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Stephen Kroninger
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED by Christopher Cerf and Victor S. Navasky
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Simon & Schuster Art Director Michael Accordino asked me to create this cover featuring some of the great minds of our generation, He asked that Bush be represented in his flight suit and for him to be surrounded by a cast of characters. These characters were never set in stone and there was a lot of tweaking on the piece until the final lineup was in place. We worked on the bulk of it over the summer. It was completed in early February and sent out to bookstores last week. Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won the War in Iraq: The Experts Speak From the back cover: Mission Accomplished! Or How We Won the War in Iraq, the definitive, footnoted, hilarious but depressing compilation of experts who were in error about the Iraq War. From MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed." -- President George W. Bush, May 2, 2003 "[Insurgents] pose no strategic threat to the United States or to the Coalition Forces." -- L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, November 17, 2003 "Military action will not last more than a week." -- Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, January 23, 2003 "I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah."  President George W. Bush, at a White House menorah lighting ceremony, December 10, 2001
In the beginning was the photograph. I was fortunate to have the Corbis files at my disposal and was able to search through hundreds of photographs to find the perfect ones. This Bush face sums up my take on the last eight years. It set the tone for the entire piece. I wasn’t sure that S&S would go for it. It’s so extreme that it’s practically a drawing in itself but Michael Accordino and I were in perfect sync with our shared vision for the jacket throughout the entire project.
This is what I sent too Michael as the first sketch. Fortunately Michael trusted me to figure out where to place the Bush Mob. At this point I had no idea where they were going to go.
I was given a list of names of the people who needed to appear on the cover. The challenge was to fit them all into an interesting and quickly readable composition. People were added and subtracted as we went along. In this early sketch I have Cheney sitting on Bush’s shoulder. In this update, Bush's flight suit is complete. The flight suit alone is 61 layers.
This is the first complete Bush mob. As you'll see, Wolfowitz didn't make it to the final piece, Rumsfeld and Powell would be repositioned.
A new flag to fit Michael's updated layout.
The flag was blurred for the finish to echo this famous photo. The handmade type in the first two sketch images was made by blowing up the type on this original banner, cutting it out and filling it in. It was extra work that I knew wouldn't see print but I needed it to balance the image for myself.
This is the final image as it would appear on the cover. Wolfowitz out, Anne Coulter in. Also added is the whimpering pup pose for Rumsfeld.
The finished jacket is up top. The final is 132 layers.


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