Wednesday 24 August 2011

Sepia Mitfords

Forthcoming from Vintage Classics, a reissuing of Nancy Mitford's four biographies of famous persons, with rather ace matching covers. All use limited sepia-toned palettes, silhouettes and lovingly detailed patterns. I wish I knew who had done these. [UPDATE: They are the work of Richard Merritt] My only concern is that the usual red spines of the Vintage Classics series will look a bit glarey here--perhaps they could make an exception and do them in a rich chocolatey brown?

Click for somewhat bigger versions.

Faber Faces Front

These came out in early July, but I only just saw them for the first time in an Australian bookshop. They're a set of reissues from the Faber & Faber backlist, the 'Secrets and Lies' collection, each of which uses a big photo of a face for the cover. I'm not sure why, but they don't quite work for me. Perhaps it's that, though many of these are historical novels, the photos themselves look so new--though why this should bother me, I don't know. So much for intelligent criticism. They are, however, a welcome change from the usual headless cropped photos on book covers.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Skottie Young's Oz

I've never read a comics adaption of a book: it seems somehow redundant, even though I really like a whole heap of different comics. Any why should a comic version of a book be any more redundant than a movie adaption? Well, this is an argument with myself to be continued at another time. What I'm getting around to is the wonderful work of comics artist Skottie Young, who for several years has been producing wonderful covers for a series of comic adaptions of Frank Baum's Oz books.

These covers (shown here sans the various corporate logos, barcodes and other elements which usually disfigure comic covers) are really something special: funny, off-kilter, sometimes disturbing, and wonderfully energetic. Click all for much bigger versions.

For The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

For Ozma of Oz:

From The Marvellous Land of Oz:

And from the current Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz:

And for bonus excellence, have a couple of illustrations he's done for Austen's Sense and Sensibility...

..and Golding's Lord of the Flies.


Current reading is David Rose's The Vault: An Anti-Novel (the subtitle coming from the fact that part of the book is a novel, and part is the annoyed commentary from the man whose life story inspired the novel). It's really good!

I bought it on the strength of a very positive review that I now can't find, and am very glad I did. This is true even though a lot of it concerns sports (competitive cycling, in this case), and the world of sports is not just a closed book to me, but a closed book locked in a safe, sealed in concrete and sunk in a pit of toxic waste. Fortunately, it also concerns sniping and nuclear espionage, among other things.

The cover is a lovely bit of work by the great David Pearson: it doesn't attempt to graphically represent anything from the story: it just uses text and simple shapes to seize the eyeballs.

Thursday 11 August 2011

"It's like it's on fire!"

Posted on Peter Mendelsund's blog:

I have no idea if this is the actual final cover (the book's not out until January), whether Peter was the designer, or how many layers of jacket were required to create that effect, but I love it and want it NOW!

(For my interview with Peter, see here.)

Thursday 4 August 2011

Virginia Woolfs

Another set of Penguin Hardback Modern Classics, following on from these lovely Fitzgeralds, is this forthcoming set of five Virginia Woolfs. Designer and artist as yet unknown. I assume the artwork will wrap all the way around the back and onto the flaps. Click to embiggen.

Covers That Aren't But Ought To Be 2

UK-based illustrator and designer Neil Webb has done several published covers, like this for Portobello books...

..but I also really like these speculative covers he's done:

Click for bigger versions.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Fake Faber

A bit of an odd case this time round, with a cover noted by Welsh correspondent Miss Disco. A newish collection of Welsh poets from Parthian Press is deliberately aping the look of 1980s-era Faber & Faber poetry covers, even down to using Albertus (the font designed especially for Faber by Berthold Wolpe*), and mimicking the repeating publisher's logo in the background.

Cover design by Lucy Llewellyn

Compare this with the Fabers...

This is the first time I've seen this overt tribute/mimickry applied to a non-Penguin classic design.

* Although, as it turns out, Faber did not use Albertus for those covers...