid of our pal, and Airship 27 Art Director Rob Davis to do up a special preview poster announcing the book. Whereas in the previous Jim Anthony books we've published here at Airship 27, we've always imagine him looking like the late body-builder-turned-actor, Steve Reeves. As for Dillon, he always had us imagining football-star-turned actor Jim Brown. So we suggested to Rob that he do up an image to showcase these two heroes in that fashion. Above is the resulting, super wonderful poster Rob did up. Of course he, on his own initiative added zeppelin, the skull and Nazis swastika, all recognizable pulpish icons. Soon as Rob was done, we plastered this all over the internet and on every pulp website we could think of. It served its purposes, as it instantly stirred lots of excitement amongst pulp fans everywhere. Meanwhile Derrick and Joshua set about writing the book and within six months of this poster being released, they had delivered the manuscript.
As soon as the Air Chief finished reading/editing the manuscript, we handed it back to Rob as he was going to be doing the nine interior illustrations that would grace the final book. While Rob started part of the process, it was time for us to find just the right cover artist. We had long been fans of artist Adam Shaw who, in the past few years, had some remarkable covers for other New Pulp companies. Covers that truly impressed us and we had always harbored a wish that someday we would be able to recruit to do a cover for Airship 27. Having so enjoyed the experience of reading THE VRIL AGENDA, the Air Chief decided it was time to give Adam a call. We dropped him a letter explaining the book's plot etc, how excited we were about the project and then inquired if he would be at all interested in doing the cover for us. Several days later Adam replied affirmatively. His schedule was pretty full up, but if we didn't mind waiting a few more months, he would agree to signing on. Well, that decision was a no-brainer and we told him we had no real deadline. At this point Adam asked if we'd produced any kind of art at all or if we had any definitive concepts for what the cover should be. The Air Chief immediately sent him the poster Rob had put together and Adam liked it a great deal. Enough so that he opted to make it his composition and a week later send us his own pencil roughs of that image done in his style. Both Rob and the Air Chief were thrilled and he was given the green light to proceed.
Now a few more months go by and then we get a letter from Adam saying he has begun work on the cover painting for THE VRIL AGENDA. The above image was the next piece we received. It was superb and everything we had hoped for. The only suggestion the Air Chief had was to lighten the color of Jim Anthony's hair, reminding Adam that in this picture he is 70, though fit, his hair should be mostly all silver color. Adam agreed and informed he still had a few more elements he wanted to add to the painting to include the swastika on the zeppelin. By now Rob and the Air Chief were really excited.
And so another week goes by and voila, Adam turns in the completed cover, considerably lighter than the previous version, with all the detailing in place. The Air Chief was thrilled beyond words. This is simply one magnificent pulp image. But upon reflection, we realized Adam, by using up all the available space he could within the confines of the image, had inadvertently created a real problem for us. How on earth could we add the title, our logos, the author's names and anything else to sell the book...without covering up way too much of a truly gorgeous piece of artwork. The old Air Chief was really scratching his head on this one and relayed his concerns to Rob, not believing there was any way to wrap this up with all that added stuff and not in some way diminish the impact of the overall image. Of course the Air Chief should have had more faith in Mr. Davis. Honestly, since becoming our partner in this pulp venture, Rob has become one of the most talented book designers in the business. We should have know he'd figure out a way to make Adam's picture soar....at the same turning into an actual book cover.
Rob's ingenious solution was to add a orange/brown border that would match Adam's palette of colors, with ample space at the top for the book's title. From that point on, it was just a matter of adding the other elements so as to not cover the primary heroes or their background. He cleverly used the same font he had whipped up for the original poster way back when, and a thinner, more art deco type for the character's names and the bottom tag line. When the Air Chief saw the final, completed cover, he about jumped out of his chair to yell...WAHOOOO!!! Since releasing the book, earlier this past week, we have received nothing but enthusiastic praise for this cover, which truly credits two amazing artists, Adam Shaw and Rob Davis, work in sync to produce something so damn beautiful.
And of course, the book IS now on sale at available at Amazon in both hard-copy and on Kindle. It is a fantastic read, one of the best we've ever published. We hope you'll give it look-see.
And that wraps up this week's Flight Log, Loyal Airmen, we hope you've enjoyed this peek behind the curtain on how great artwork evolves. Thanks ever for stopping by and until next week, take care,
Ron - Over & Out!