Saturday, June 23, 2012

The eyes are upon you

I came across this cool clip art the other day .... does the town ring a bell with anyone? It's the locale of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohioan excellent book (and movie). In Midwestern parlance, the story is a humdinger and a peach. Although the book's subtitle, "How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less," could be a bit more grammatical. It doesn't scan as well, but "less" should be "fewer." At least that was drilled into me in many a copyediting word factory. Perhaps this is my chance to publicly relinquish my participation in the grammar police.  (Big sigh of relief.) If she'd been in the right place at the right time, Terry Ryan's mother could definitely have been a Peggy à la "Mad Men"'s Sterling Cooper.
The sign is also uncannily reminiscent of the original dust jacket of The Great Gatsby, a novel we were discussing yesterday.
In Chapter 2 of the novel, gigantic, vacant eyes on a billboard advertise the services of one T.J. Eckelburg, oculist. There's also a bespectacled character called "owl eyes" who supposedly registers the rampant materialism that has become a false god. Below, a cover design by Alvin Lustig that picks up this theme.
A Penguin Books cover, incorporating a detail from Montparno’s Blues by Kees Van Dongen
Finally, leave it to the pulps to take it down a notch! Here are two mass market covers.
They say that with the advent of e-book publishing, covers will become less and less important. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. A good cover can push me to buy a book as well as a good title can. I don't like the idea of storing many titles on a device that could breakdown or be stolen. Think of losing your entire library at once! I guess I'll just have to keep the overloaded bookshelf, and the dust.