Thursday, 4 July 2019

My Top Ten Book Covers

I'm not normally a Top Ten short of person. I certainly don't have a favourite anything*. But having seen people posting pictures of covers of books that have been important to them over the year, I decided to challenge myself to select my ten favourite covers of the books I have had published to date**.

Before I start, I should point out that this is not to denigrate the work of some fabulous artists I've been fortunate enough to work with over the years, it's just that sometimes some images have a greater impact than others, or turn out even better than expected and completely sell the book.

So here, in no particular order - other than chronologically - are my Top Ten Book Covers***.

1) Curse of the Mummy, art by Martin McKenna (1995)
It's ancient Egypt, it's Martin McKenna (his first full cover for a Fighting Fantasy gamebook), and it's beautiful.

2) The Dead and the Damned, art by Clint Langley (2002)
I was very proud of my first novel, whatever the critics might have said, and I loved the cover even more. Just look at it - it's just so detailed! And check out all those skeletons! I'd been a fan of Clint Langley's since seeing his work in 2000AD so when I discovered he would be producing the art for my first Warhammer novel, I was delighted!

3) Bloodbones, art by Martin McKenna (2006)
It's Martin again and it's the undead pirate captain himself. What's not to love?

4) Pax Britannia: Dark Side, art by Mark Harrison (2010)
This is just such an arresting image, an homage to a classic sci-fi movie, and has the Moon as a human skull. (I've just realised that skulls regularly feature among my favourite book covers, but then I do have Yorick's sitting on my desk.)

5) YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, art by Martin McKenna (2014)
My fiftieth published book was something a bit special, for all sorts of reasons, not least because of the fantastic wraparound cover Martin produced for it, featuring a veritable horde of villains and monsters from the classic gamebook series.

6) Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland, art by Kev Crossley (2015)
The first of my ACE Gamebooks series, published before there was an ACE Gamebooks series, what I love about this cover is the way Kev produced such a fantastic homage to John Tenniel's illustration of Alice and the Cheshire Cat, while also setting the tone for the whole adventure.

7) Shakespeare Vs. Cthulhu, cover design by Emma Barnes (2016)
This cover may only use manipulated stock imagery but it sends a very clear message to potential readers that says, "This book does exactly what it says on the tin."

8) The Wicked Wizard of Oz, art by Kev Crossley (2017)
What I love about this cover is the image of Oz itself (for that is what it is) and the way Kev brought the entity to life.

9) Scrooge and Marley (Deceased): The Haunted Man, art by Garen Ewing (2017)
I've been an admirer of Garen Ewing's ligne claire style of drawing for years, so when he agreed to produce the cover illustration for my sequel to Dickens' A Christmas Carol, it was another thing ticked off my bucket list.

10) NEVERLAND - Here Be Monsters!, art by Kev Crossley (2019)
And so we come to my most recently-published book (as of writing), which features a fully painted cover by Kev this time, featuring one of Kev's favourite things to draw - a dinosaur!

So three of my favourite book covers feature artwork by Martin McKenna, and three artwork by Kev Crossley. Honourable mentions must go to the new edition of the German language version of my first Pax Britannia novel Unnatural History****, and Maria Paolo's cover art for the Argentinian translation of Alice's Nightmare in Wonderland.

* As in Favourite Book, Favourite Movie, Favourite TV Show.

** I'm not including covers of anthologies I've been published in, but anthologies I've edited are fair game. And books that haven't been published yet are ineligible for inclusion.

*** Valid for today only.

**** Apologies to the artist, for I don't know who they are.

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