New artwork for Bukowski paperbacks (1 Viewer)

Here's the new artwork for a few paperbacks that Ecco is releasing in the spring. As you can see, Barbara Martin's designs are being retired. You can't stop progress and life moves on and all that crap, but it's going to be hard to think of Bukowski's books without the Black Sparrow covers. In my mind, the artwork is synonymous with the content.

ham.JPG women.JPG Post office.JPG
 
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HenryChinaski

Founding member
yeah I saw those a while back when a friend of mine at Ecco was still working on them. they're pretty good. I'm my opinion, they're a lot better than his original ideas. I hope he doesnt get pissed off at me for posting these...but its cool to see the huge differences in the designs. he said that Ecco wanted him to design covers that would appeal more to teenagers.

I like Women the best.

[images removed]

theses were the covers he first showed me. the ones that nymark posted were the ones that they were more comfortable with. if you ask me, the first ones appeal more to a younger generation. oh well, you win some you lose some.
 
the 'new' versions certainly don't equal the CLASSIC originals. I guess everything eventually changes (not always for the good...). Ham On Rye with the CAMEL TOE would have been funny (not sure how it ties in, but you can never go wrong with TOE!). Not sure John or Linda would have appreciated that one..... Thanks to BOTH for posting.
 

mjp

Founding member
Ahhhh...those proofs of the new covers are utterly disappointing and depressing and cheap. I think I'm going to be sick.

The initial Terry Richardson-esque grubby close up photos are more in keeping with the spirit, but they are not good either (and the big chain bookstores would all pass on the crotch shot cover anyway).

The cover doesn't matter, I keep telling myself, but man, those illustrations are PURE SHIT.
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I'm out of synch with you, mjp. I kind of like the newer HAM ON RYE cover with the kid Buk in short pants kicking the ball, but I hate those original closeup photo covers. They look sleezy to me. I try to picture myself reading them on the bus and I couldn't do it.
 
of the three, i just can't imagine HAM ON RYE without the yearbook photos...
the new covers are BLAND. They mean and do nothing.
I'm not in marketing but I don't see how those lame covers increase sales......
 

mjp

Founding member
I kind of like the newer HAM ON RYE cover with the kid Buk in short pants kicking the ball...
I think he's supposed to be duking it out with someone. Either way, they all look like clip art, like something some entry-level Ecco office temp put together in MS Word. Cheap, generic crap.

But what do I know.
 
You hit it! Clip art. That's a perfect description for these covers. It give me an entirely new appreciation for the HUNDREDS of covers that Barbara Martin designed.
 

ROC

It is what it is
and the back cover of the new Ham on Rye reads "from a harrowing, cheerless childhood in Germany...".
Ones first two years hardly constitute a childhood.
I don't think they bothered to read his biography.

Oh yeah, and.... the new covers blow....hard.
Post Office looks like clip art from the 1940's!
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
who got the bright idea of changing the covers to begin with?

you'd think they would want to keep the very original black sparrow covers to get the authentic feel of reading each work. i can't imagine discovering bukowski with those new covers. but then again, this all goes back to that famous old saying "you can't judge a book by its cover" and let me tell you, truer words were never spoken.
 
you'd think they would want to keep the very original black sparrow covers to get the authentic feel of reading each work.

What would give you that idea? As long as it'll make money they'll use it. The covers remind me of one on a book I read called Snow White and Russian Red by Dorota Maslowski (I think she has those funny-looking characters in her name like Kierkegaard's first). They're probably just making them look more modern so they can make money on them. Who knows, maybe this kind of thing will start some boom in interest. I think the kiss and the cameltoe are hilarious.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
well if ecco was smart, they wouldnt rely on stupid fucking covers to try to make money. they should rely on the work, the work itself is what should be making the money. i know sometimes thats not the way it is...but thats just what I think. ECCO reminds me of a huge fucking retail store like Wal-Mart that only cares about making money, and not about the product they sell. It saddens me to no end that Bukowski's work is represented by a fucking shitty publisher. things were so much better with John Martin and Black Sparrow Press. It's a sad state of affairs, what's going on today.

there, I said it.
 
well if ecco was smart, they wouldnt rely on stupid fucking covers to try to make money. they should rely on the work, the work itself is what should be making the money.

If that were the case, advertising wouldn't be a multi-billion dollar worldwide business. Image sells. Unfortunately, you CAN sell a book by it's cover. That's why guys like Chip Kidd are paid very well to design covers.
 

hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
I don't care what the covers look like. as long as the words are still in print, someone somewhere will read it. whether I like the cover or not is irrelevant.
tho the world does need more cameltoe.
and cowbell.
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
I don't like the new covers either. I guess they are acceptable but in no way as good as the original covers (at least they did'nt choose the initial cover photo's. They are way too extreme and apart from the tongue photo for "Women" they don't relate to the contents of the books. What has false teeth in a glass got to do with "Post Office"?).
If Ecco have any respect for Buk and John Martin's Black Sparrow Press they'll keep the original covers but as usual it's all about selling copies and making money...
 
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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
I think he's supposed to be duking it out with someone. Either way, they all look like clip art, like something some entry-level Ecco office temp put together in MS Word. Cheap, generic crap.

But what do I know.

mjp: Right, he's fighting, not kicking. I should never go on memory, even short term, but I do it all the time. I'm a hazzard. Anyway, you're probably right about the new art being cheap generic crap. I really wouldn't know. I have no design sense -- at all. I do like that one drawing, though, of the kid. The Post Office drawing is dull. The Women one is okay. It goes without saying that the Barbara Martin Black Sparrow Press covers are classic, far above anything seen from Ecco. I guess I accept it as a given that, with Bukowski becoming a mainstream author, there will be new covers on everything, and other new covers after that -- the way the publishers keep redesigning Kerouac's covers. I figured the Black Sparrow designs didn't have a chance of surviving very long. Given there will be new covers, you hope they will be good, or at least not lousy. The photo covers are better design -- I'm guessing -- but they have a shock value that may put off many potential readers, and I wouldn't want to be seen carrying them in public. The drawing covers are tamer, and just okay. I imagine we'll see some truly horrible covers in the future that make these new ones look not half bad.
 
Recovering from the re-covers

Here's the new artwork for a few paperbacks that Ecco is releasing in the spring. As you can see, Barbara Martin's designs are being retired. You can't stop progress and life moves on and all that crap, but it's going to be hard to think of Bukowski's books without the Black Sparrow covers. In my mind, the artwork is synonymous with the content.

I agree with you. The new "Eck" covers? Three thumbs down (I have an extra one I save for special occasions). So, Barbara Martin forever. At least for me the understated but artistically euphonious covers of the originals set the stage for the roaring contents within. And it was as though Bukowski, John and Barbara were of like minds"”or better, of one mind. I think the new publishers underestimate Bukowski's name-drawing power alone and they might have still done well by maintaining the original production designs. But now, of course, they don't have to pay Barbara royalties. Instead, they can delegate the new artwork to one of their in-house comic book slaves and pay him by the hour, keep the art rights for themselves, and hope that the artist knows a Bukowski from a babbling baboon with a bumbrating bazooka. "”Poptop.
 
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The thing about the Barbara Martin designs was the minimalist typographic beauty of most. They focused on the words that make up the titles. And, most of Bukowski's titles were second to none. We live today in a world of manufactured images created for the passive reception of information. But, the creation of beautiful books has always had a marketing concept, even if to a small market. It's probably the connotation that "marketing" carries with it that bothers purists the most. Then again, I would guess that the thing that bothers us most about these new Ecco covers is the feeling that the designer probably didn't read the work.
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Then again, I would guess that the thing that bothers us most about these new Ecco covers is the feeling that the designer probably didn't read the work.

MarkDB,
You are 100% right, I think. By these covers, a reader would think that:

a) "Women" is a book of Lesbian Erotica.
b) "Ham on Rye" has something to do with that Camel-Toe
c) "Post Office" - What the Fuck do the teeth in a glass have to do with it? Buk was 51 when he wrote P.O. Certainly not an old man....

It will be funny to kow how many copies of "Women" are returned to the store by upset fans of lesbain erotica. You certainly cannot judge a book by its cover...

Bill
 

bospress.net

www.bospress.net
Also,
It will be interesting the see the following titles with the following covers:

1) Last Night of Earth Poems - A globe with a big mushroom cloud over it
2) Septuagenarian Stew - A bowl of soup, with the name and title spelled out in alphabits
3) The Captain in Out To lunch - Something with Pirates, probably
4) What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire - HOT woman walking through fire.
5) Bone Palace Ballet - Green Bones "dancing " around each other in a ballet, of sorts.... (Shit, they already got that one!)

You may laugh, but let's see how close I can get to these awful ideas of covers... I bet that at least one will end up as an actual cover. I don't need any royalties, I just want credit!

Bill

(edit) I just re-read the posts and see that the pphotocovers are the working titles... I thought thew three covers were the finals. Glad to see that they are not. The actual ones and clearly not as bad. Still not great, but not bad. The fact that Buk is sticking letters on the cover makes me think that the person actually read the book. Still....
 
I thought thew three covers were the finals. Glad to see that they are not. The actual ones and clearly not as bad. Still not great, but not bad. The fact that Buk is sticking letters on the cover makes me think that the person actually read the book. Still....

Bill, are you still celebrating NEW YEARS!?!! :)
Say that again, especially the last part?

plus, ECCO is busy copying your COVER ideas as we speak...
I see a pix of a FLY on a BAR for an upcoming re-release...........
 

Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Bill:

Your predictions on future photo covers are dead on. I would have a tough time making myself buy a Bukowski book with a cover that irrelevant and cheesy. Only one beer? I would have guessed two.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
it's certainly the end of an era. it's hard for me to separate the covers from the books, for sure... and i've always thought of the city lights editions as "lesser" somehow, even though the content is as good as anything bukowski ever wrote (in my opinion, i guess). but on the other hand, changing the covers does preserve the barbara martin designs in a specific time period, and a specific moment for literary publishing, and that could be considered a slim positive, i suppose. anyway, i'm all for bringing new readers in, and at least having summaries on the back may do that (although they don't sound like they're correct... that's another story).

unrelated: i'm new here... how long after a thread has been dead is it considered bad form to respond to it? thanks.
 

ROC

It is what it is
yeah....the concept of B. Martins work representing a golden era of Buk publishing sits well! :)
 

Bukfan

"The law is wrong; I am right"
unrelated: i'm new here... how long after a thread has been dead is it considered bad form to respond to it? thanks.

Well, maybe mjp should answer this one, but it's my impression that you can always "revive" an old thread. Happens all the time. They don't die, they just "hibernate"...:D
 
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Rekrab

Usually wrong.
Jordon: Many good points you make. I, too, always felt the City Lights editions were somehow lesser than the Black Sparrows, like they just didn't care enough. Not to say I don't like some of the City Lights covers, I do, but Barbara Martin's designs are superior. You're right; now that they are being replaced, they take on even more of a classic status. It's ironic to think that the first generation of Ecco editions will become collectible for their Martin covers, even though they are inferior productions.
 

mjp

Founding member
unrelated: i'm new here... how long after a thread has been dead is it considered bad form to respond to it? thanks.
It's fine. A lot of new users resurrect old threads, I know I would if I was reading through all of this now.

At least you are looking at the old threads. Sometimes new users will tend to ask questions that have been thoroughly talked out, and some of the old-timers (if you can be an old timer on a year old forum ;)) stay away from answering, which is understandable. Better to bump an old thread than start a new one that doesn't get much response.
 

mjp

Founding member
With all the discussions on the varying qualities of books, maybe we missed another possible scenario.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2092-2557653,00.html
These Chicken Little stories of libraries becoming extinct due to the internet are bullshit. Books aren't going anywhere.

Film was supposed to put an end to live entertainment, and television an end to film, and video games and end to society as we know it. We still have live theater, live music, film, books, and almost half of the teenagers can read, so I think this is all a bit alarmist.

Newspaper and magazine writers, and talking heads on TV news just need something sensational to push, and what's more sensational than the death of culture?

I wouldn't be surprised to see a tease for the 6 o'clock Los Angeles news that said, "Those books in your attic can kill you! Tune in to see what experts say about the dangers of paper and ink, and how your children are at risk."

Yawn.
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
not only are the new paper-backs to have generic new covers but also the text will be condensed and the size of the book will be smaller than the black sparrow and earlier ecco ones.

what a gyp for new readers.

p.s. he showed the people at haper/collins this thread. I'm sure they either got a good laugh or were appalled. either way, I'm glad it was brought to their attention.
 
I'd sooner see the feux-pulp look than that terrible Factotum film-promotion edition. Christ, those are the fucking worst. Honestly, I'm apathetic about the covers, at best, new covers are the publisher's invitation to a visual artist to comment upon a literary work. At worst, it is an attempt by publishers to create new interest in an old product. I'm surprised they didnt throw in a forward essay, or an appendix exerpting letters or fragments or something that would make owners of the book shell out for a new edition. That being said, when something new comes out, there is the cringe reaction of change- I'm sure you could bash the old covers but since there is a nostalgia to them... that's why I hesitate to bash something new but to consider it. Then again, it is a pity that they got rid of Buk's painting on "Women"- that's his statement, Christ...
 

HenryChinaski

Founding member
yeah ya know, I never thought about that. instead of doing completely different covers, they should've incorporated something of the original covers with something totally new. I think the end result would have been a lot better. But I guess you can't have your cake and eat it too.
 

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