14 Jul 2005

In response to this post - indeed, what is going on in the minds of so many contemporary book-cover designers? Accompany me, if you will, in examining the evolution of the cover-design for Robert W Chambers' The King in Yellow.
chambers5
Beautiful...

Chambers_Robert_W__In_Search_of_the_Umknown
[Not The King in Yellow but such a great cover it has to go in anyway]

kiy1
Gloriously sinister...

thekinginyellow
Stylized, but in a good way...

M-132
Bastardization of the last one, but doing its own thing with the design...

C_king4
Superb...

c123
Boring and just frigging ugly.

Is it just that my brain is able to romanticize the older ones, freed as they are from their immediate influences and original contexts? Or is the advance of late Capitalism manifesting truly, indisputably ugly design, as a telltale sign of its own inherent ugliness? Perhaps it is symptomatic of corporate publishing houses losing touch; there are plenty of brilliant designers out there. But evidently they are not making it past the person sitting at their desk saying "we want somthing...slick, and contemporary...it is going to have a matte varnish on the cover", or else they are not able to resist tinkering with tacky plugins in photoshop.

10 comments:

Psychbloke said...

I'm all for a bit of matt varnish - glides across the skin of one's cheek it does - but that green guy second up - he's crying out for a bit of gloss.

A lovely post - thanks....

(Oh and I liked the bike as well - though ther dead rat was kinda interesting too....)

Helen said...

Thanks P.B.
And thanks all of you for the continuous array of super Moorcock covers.
Just saw yer 'goth-on, goth-off' image, looking forward to reading that post.
H

kek-w said...

Awww...them covers is lovely! Kinda made me go all gooey (in an occult kinda way!)

Nick Douglas said...

The first one doesn't look that lovely to me, but you're right, the last is pedestrian. I'm all for the Art Deco cover.

kek-w said...

I like the scuffed 'metallic' green-ness of the 1st one that says old and arcane to me. DEf. devolution thang goin' on there, w/ the last one dipping its toes inyo the Realm of Crap

Helen said...

Ah, but look carefully at the first cover - see the symbol in the top left corner? And turn it sideways, zoom in on it, do a colour replacement and a bad solarization plugin on it, et voila! the last cover. Not only is it ugly, it is not even original.

Doc Holaday said...

Having read this awesome little creepy book, I'm wondering what ANY of the books' cover designers are thinking. The last one is the ugliest, but it is at least an attempt at "the yellow sign" from the book. Demons and monitor lizards? Where did that imagery come from.

http://docs50.blogspot.com

Doc Holaday said...

HA! To follow up, Wikipedia points out that the 'mysterious symbol' in the upper left corner of the first edition (green cover with lizard) is NOT the "yellow sign" in the story, but rather the stylized monogram of the publisher FTN for F. Tennyson Neely. The "artist" for the last cover was so ignorant that he/she recaptured this monogram and used it for the whole image!

Helen said...

Ha! That is really funny. Mutant memetics.

Anonymous said...

The thirth one is a Fake.

Actually, is a PROP made for Call of Cthulhu roleplaying.

http://www.miskatonic.net/pickman/mythos/