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Fightcard: The Adventures of Sailor Tom Sharkey

The author says:

The Best Weird, Historical, Humorous, Boxing Stories You’ll Ever Read! He was one of the greatest heavyweight boxers to enter the legendary squared circle during the Golden Age of Boxing. Standing a mere 5’ 8”, Sailor Tom Sharkey was one of boxing’s most feared opponents…Gentleman Jim Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Kid McCoy, and Jim Jeffries all agreed he was their fiercest opponent and gave them their toughest fights. A colorful boxer both in the ring and out, he retired in 1904 after several legendary and controversial failed attempts to win the championship belt. That’s the story you know – But it’s not the end of Sharkey’s story – not by a long shot…In the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s humorous Sailor Steve Costigan boxing tales, this action-packed collection of rowdy, bawdy, burlesque, tall Texas tall feature Sailor Tom Sharkey’s adventures after he hung up his professional gloves. Thrill to Sharkey’s brush with Hollywood’s “It” Girl, Clara Bow…Get chills as Sharkey and Kid McCoy faces down a maniacal bandit…Feel the heat as Sharkey rides the rails with Jim Jeffries and the Vaudeville Carnival into a clashes with a mad scientists and mummified menaces…Watch as Sharkey plays Santa Claus to a bunch of Tammany Hall orphans and end up with a tiger by the tail – literally – and much more! These are the Untold Tales of the Wildest Tale-Teller of Boxing’s Golden Age!



Nathan says:

It’s a good, well-rendered illustration. However, it’s not exactly dynamic; the static pose means that something else needs to bring the energy to this cover, and the only “something else” you have is the text, which is in a lifeless and boring font.  But I think that if you replace the font, you can add enough dynamism to complement the illustration.  Not that you need to use the wildest fonts imaginable, but you should look at period typefaces.  How was the text usually presented on period posters and placards advertising fights? How was the magazine title rendered in the magazines in which REH’s boxing stories appeared?  That’s where I would look for inspiration.

Also, the chest tattoo looks like exactly what it is: a separate graphic that’s been modified by computer and superimposed.

Other thoughts?


  1. I like the illustration a lot: the tired boxer is extremely expressive and the mere fact that the image is not just yet one more action pose of boxers going at it (that I would probably have only glanced at) attracted my attention immediately: I can’t help but wonder what this story might be about. The image also goes a long way toward getting across in a glance that this is a period piece (though, frankly, I’d guessed the 40s until I read the description).

    I’m less sure about the handling of the text, however. The font seems a little generic and I don’t know if the motion blur/dimensional effect really adds anything. If anything, it looks very out of place given the style of the art and the period in which the story is set. It might look nice of the entire cover were treated as a single piece of art and made to look like an antique poster.

    Replacing the “I” with the figure of the boxer seems to be cleverness for the sake of cleverness.

    By the way, if you are going to use a quote on the cover of your book (to say nothing of a five-star rating) you are going to need to credit the source. It really means nothing if you don’t know who said it. It could have been you raving about your book for all anyone knows.

  2. Thx for the input. The book is part of an ongoing series ( so it has the logo from the series, however, I understand what is being said about the font and the logo. The quote comes from other books in the series, the souce was left off as a concession not to clutter up the cover, but it might be best to remove the quote all together. Again, thx for you comments.

  3. He seems a little bored to me. Maybe the pose is helping to suggest this interpretation of the face. The expression could have some grim determination to it, it’s hard to tell. That first impression is quite important, and his expression and pose will send it.

    The tattoo (pic and text) don’t have the same curvature as the chest.

    The 3D/glow treatment of the title doesn’t seem to fit this cover.

    If you can find a way to make this more dynamic, it could help to create more interest. The character of the image shows good potential.

  4. Fight Card is a series that’s been going on for several years now, and there’s a couple dozen covers, all with the same general layout, so they’re not going to change up the basic cover elements after all this time – at least I’m guessing not.

    But I’ll agree that I think this cover illustration isn’t as good as some of the other ones, especially the originals from the first year or so. Tomato Can Comeback, Bluff City Brawler, and especially Mouth Full of Blood have some great cover action going on.

  5. I basically made the same observations that Nathan did on this cover. I would only add that the “Knockout winner!” (5 stars) rating thing at the top throws me on few levels.

    First, is this a real quote from a real review from a real critic? If so, he/she should be cited. If it is meant as a gimmick for its play on words, it is an unhelpful distraction in my opinion. If it is essentially a fake review inserted as a marketing gimmick, it really cheapens the cover. If it is for real, such review info belongs either on the back or displayed less prominently on the front. You don’t want to blow your horn too hard.

  6. I’d have to agree with most of the comments here. Especially about the fonts and font treatment. Posted here, it’s out of context with all that has gone before. So you can’t beat people up for that. (Ha, I made a funny!)

    Just because it’s been going on for years doesn’t make it any more attractive. Many companies/magazines update their logos to keep current. There are ways to make subtle changes that can update a look without departing so far as to be unrecognizable from it’s predecessors.

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