Wednesday 28 September 2011

Apologies for the Delay

I'm on holiday for the moment--back soon.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Mohr Creepiness

Over the last week I've read two novels from a new-to-me publisher, Canada's ChiZine Publications, who specialise in "dark literary fiction", ie well-written horror and fantasy. Horror is not usually my bag, partly because I quickly tire of supernatural stories unless they're tremendously well-written--I need it to be scientifically rationalised horror, ie Alien or The Thing rather than Stephen King nonsense. Of the two, David Nicle's Eutopia: A Novel of Terrible Optimism, a tale of eugenics, forced sterilisation and parasitic lifeforms, was excellent, while Tony Burgess's People Live Still in Cashtown Corners, while well-written, was ultimately mystifying and unsatisfying (the second book by him I've found to be so, despite his excellent script for the blackly comic language-as-disease movie Pontypool).

But what of the covers? Well, all of ChiZine's cover design work is by Erik Mohr, sometimes working with Corey Beep. As you can see below, they've produced some wonderful designs. Indeed, it was Eutopia's cover that first grabbed me...

..that girl's eyes being both completely black and spot-varnished, so that tiny beads of light catch on them and follow you around as you move the book. Look at that expression: you just know she's hiding a set of fangs behind that pursed mouth.

Other ChiZine covers I particularly like:

Thursday 15 September 2011


Another quick post that's really a link to more thorough content elsewhere: Brandon Duncan has, over at his site Corporate Demon Blog, posted a thorough and fascinating look at the background to a cover design: in this case, the marvellously titled The Fuckness. Have a look.

And here's another Duncan cover design for the same author:

I suspect that Mr Prunty is not completely at peace with his fellow man.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Richard Merritt Follow-Up

When I posted about the striking new Vintage Classic Nancy Mitfords recently, I didn't know the designer until the art director of those covers showed up to let me know: they were the work of Richard Merritt. Looking through his other work was very interesting, as I would never have guessed that the creator of these covers was the same as the creator of his previous book covers. This is not a criticism, by the way--it's just that the delicate and subtle Mitford images are quite different from the colourful, dynamic and cartoonish work, full of odd angles and detail bursting out of the frame, that he has done elsewhere. It's intriguing to see such a difference in styles, and make sme want to know what else he'll come up with in the future.



(The last two being picture books Merritt wrote and illustrated--and, indeed, where are Santa's pants?)

Sunday 11 September 2011

Electrified Sexual Positions on a Sinking Ship

Some nice covers revealed in Penguin CLassics US's catalogue for early 2012...

Malika Favre's picto-porno-typographic cover for the Deluxe Classics edition of Vatsyayana's Kama Sutra, which I imagine will wrap all the way round the back and onto the French flaps. The red slashes of the gloves and stockings are the perfect extra element which makes this, I think.

See also Favre's rather more Sapphic variation on this, from her site (click for a bigger version, as the actress said to the bishop):

Then there's Max Ellis's cutaway cover for Titanic, First Accounts, another Deluxe Classics also making full use of the flaps. Here's the front and the full fold-out cover (sorry for the low-res version of the latter, but it's all I could find).

Here's a Max Ellis alphabet, vegetable in theme:

And finally, designer unknown, this simple but eye-catching cover for the great Nikola Tesla's autobiography, using the best handsome-devil photo of him that I know of.

Bonus content: The Doctor Who theme played on twin Tesla coils...

..and this great photo of Mark Twain in Tesla's lab, 1894...

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Long Story Shorts

There's an Australian designer who has done some wonderful covers recently, and who I'm ashamed to say I'd not heard of until I read the excellent interview he gave to Óscar Palmer at his site Cultura Impopular. His name is Dean Gorissen. I urge you to go there to read it, and here's why: the six covers he designed for Australian press Affirm, the 'Long Story Shorts' collections of short stories by emerging Australian writers. Click for bigger versions.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Big Box of Beckett

Having recently seen Beckett performed live for the first time, I wanted to read some more of his work. Looking around for a good collection of his plays, I came across something even better: a glorious big box of his novels, plays, stories, poems and criticism. Me being me, I could not resist. Plus, it does the one image, many spines thing, with that magnificently craggy face, like Abraham lincoln after a big night on the tiles. (Click for bigger images)

The individual volumes are nicely designed, too--though, weirdly, the back covers are more impressive than the fronts. I suppose the unflashy fronts fit Beckett's whole minimal staging ethos.

Here's what's in the box, by the way:

The design was done by Laura Lindgren for publishers Grove Press.

UPDATE: The original hardcover version of this set does use those images on the front covers of the books, so there you go!