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Friday, August 08, 2008

Alive in Necropolis

Jacket design by Hyunhee Cho
Illustration by Tomer Hanuka

Nope, not a graphic novel. A very well-received debut novel, with names like Haruki Murakami, Paul Auster and Joss Whedon thrown about in reviews, but not a graphic novel.

What do you think, readers? Given their popularity, are we going to see the graphic novel aesthetic on more book jackets? Would this cover make you notice the book laid out amongst other titles, or would you never pick it up (if you don't like graphic novels)?

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Apt Design said...

At the moment it is tough to take this book as seriously as perhaps it should be because of its cover design. Although I like graphic novels this book wouldn't stand out to me as a more 'serious' work.

For one thing I think you lose some subleties of design by using this kind of illustration.

So I guess while I don't see a big push for more books to include manga-influenced illustration, it can certainly be another resource for book designers to tap into.

The Book Designer said...

I would never pick it up. It looks juvenile and like it is in the worng section of a book store. Not to mention the theme is not carried through. If you're gonna do the comic thing, at least carry it through to the type treatment.

The problem with this aesthetic for anything other than comics or graphic novels is that it will always come off as a comic picture book.

I think this treatment has it's place in a youth section targeted towards tweens and teens. I think that section of the market may receive a treatment like this with more sympathy.

So no. No, no, no.

Anu said...

Hi, I recently came across your blog, and find it extremely interesting and informative. Have become a regular reader now and look forward to your posts everyday. Thank you :)

This cover reminds me of a scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I don't find it terribly interesting, but it would intrigue me enough to pick it up and browse through.

Erik said...

Yes. In fact, I was pushing my one-year-old son around the bookstore in his stroller--entertaining him with race car noises while my wife looked at some other books--when I first saw this book in the new fiction stacks. I halted our momentum for a quick perusal. It was the quotes by Murakami and Auster that convinced me to purchase it.

I'm especially fond of novels that are literary in scope and prose but push beyond the confines of reality (Murakami is an absolute favorite), but such titles are usually hard to spot. This book, shelved in fiction with its graphic novel aesthetic jumped out at me like a flashing red light.

I will admit though, if I'd seen this book shelved as Science Fiction or in Young Readers, I'm not sure it would have made an impact.

ERIC said...

The illustration is Disney-esque to me, (someone who knows nothing about graphic novels) and so is the yellow.

To the other erik—

"I'm especially fond of novels that are literary in scope and prose but push beyond the confines of reality"

I see what you mean, but the problem with the illustration is there nothing is 'otherworldly' about it, just a cop in a graveyard. So why use an comic illustration like this? Wouldn't it be better to treat it as literary fiction, instead of making it look like a teenager's book?

So Joseph, what to you do?


Ricardo said...

I love this blog =)

If I'm not mistaken it´s the work of Tomer Hanuka (, or at least looks like it. There are other covers that he did that are more interesting I think:

The Vintage Ohara

Marquis de Sade

Joseph said...

Ricardo: Yup, you're right. Thanks!

Adrian Denegar said...

Yeah, definitely looks like a youth novel of some sort. I find the quote on the very top a bit silly, though. "[the author] nails it." What does that mean, he can write?

That gravestone on the right there looks like it just sprouted ears!

Mobisop said...

ricardo, yeah. i love this blog also. this is best

Leigh said...

I would never, ever pick it up.

ed said...

Though I agree the type is out of place and poorly handled, I think this type of illustration definitely has a place outside of comic/graphic novel/teen book cover territory in general. This treatment might not be the best application for this particular book, but the examples posted above are great book covers that aren't juvenile by any means. Sorry to be so long winded, but I though some of the comments above were a bit narrow-minded.

It's a refreshing sign that different styles of illustration are finding more applications outside of the expected norm.

Joseph said...

FWIW, this book is fantastic so far (I'm about 1/2 way through).

Ricardo said...

I have to agree... maybe we should be looking at a varied collection of covers using this kind of illustration. One cover really doesn't say much about a graphic novel aesthetic in book jackets.