Re: RARA-AVIS: covers, Stark House

From: Jeff Vorzimmer (
Date: 26 Jun 2008

I thought I read somewhere that the cover photos of Stark House's Gil Brewer and Harry Whittington books were original photos that were used as source material for original painted covers of hardboiled crime books from the 50s, which I thought was interesting.

A word to the designer, though--as a designer myself I see a lot of missed opportunities on the Stark House covers. For example, the black and white photos on the above-mentioned books could be rendered as duotones, maybe even high-contrast duotones with interesting color combinations common in the 50s and 60s, but not blue as in the Day Keene or green as with the Gold Medal Trio. Another example: the nickels on the cover of Rabe's Murder Me for Nickels were a too obvious choice, but even so, older buffalo nickels would have given the cover more of a older, nostalgic feel, even though the nickels used were contemporary to the book. All in all, the SH covers are gradually getting better. The designer is learning his trade with each cover. You can still get good cover art on a budget. I do it with the design of CD covers all the time.

Designers should also keep in mind that original cover art can be used as long as they get rid of any logos. Under the old copyright laws, cover art could not be copyrighted.


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