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Book Covers; Something to judge them by?
Topic Started: May 23 2007, 06:49 AM (22,938 Views)
Funhouse
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There's a fascinating article here by former Penguin designer David Pelham who was responsible for a lot of their brilliant covers from the late sixties through the seventies:
http://www.creativereview.co.uk/crblog/pen...s-david-pelham/

Interesting comments about the cover for Barth's Lost in the Funhouse in particular. And a good story about his last minute overnight design for A Clockwork Orange which went on to become an icon. I have that edition and absolutely adore it.

I'm interested in the different editions that publishers put out for foreign markets. See my blog entry for On Chesil Beach for a comparison of the British, Canadian and American editions:
http://web.mac.com/b1b2/iWeb/blah/blog/blog.html

Anyone care to nominate some favourite cover designs? I'll suggest first up a novel that is totally designed: Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan. It has different colour ink for the text of each chapter, fantastic marbled endpapers and William Buelow Gould's actual fish images on the cover and before each chapter. I had a chat with Flanagan about the design and he insisted on total control over it and amazingly enough he got a mainstream publisher (Picador) to agree to that and to actually print it as he wanted it. Not only that, but it's a brilliant novel by one of Australia's finest authors. This is the cover:

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Pointsman
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The cover of Joesph Campbell's 'The Hero With A Thousand Faces' is one I always admired.

The interesting thing about book covers these days is the difference between european and american versions.

Not meaning to offend anyone on this forum, but american book covers are some of the ugliest I've ever seen. The Gabler edition of Ulysses anyone?:

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Ugh....
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Docpacey
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'Maps of the Imagination: the Writer as Cartographer' by Peter Turchi

The cover is not so exceptional, but the entire book is gorgeous. great paper, beautiful historical maps, graphs and illustrations. It's a book to be read in bits and pieces, like eating a box of chocolates.


The other end of the spectrum, as far as covers are concerned, would be any post-film-adaptation cover, whereupon the actors' images are placed. I avoid these like a plague.
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WilliamTwellman
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Has anyone seen the recent run of Penguin books with covers done by famous comics artists? The Chris Ware Candide is exceptional. Frank Miller's one for Gravity's Rainbow was a little underwhelming. In general I like a really nice graphic design featuring a piece of art or a photograph that compliments the mood of the piece. I've always loved the photgraphic covers on the Vintage Black Lizard crime books for example.
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Mudfrost
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WilliamTwellman
May 23 2007, 10:41 AM
Has anyone seen the recent run of Penguin books with covers done by famous comics artists? 

I've seen them and like some quite a lot.

Here's Paul Auster's (a trilogy I like very much):

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Also like Dorothy Parker's:

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kline19
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I think "yiddish policemen's union"'s cover is pretty exciting.

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ions
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Again William and I are of opposing views. I rather like Miller's shot at Gravity's Rainbow. One of my favourites in fact.

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The new release of Foucault's Pendulum is quite nice. Looks good sitting beside The Island of the Day Before and the The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loanna which are also swell.

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The hardcover of Mason & Dixon is neat with the lucite slip on top of the dust jacket. In agreement with Mudfrost about The New York Trilogy and with kline19 about the new Chabon. The Chabon's dust jacket appears to be plastic, maybe made from recycled plastic. Interesting texture to it for sure.

Decent job on this Middlesex cover.

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The Penguin Modern/Modern Classics look okay but it's a shame that they're always of such poor quality. The paper stock is coarse newspaper, spines crease from a gentle breeze and they yellow quickly as if from kidney failure. Fortunately the Penguin Classis Deluxe editions are well done, the Miller Gravity's Rainbow, East of Eden and Pevear and Volokhonsky's Anna Karenina for example.

The Vintage printings of Dostoevsky's work is very nice. Usually I enjoy Randomhouse's Everyman Hardcovers even though some of the earlier runs don't even have dust jackets. Immaculately made with acid free paper. The seams are always dead straight and they are just about perfect.

I almost forgot sweet Dolly's lips!

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If you enjoy covers this is a fun site: http://www.covers.fwis.com/ which coincidentally is discussing the Miller Gravity's Rainbow. I submitted it weeks ago and they ignored me. Oh well at least it's up now.
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ions
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Oh! Oh! This one too!

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suzannahhh
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ions___

it's a beaut all right!
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brandon1025
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i don't like that penguin has changed their "classics" format lately... i liked the pale green spine more than the new black with orange stripe format they've gone to.

I really dug all the black and white covers on those older versions: Vineland, On The Road, etc.

I guess I'm a sucker for good black and white photography.

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Tudwell
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I like the Vintage International edition of The Sound and the Fury and the cover of Underworld. Mason & Dixon looks nice too in all its simplicity.
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obliqueone
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I really like the Gravity's Rainbow cover with the blueprint on it.
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onefatman
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I love this cover (don't know how to add a picture)

http://www.libri.de/shop/action/productDet...0141183632.html
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ions
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Posted Image

Code:
 
[img]http://media.libri.de/shop/coverscans///171//1718364_0141183632_xl.jpg[/img]
is how that was done.
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Docpacey
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hate that cover btw...not at all the way i'd picture Kim, one of my childhood favorite characters.
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WilliamTwellman
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how do you put a picture in?
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suzannahhh
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William
See up above the ox where you write a reply?
see where it says IMG?
cliuck on it
an thin little box appears
put the url for the place online
where you have the image stored flickr or wherever it might be
then click ok . . .
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ions
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LA Times article called 'Cover Me'

Quote:
 
Most often the artists are selected by Penguin art director Paul Buckley, but occasionally authors chose for themselves. Thomas Pynchon said, grandly: "Sure, I'll put 'Gravity's Rainbow' in your series — but you have to get Frank Miller." Amazingly, they did. A second case proved simpler: Paul Auster and Art Spiegelman are friends. Spiegelman's art for Auster's "New York Trilogy" shows a deep and easy familiarity with Manhattan, with the pulp fiction from which this contemporary existential masterpiece emerged and with Auster himself — an ink portrait on the back flap shows a lean and youthful Auster, fountain pen in hand, one eye blanked out by a magnifying glass. Spiegelman weaves this motif throughout, rendering a score of lost eyes staring from the background of the cover. It's a haunting conceit, emerging from the work while concentrating its meaning.
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ions
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Getting a kick out of almost all the Penguin Graphic Classics
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brandon1025
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suzannahhh
May 24 2007, 09:09 AM
William
See up above the ox where you write a reply?
see where it says IMG?
cliuck on it
an thin little box appears
put the url for the place online
where you have the image stored flickr or wherever it might be
then click ok . . .

hmmm... i just want to try this to see if i can get it to work...

Posted Image

i really liked this cover, and was supremely disappointed when the paperback came out with that giant pale face on it.
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