Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Little Art Appreciation

• One of the things the British Web site Crime Fiction Lover does best is, every September, it rolls out a succession of posts hailing some of the genre’s classic works and authors. This last month brought forth an especially diverse selection of such pieces, all of which you should find listed here. Prominent among those was an article titled “10 of the Best Pulp Crime Books,” not only highlighting such yarns as Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye and Erle Stanley Gardner’s The Case of the Glamorous Ghost, but featuring memorable jackets from those novels as well.

I wrote in July about publisher William Morrow releasing retro-style paperback versions of Neil Gaiman’s popular fiction, featuring cover paintings by the great Robert McGinnis. The first of those softcovers—the 10th anniversary edition of American Gods—came out in mid-August. A second, Stardust, went on sale in late September. But my favorite among this new bunch (and shown on the right) is the latest release of Anansi Boys, which Gaiman says should be out on October 25. McGinnis’ rat-filled cover for Neverwhere should see print at the end of November.

• Since Killer Covers deals primarily with vintage paperbacks, this piece from the blog Books Tell You Why caught my eye. It examines three ways in which development of “the paperback caused a small revolution” in publishing. Point No. 2—“Gave Struggling Writers and Artists the Opportunity to Reach an Audience”—is noteworthy for the following comment about the artwork appearing on such less-expensive works:
Those pulp artists who had been lending their talents to cheap magazines found that they could be just as easily hired to design covers for Of Mice and Men instead of Man’s Life Monthly. The smaller size and reduced exposure meant that the illustration had to be twice as eye catching as a magazine cover. Not only did the covers impact the sale of the book, they often outshined the content housed within it. The collectible nature of these volumes continues to be based on the cover of the edition rather than the book itself.
• BuzzFeed offers two dozen examples of how book covers released in the U.S. and Britain have differed from one another.

• Speaking of such disparate tastes … This post in Spine recounts graphic designer Craig Fraser’s approach to creating the UK edition of Thomas Mullen’s recent historical thriller, Darktown—a novel about which I wrote appreciatively for Kirkus Reviews.

• It seems stairs have become a common cover theme.

This has to be one of the cheesiest book fronts ever!

• Just incrementally superior are these covers from author Robert Lory’s 1970s astrology-based series of Horrorscope novels.

• Here’s one of the weirder blogs dealing, not infrequently, with book- and magazine-cover illustrations: The Art of Diving. Just as you might have guessed, it focuses on artistry involving scuba diving, snorkeling, and futuristic submersibles.

• Finally, the extensive links list that usually appears in this page’s right-hand sidebar has temporarily disappeared. The problem originates with the Blogger software, not yours truly, and seems to have affected some blogs but not all. I’m assured that engineering types are tackling this widget failure with deserved seriousness, though “restoring the gadgets may take several days.” We’ll all just have to hang tough until things get back to normal.

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