That's probably not going to be on a T-shirt anytime soon. It's no knock against the content of the book but it does make me wonder where the knack for crafting cool jacket art went. More than that, it makes me wonder where the appreciation for good jacket art went. It boggles my mind how the original, iconic artwork for King classics is always ditched when a new edition comes out in favor of increasingly bland, boring designs.
I mean, really - take a look and these old vs. new pics...
Who the hell approves of this stuff? The Pet Sematary cover at the top of this post was (and still is!) enough to be scary on its own, even before you cracked open the book. This newer design? Not so much:
I know it's shallow to judge a book by it's cover but the fact that decades later, people still find the imagery from those early King books appealing (to the point where they want to have it on their clothes!) tells me that artwork can make a real impact. Maybe the old imagery on those King books seems juvenile or corny to the people in publishing who make the decisions about these things now. If so, that's a shame. With sights like a hand sprouting eyeballs and crippled Paul Sheldon in the shadow of an axe-wielding psycho, the old artwork wasn't afraid to revel in the pulp status of its material. The new designs all run from it, trying to look hip or clever instead.
The writing still speaks for itself but maybe Fright Rags' King Collection will serve as a reminder that there's something to be said for horror books that don't disguise or apologize for what they are.
To check out more great cover art from the '60s, '70s, and '80s, skip over to Too Much Horror Fiction.