Adventures in Art – McGinnis’ Gaiman Covers

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I’m pretty sure everyone and their cousin has already seen these, but I wanted to share them anyway… One of the things I love about Neil Gaiman is that he’s a huge dork, and I mean that in the most affable, complimentary way possible. There’s a great post about this on his blog, but the gist is that Gaiman was talking with his publisher about the lost art of paperback covers, and ended up asking the legendary but semi-retired Robert McGinnis to do retro cover art for new paperback reprints. McGinnis is well-known for his movie poster art, specifically for Bond films and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and an untold multitude of paperback covers, including a number of high-profile series: Perry Mason, Carter Brown, Travis McGee, Shell Scott, Mike Shayne, the 87th Precinct. This is probably because at one point—roughly 1957 until 1978—McGinnis was single-handledly responsible for painting every book cover, movie poster, magazine cover, billboard, street sign, line on the interstate, etc. etc. (Well, at least it feels like that some times. Like when I walk into a used bookstore and can point to between 12 and 67 different McGinnis covers.) Point being, he’s one of the artists that defined the paperback medium for decades, and even as he creeps up into his nineties, he’s still got it. Add in great lettering by Todd Klein and you have some winners right here.

What I love about these new Gaiman covers is how they jump style and decade to match their material. The Stardust cover reminds me of something from the early-’80s, like the covers for Vance’s Lyonesse. Neverwhere just oozes gothic undertones, even though she’s not fleeing a chateau or something. Anansi Boys looks more like the usual fare McGinnis did for his crime and sleaze novels, while American Gods looks like an apocalyptic novel trying to capitalize on the success of The Stand. I must own these.

(Click to embiggen.)