Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin's Covers

The excellent F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is being turned into a movie. Presumably this means that we can expect a horrible edition of the book using movie poster art in due course. However, since the story is also in the public domain in most of the world, a number of publishers have decided to publish their own cash-in editions. All the books shown below came out, or are shceduled to come out, in 2008.

The story itself concerns (surprise!) Benjamin Button, who is born an old man and then ages backwards to become a baby, living his life in reverse.

First we have the Scribner edition, which contains only the one story, in huge type.

Then the Coyote Canyon Press edition, which includes other stories, and avoids illustrating the title at all by using an old piece of art done for another great Fitzgerald story, Bernice Bobs Her Hair. This was originally the cover art of Flappers and Philosophers, Fitzgerald's 1920s story collection.

Then we have the Juniper Grove version, with more clock action.

And the Penguin Modern Classics UK version--with another clock.

Penguin UK are simultaneously releasing a Red Classics version, sans clock.

Then there's a graphic novel version, with art by Kevin Cornell.

Finally, we have the best of the bunch: an elegantly simple illustration for the cover of the Penguin Classics US version.


Anonymous said...

The last is indeed the best - but for that goddamn silver medallion. I wonder if it's removable.

JRSM said...

I fear it isn't--other recent US Penguin Classics have had them printed on (saying things like 'NEW TRANSLATION').

Still, at least it's not a picture of Brad Pitt.

ArtSparker said...

The stork with the big red bag is mighty tasty too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love that cover for Bernice Bobs Her Hair. One of my favourite Fitzgerald stories. How odd that it's not in the book.

JRSM said...

It ('Bernice...') has also been turned into a very catchy song ('Bernice Bobs Her Hair' by The Divine Comedy, on the album 'Liberation'.