By Geoff Boucher
Updated July 02, 2013 at 04:31 PM EDT
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Credit: Joe Perez/The Vladar CompanyArcana

There’s a long history of comic book artists treading into the neighboring world of album cover art especially when psychedelia, counter-culture, fantasy or heavy metal bridged the distance between the art table and the turn table. Usually it’s an art table star — like R. Crumb, Berni Wrightson, Barry Windsor-Smith or Paul Pope to just a few — playing the tourist in turntable territory but the exact opposite is the case with the cover for Head Smash.

Credit: Joe Perez/The Vladar CompanyArcana

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Entertainment Weekly: Early on in the project was there something you circled in your mind as especially alluring opportunity or inviting challenge?

JP: The fact that this was my first notable project outside the realm of the music industry was alluring in and of itself — then I talked to Vlad and he gave me more insight into the post-apocalyptic world of Head Smash. I was instantly hooked and already felt the design gears in my head starting to turn…you instinctively know when a project is special. Vlad gave me a lot of creative freedom with art and though that sounds liberating it’s also a challenge in the sense that you not only have to meet the expectations of the reader but capture the tonality.

Any surprises along the way, either good or bad?

JP: I’m surprised at how everything just fell into place. Normally I sit down in front of my computer and create option-after-option because I’m either not personally satisfied or I have multiple ideas. Head Smash was different. I had a crisp vision of the poster in my head from the very beginning of the project. All I had to do was sit down and transplant the poster that I saw in my head onto my computer screen. The only bad part of this project was when It ended.

Is there something that would hook you as a reader if you were just happening along the book?

JP: I was hooked by the tag line,”To Obey is to Die.” It reminded me of Orwell’s 1984, and how conforming destroys a person’s soul. So the tag works on multiple levels even though it may appear as literal. It sets the tone before you even open to page one.

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