Submitted for your approval: The features front of Monday’s Virginian-Pilot.

It ran sideways, so it’ll look tiny here. Click on it a couple of times for an extra-gargantuan view.

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The creator of the illustration — the supremely talented Sam Hundley — tells us:

It began as a personal piece unrelated to the flu! I offered it to the paper when the flu story hit and then I got sick with it!

Don’t worry. I converted the PDF he sent me to a large JPG. I’m pretty sure that will filter out any of the bugs Sam might have been carrying.

And while he was indeed out sick at the end of last week when the page was finally assembled, he did return to work in Monday.

Sam adds:

Please credit the talented designer, Stacy Addison, with the wonderful way she worked that tidbit into the art credit:

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Note that the main illustration is superimposed over a National Geographic map of the U.S.

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This fits in with the “found art” style of sculpture Sam’s been developing over the past few years. He calls it “scrap art.” And he’s good. Real good.

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But there’s even more irony (Scrap? Irony? See what I did there?) here. Over the past few years, Sam’s done work for National Geographic. For a while, he illustrated a monthly feature. And then he did a cover for them last year.

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Born and raised in Phoenix, Sam started his newspaper career as a staff artist for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and moved to the Virginian-Pilot in 1981. In 1990, Sam moved to the San Jose Mercury News where he was named design director of features, but then returned to the Pilot in 1994.

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He’s also the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. Even when he has the flu.

I most recently wrote about him here. Find Sam’s web site here, but be warned: You’re going to want to spend a lot of time there.

Average daily circulation for the Virginian-Pilot is 142,476.