Doctor Syn : A Smuggler Tale of the Romney Marsh

The first book in the Doctor Syn series

Russell Thorndike created Doctor Syn for this, his first novel, published in 1915. A native of Romney Marsh in southeast England, he chose to base the book around real-life smuggling in the area in the late 18th century. Dr. Christopher Syn, an elderly parson, has his life turned upside down when His Majesty’s government comes to Dymchurch-under-the-Wall to investigate that smuggling.

Dr. Syn alias the Scarecrow Novel Cover

A Disney novel adaptation of a classic

In 1975, Disney decided to re-release Dr. Syn as a 75-minute feature film, and to tie into that, they commissioned Victoria Crume (aka Vic Crume) to write a novelisation of the film for young readers, something she had done before for other Disney properties and would do again.

I wanted to make an ebook version for personal use, so cleaning up a scan of the cover was in order.

Can you identify the cover artist? If you know, please contact me.

Dr. Syn – The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh

Marshmen and smugglers in 18th century Kent

Dr. Syn The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh by Scott Dutton

Russell Thorndike‘s Doctor Syn first appeared in the novel of the same name in 1915, with six more novels following in the 1930s and 40s. The general public knows Syn from the 1964 Disney episodes starring Patrick McGoohan, but that’s only one version of the story. The rest is worth looking at. Relaunched

Gary Seven, Roberta Lincoln and Isis the Cat

The web’s most complete site on this back-door pilot from Star Trek gets its seventh major update, with new design and content.

Ornament eBook

Book layout and ebook conversion

This one came to me with the design language set by Liz Boyer of Chalk. I completed the book layout and then converted it to ePUB and KF8/MOBI ebooks in a short turnaround to be ready for the Christmas market. I’m told it peaked at #14 on iTunes in the Biography & Memoirs category.

Trinity Design & Displays Website

Responsive design and streamlined content

Trinity needed an update. Known for their great customer service and quality products, ten years in business yielded a business built on repeat business and referrals.

The Comics Code Authority

“For the children”

Back in the mid part of the 20th century, the United States lost its collective mind. They had won the Second World War and were nervous about being leaders of the world. Fear set in. Fear of all threats, internal and external.

They’d finally gotten movies to adhere to the Production Code. Senator Joseph McCarthy was busy rooting out all the communists and other undesirables in government and Hollywood. Senator Estes Kefauver, not to be outdone, had the US Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. One of the areas of insidious juvenile corruption the committee targetted was comics, spurred on by Dr. Fredric Wertham and his book Seduction of the Innocent.

Great. Cheap. Fast.

There are limits to your resources

This graphic has served as my mantra for a number of years. While this version of the quality triangle is tailored specifically to designers, it speaks to the inherent value in any work and the people who do it. Understanding this makes for solid, equitable business relationships. If one side or the other ignores it, that’s a warning sign.

The PTI Rebrand

One big job for one big company

It started with the Marketing Director, a Marketing Lead (who would be promoted to Marketing Manager in the middle of the project), and myself, the Design Lead (because Art Director would have sent the wrong message in the corporate hierarchy of titles). We sat down in January 2012 and mapped out what we needed to do: website, brochures, tradeshow displays, advertising campaigns, and on and on.

That was the practical part. The other part – the more important part – was the change in PTI’s messaging we hoped to accomplish: it’s not what we do, but why we do it. PTI builds workforce accommodations for its guests. Focus on what motivates the customers, and frame the conversation around that.

John Carter of Mars 2 : The Gods of Mars Poster

Many people have talked about what happened with John Carter (of Mars) – the movie – this spring. The film was good, the marketing was weak, and the unfortunate result is that the sequels are very much in doubt.