The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Midweek Miscellany


There’s been much speculation online about who designed the wonderful hand-drawn cover for Big Machine by Victor LaValle (pictured above). Thanks to the nice folks at UK publisher No Exit, I can finally identify the designer as Lynn Buckley, who originally designed the cover for the US publisher Spiegel & Grau.

Collected — Gary Groth, co-founder of alternative comics publisher Fantagraphics, talks about the state of the industry with the Comic Book Reporter (via Robot 6):

By and large, nobody publishes alternative comic books anymore. The reason is fairly obvious; since the reader knows it’s going to be collected in a graphic novel, there’s very little reason for them to buy a twenty-four page comic of something he’s going to get a year or two down the line as a graphic novel, and in the way it probably ought to be published anyway, collected in a single work. I think it’s just an inevitability of the rise of the graphic novel as the dominant form of alternative comics. I don’t know how accelerated that’s going to be for mainstream comics. It feels like it’s headed that way.

Lingua Franca — Tim Parks on translation and international literature for the NYRB:

[N]either readers nor writers are happy any longer with the idea that a literary text’s nation or language of origin should in any way define or limit the area in which it moves, or indeed that a national audience be the first and perhaps only arbiter of a book’s destiny. We feel far too linked, and linked in the immediate present, not to want to see immediately what books are changing or at least entertaining the whole world. And if we are writers, of course, we want our own books to travel as widely as possible.

And finally…

Chisel Away — An interview with designer Christopher Brian King, art director at Melville House, at Slated Magazine:

On a conceptual level, [designing for book covers] actually isn’t much different from designing a logo, for example. After all, a logo has to give you a glimpse into the whole story of a company, so it comes down to the same challenge: how do I chisel away at this big, complicated story until it becomes a single elegant image which explains what the whole thing is about? Where book covers differ is that you have a much larger toolkit to work with—typography, color, illustration photography, production tricks, or anything else. Since it’s so open-ended, the real challenge starts to become figuring out which tool is best to use on any given project.

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  1. Love it. I couldn’t agree more with Christopher about there not being that much difference between designing a logo or a book cover.

  2. Thanks for sharing our interview with Christopher Brian King! His work is fantastic.

  3. You and your secrets…

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