Thursday, June 30, 2016

Of Yellow Flair and Facial Hair

Between my efforts to assemble a rather long feature for Kirkus Reviews about summer crime-fiction releases and my work on an even more extensive list of summer books for The Rap Sheet, plus my recent eight-day vacation in Minneapolis, the month of June seems to have gone by with extraordinary swiftness. As a result, I’ve fallen behind in producing new posts for Killer Covers. But I hope to get back into my usual prolific groove as we roll into July. Below are a few interesting links to keep us all going in the meantime.

• The “pulp-inspired” U.S. paperback cover of Anthony Horowitz’s James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis (2015), is quite a bit more eye-catching than its earlier hardcover counterpart, don’t you think?

• Speaking of Ian Fleming’s famous yarns, here’s a batch of lovely tribute fronts for the Bond series, “inspired by the iconic Pan and Signet jackets published in the UK and U.S. during the late 1950s and 1960s” and “using images from vintage magazines.”

• According to The Wall Street Journal, yellow has become the preferred color on book covers, thanks in large part to the fact that it shows up well even in the thumbnail images so popular on Web sales sites. “Color contrast makes a cover pop,” writes Lucy Feldman, “but the highest-contrast combination—black and white—can be a turnoff for publishers, who worry that without color, the book won’t stand out. White covers in particular recede against the white backgrounds of Amazon and other online retailers. But yellow jumps off online pages and it can support both dark and bright type and graphics. Also, it carries no gender association and can signify anything from sunshine and optimism to a danger warning, making it a strong choice for a variety of genres and topics.”

• Flavorwire jumped the gun a bit recently in making note of author Ray Bradbury’s 96th birthday; he wouldn’t actually have hit that mark until August 2. (It seems contributor Alison Nastasi confused the anniversary of his death in 2012 with his natal day). Regardless, Flavorwire’s gallery of 30 classic Bradbury book fronts is wonderful. I’m proud to say I own two or three of those editions.

• Bearded men represent a growing trend on romance novels!

• The Helvetica typeface has always been a favorite of mine, probably because my architect father used it so prolifically in his plans and illustrations. As Simon Garfield opined a few years ago in his book Just My Type, “Helvetica is a font of such practicality—and, its adherents would suggest, such beauty—that it is both ubiquitous and something of a cult. The typeface even inspired a compelling and successful movie (Gary Hustwit’s Helvetica), whose premise is that on the streets of the world, the font is like oxygen. You have little choice but to breathe it in.”

A rare and captivating 1963 fold-out cover.

• I only signed up for Facebook in order to promote my postings in The Rap Sheet and Killer Covers. However, I’ve found it a useful resource for gathering images of classic paperback fronts. Two group pages, in particular, have proved useful, and you might consider joining them yourself. The first is the Today’s Inspiration Group, a companion to Leif Peng’s older blog of the same name. The other is a page representing the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, which promotes the work of authors who pen “novelizations … based on screenplays for movies and TV shows,” and others who concoct original novels employing “existing characters from movie[s], TV series, books, games, and cartoons.” Oh, and if you want to “like” The Rap Sheet’s Facebook page, you can do that here.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Yellow as in Giallo, those old Italian slasher books got it right after all!