Thursday, 20 December 2012

Recreations

There's an ebook publisher called Prologue Books, who do sterling work in resurrecting infamous and sometimes even very good pulp novels from (mainly), the 1940s to 1970s. Often their covers are the standard modern version of pulp covers--moody photos of men with guns, women reclining on beds, and shiny spaceships--but sometimes they've taken the slightly disconcerting step of recreating the original pulp cover images with modern technology. Somehow, mid-20th-Century sexploitation and sleaze looks wrong when rendered in clean digital photography and with sleek Photoshop filters. Here are some examples...



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The painted cover is a hell of a lot sexier (that naked back) and sinister than its photo(shopped) equivalent: the painted man above looks like a dangerous intruder, the photographed man below looks as though he's going out to buy milk after experiencing erectile dysfunction.
 

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Vin Packer was really Marijane Meaker, who was for a while the lover of Patricia Highsmith, and author of a disappointing memoir about their relationship.




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This fantastic cover by Robert Maguire just doesn't have the same kick redone photographically.
 


7 comments:

Jane Housham said...

The re-creations just don't resonate, do they? They should just bite the bullet and re-use the original covers! Very interesting to be able to compare them, thanks

Karl said...

Yeah; if I owned any of those Prologue eBooks, I'd be more than tempted to crack open the file and replace the cover image with the "right" one. The contrast in A Deadly Affair (that beautiful hand-drawn lettering!) and 3 Day Terror just makes one cringe.

OTOH the original cover for A Hare in March is pretty laughable in its own right. (Agh! We're being attacked by giant killer marshmallows!)

JRSM said...

Jane: There's a sort of enthusiastic purity to the original paintings. I don't know why they don't have the rights to them along with the texts.

Karl: I've done just that thing with Calibre, subbing in the original covers.

Cassie @ KnowsProse said...

Wow, there really is a huge difference. I think I might not be able to read this blog regularly. I've seen some truly horrendous video-game-esque covers on reprints of fantasy novels lately (*cough* the new covers for The Dark is Rising *cough*)and it gives me the shivers.

JRSM said...

Cassie, try this Dante cover: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_hvV0JHPYX_I/S0_DR7mSFJI/AAAAAAAAHKM/C6zMBRwxfj8/s400/9780345522238.jpg

T. Ross said...

Wow -- spot on. Those new versions are pretty awful. I will say, though, that I think they did an OK job with the yellow banner and "Crime" bar treatment at the top. That's at least a reasonable design nod to the past.

JRSM said...

Yes, like an old Gold Key-style paperback line.