Korean OMW Covers
Posted on February 18, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 32 Comments
Dude, I totally love this artwork. The first picture is the front cover, the second the back cover (NB: the edge of the front cover is clipped on the right because I’m a bad photographer).
Seriously, this is one of the reasons I love foreign versions of my work (I mean, aside from the money) — I love seeing how publishers in different countries handle the artwork. This is one of my favorites so far. I’m going to have to see about getting a print of both of these.
Very late 60s cover, in US sci-fi book / magazine styles.
I prefer the Chinese ones, personally, but these are cool.
Did you ever find out who the artist was on the Chinese one?
Oh wow! It’s indeed very cool to see how covers change in non-English editions. That was most of the fun I was having perusing the book tables at Worldcon in Japan in 2007.
Maybe you should see if the cover artist who used to do all the “Doc Savage” covers back in the Seventies is still around–I think his name was Bama–to do one of your novels someday. Bama’s artwork was always very realistic (well, as realistic as you’d get with a 6’5″, bronze-skinned, body-like-a-young-Schwartzenegger’s, superhero with multiple semi-superhero friends) and well done.
I have almost no input on who is used to do the cover of my books. That’s generally up to the publisher.
Man alive, I love those. I keep a design library at the Studio – and those are must-haves. (To go with the reading copies of the original editions!)
I dislike these covers more than I can say. Someone needs a spanking, seriously. “This is ‘art’?” is what they seem to be asking. My answer is “No, not really.”
Too bad too since I’d like to read the Korean version.
I’m not sure why you’d be forced to not read a book just because you dislike the cover.
Wow, those are creepy.
I guess not having input on the covers might be somewhat akin to not having input on who plays who in a movie or TV version of your work–maybe you like the choice, maybe you don’t, but as long as it sells…
Matt Thyer: Is it within the realms of possibility that Kroean publishers don’t really give a rat’s rectum about whether their titles are going to go over in Washington state? Just as I have my doubts Tom Doherty and his merry band spent any time at all market testing the cover art for the US/UK editions of ‘Old Man’s War’ in Seoul.
Maybe I’m missing something, but do those covers have any relationship with what’s inside? Apart from the title I mean.
@Craig Do you think? I’d agree with you that they probably don’t care and didn’t test those covers in Washington. In fact, I’d go one step further and speculate that there wasn’t any testing done anywhere and they simply wraped a couple of very good novels in the first pair of paper grocery bags they had at hand. At least we know they are recycling.
@John Yes I can remove the cover (or cover the cover) and since I really enjoyed the english versions I’d like to see how the translation turned out. I hope you don’t take my distaste for cover art which you had no control of as a personal afront. If at any time you’ve felt in the least bit bothered by my opinion (which I doubt) please accept my heart felt appology as well as my sincere gratitude for writing some of my favorite words. If you’ve not been bothered at all please ignore my appology and rest easy knowing I’ve read OMW so many times that the cover on my paper back (English version) is all but rubbed away.
Also let me apologize for my spelling …
O Very Correct Scalzi, you are very correct indeed.
Yes, you are a bad photographer.
We of the Executive Committee of The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club have firsthand knowledge of this and have suffered greatly as a result. In spite of our constructive criticisms and our providing some very simple to follow yet powerful tips you persist in posting terrible images of Her.
How wonderful it is you have finally taken the first big step toward resolving this situation: acceptance. You can only improve from here.
We look forward to numerous excellent images of the Beauteous Ghlaghghee.
The Official Ghlaghghee Fan Club
I like the covers. They remind me a little of the work of Dave McKean, and (the front one at least) a little of black-figure vase work. Hmm … tell you what, Scalzi. You write a sci-fi novel set in Homeric Greece, and I’ll do the cover.
… or I’ll just go do a tribute cover to Dan Simmons’ /Illium/. That works too. :D
Kaba, I take it from your post that you did not read the book. To the extent that a pair of portraits can have something to do with a book, these two portraits do. And in a very subtle, non-spoilery way. But, nonetheless, they fit this book far better than any other book I can think of.
I’d like to think that we can comment at Scalzi’s webpage withour worrying too much about “spoilers” for Scalzi’s breakthrough novel. So defending the artwork on its merits (ie, its relation to the work inside) should be acceptable in the thread.
The relationship of art to novel I see is that the dude on the front is the old man version, and the dude on the back is the soldier version. The guy has white skin on the front cover and green skin on the back cover. And on the back he looks to have some kind of COM device wired into his head. Not particularly subtle I am sure there are additional nuances I am missing.
So Kaba, come on. “do those covers have any relationship with what’s inside?” To paraphrase Seth Myers from SNL… “Really?”
My immediate thought on the front cover:
“Hey, it’s Old Batman’s War!”
I did read the book, albeit some time ago, but I can’t remember any of the characters wearing carnival masks at any point…
Hmmm… The back cover portrait is obvious, but I’m as puzzled as Kaba about the front.
Now you owe it to yourself to watch Attack the Gas Station to pay the Koreans back in kind!
Do it! You will not regret it.
Wow. I mean WOW. I’m totally with Matt. These covers actually repel me. I don’t buy books for their covers, but I’m not sure I’d buy something that ugly even if I liked the book. Call me shallow. I’d wait for a pb, a reprint, anything else. I’m more a Whelan / Picacio/ Dos Santos / Wurts SF-art fan.
(I do have all your books).
For those puzzled by the front cover, maybe it would help to see all the white parts as hair (tho’ I admit I can’t remember if Our Hero had a beard).
Re. covers in general–I do buy books for their covers sometimes, especially when they’re books in a series. I like them all to match, and if they’ve been reprinted, I can choose my favorite cover style.
It’s annoying when publishers change the cover “pattern” partway through a series…
I think Susan figured it out. “Old” dude has darker skin (think weathered) with a white beard/mustache/hair. I don’t think it is a mask at all…
I get the old man/young, green man parallel to the book, but I’m with those who don’t like the cover art. Opinions, huh?
By the way, can anyone familiar with Korean publishing reading here tell us if it’s standard to put the author’s name on the back cover?
@Kaf That really depends on how the text is laid out. If its laid out traditional Korean style the “back cover” is actually the front of the book. I can’t read any of the Korean text, its way too small in the images, but I’d imagine that the UPC at the bottom the second image indicates its laid out “western” style.
@Kaf Which means that “John Scalzi” is in big bold letters on the back of the book. This is just plain strange … or maybe avant guard … or I’m with Emily.
This book reads in the standard western way, so my name is indeed on the back cover. I don’t mind, personally.
Not about the art, which is awesome, but about the prevailing response to it here. Masks? Seriously? Y’all need to get on down to your local libraries and spend an hour looking through books of 20th century art. Or maybe browse Wikipedia or Google Images.
Here’re a few things to get you started:
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso
The Conversation by Henri Matisse
Ballad of the Stars by Richard M. Powers
Frankly, I’m more bothered by the typography. Grunge typewriter with Impact? Yikes.
Yeah, the typewriter font was an acutely odd choice.
Jeff, what’s funny about that is that I actually saw the Picasso painting you linked to only three weeks ago in NYC.
I’m more of a DaVinci guy though, as far as paintings go.
Can’t see how it would help me with the covers though :)
The old man front/green man back interpretation seems to have some amount of merit. Well, still not too impressed with the covers.