Friday, 27 February 2015

Another Cover Without a Cause

Continuing the theme of hopelessly misjudged science fiction book covers, I recently picked up a copy of Richard Matheson's short story collection, Shock! As the author of I Am Legend, a regular contributor to The Twilight Zone, and the creator of the stories which were filmed as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Duel, Matheson was a multi-faceted and versatile writer, blending elements of science fiction, horror and fantasy to original effect. The 'shock' in his work is generally of a psychological nature. However, when British paperback imprint Sphere came to re-issue his early short story collection of that title, they commissioned cover art (by an artist who, perhaps wisely, remained anonymous) spectacularly lacking in subtlety: an axe splitting a bloody skull...

It transpires that a similar artistic formula was employed for the remaining story collections in the series, which can be viewed on the Vault of Evil blog. Matheson's response is sadly unknown.

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