After reading Charlie Gower’s post on tantramar about the cover Chris Ware did for Rousseau’s Candide, I checked out the Penguin Deluxe website for other covers by cartoonists. Most of them are fairly recognisable, such as covers by Art Spiegelman, Seth, Roz Chast and Anders Nilsen respectively :
Not only do these covers immediately jump out as different than all the other book covers you see on the shelves, the cartoonists never even tried to shy away from their trademark style (which is not to say that I don’t like them – I think this is a very interesting project, and the books are more beautiful than most).
What struck me, though, was that I’d not recognised two covers as being by cartoonists, namely those by Frank Miller (for Gravity’s Rainbow) and Tomer Hanuka (for the Marquis de Sade). They looked to me as covers made by bona fide book designers, not cartoonists trying something else for a change.
I’m not really sure what I prefer – the books that sport covers that have a high “comics ephemerist” value, or the other ones. I do know though that, if Frank Miller were to look for a different profession after comics and movies, book design would be a very valid alternative.