Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ruben Toledo II

Last year Penguin got fashion designer Ruben Toledo to do three covers for their Deluxe Classics range. The response amongst commenters here and elsewhere was somewhat equivocal, but obviously they sold well enough, because there are another three coming soon: Dracula, Jane Eyre and The Picture of Dorian Gray.



They're certainly eye-catching, though I'm not sure that I really like any of them. It's also the second time Penguin has recently Deluxed and otherwise gussied up two of these books, having recently had comics artists Dame Darcy and Jae Lee do illustrations for Jane Eyre and Dracula, respectively.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

the penguin classics dracula is hideous

JRSM said...

The more I look at it, the more I have to agree.

Thomas at My Porch said...

The Dorian Gray is ridiculous. Oscar Wilde would not be amused.

Toemailer said...

Dracula just very bad, not even funny bad.

Craig D. said...

Dracula is my favorite novel (and I don't even like vampires -- go figure), and it always hurts me to see an edition with a bad cover. That one at the top is just shit. My favorite cover actually belongs to a cheap Bantam paperback from 2004. (http://tinyurl.com/ykf9cy9) It seems the more effort they put into these to make them "striking," the less successful they are.

I was also interested in The Illustrated Dracula when I heard about it, but the reviews I've read haven't made it sound all that great. Just listen to this review at comicsworthreading.com: "This book fails the flip test. If something's title includes the word 'Illustrated,' you ought to see pictures when you flip through it. I didn't. There are only 40 pictures in a book of almost 400 pages. No wonder I didn't see them! Once I went looking for them, I found them generic: a horse's head. A scary bald man with long fingernails. The same again, only from the back. The same, with a close-up head shot. A woman from the back. A front head shot. A figure in cloud. An arm with strings. A bat. A dog." I think I'll save my money.

I just checked Amazon.com, and it's selling right now for $5.68, on sale from $21.95. That's 74% off. And I still don't want it.

JRSM said...

That Bantam cover is surprisingly effective. I haven't seen the illustrated Dracula in the flesh, but "looking inside" on Amazon, I couldn't actually see any of the illustrations--if there aren't very many, that would explain that. The edition I have is from arty publishers Four Corners--it has a few illustrations, but the outside is a replication of the original edition, and it uses different era-appropriate typefaces for each of the narrators. http://www.fourcornersbooks.co.uk/Dracula.html

Craig D. said...

That edition looks quite nice and I've been tempted to buy it, but I just can't bring myself to do it. I've already violated my rarely-violated rule of not wasting money on new editions of books I already own -- I've got three editions, one of them the gigantic New Annotated Dracula (10x9 inches, 3.5 pounds), and it's already such a fine edition (aside from the editor's annoying decision to treat the story as factual) that the idea of buying another just seems silly. Not when there's so much unread and unbought books out there that I want.

Matthew Adams said...

Thomas at My Porch, I would disagree only so much as to say that in my judgement, The picture of Dorian Gray is the best of the Ruben Toledo covers (though best of a bad bunch isn't much of a recomendation).

Tulkinghorn said...

What is even more depressing than the vulgar cover art is Penguin's continued belief that the only classics worth promoting are the same dozen or so gothic/romantic/Austen-related books they've been doing special editions of for the last ten years or so...

JRSM said...

To be fair, it's only the Ruben Toledos that seem restricted to "gothic/romantic/Austen-related books ": the Graphic Classics list has writers like Voltaire, Kerouac, Melville, Dumas, Marx/Engels, DeLillo, etc.

James O'Meara said...

Most all of those Penguin Deluxe covers are awful, and in what I can only assume is a deliberately "post modern" sneering way. I like to think Jack Keroauc would have punched out the guy behind that Dharma Bums cover. It's a shame, becasue they are, production wise, indeed Deluxe editions, what with the self-jacketing and deckled pages.