New and exciting blog the Eschatologist has an interesting and charmingly non-judgmental article on the redesign of the Left Behind novels
and what the new covers say about how pop culture imagines apocalypse(s).
Aesthetically, I like the new typography—much more modern, fun, and refreshing. The old covers had an extremely formal design, with the horrible faux-stone 3D effect on the serif type. This made the apocalypse seem like a done deal, to be honest, which robbed the novels of any sort of suspense that their protagonists might, you know, actually lift a finger to attempt to struggle against evil rather than calmly waiting out the Tribulation. Also, the type on the old covers looked too much like a movie poster, which is presumptuous.
Image-wise, I am split. The photos for Left Behind, Soul Harvest, Appolyon, Assassins, The Indwelling, The Mark,
and Glorious Appearing
are clear improvements. Tribulation Force
's new cover is terrible. It looks like a dull book on American policy in the Middle East. No one wants to see photos of faces on the covers of trade fiction books. It is simply Not Done.
The cover of the original edition of Nicolae
is terrible—the new one is a much better photo, artistically speaking—but I agree with the Eschatologist that it kind of screws with the meaning. Carpathia is not supposed to look like an old Soviet bureaucrat. For fuck's sake. The original one is a terrible composition but at least it keeps the whole Antichrist-as-charming-visionary aesthetic.
I disagree with the Eschatologist on the cover of Assassins.
I don't disagree that it's racist as fuck. It is definitely racist as fuck. It's prettier, though. The original looks like a Clancy cover.
I can't make up my mind on Desecration.
Personally, I'm just not sure a book with dead fish on the cover will sell. Who is their target market, exactly? Does this target market like dead fish floating in blood and, more importantly, are they likely to either buy it to put on their bookshelves or give it as a gift? "Just what I wanted for Christmas, Aunt Maude! A book about dead fish floating in blood." Whereas on the old cover, it's clear that the Antichrist is rising and means business, and they manage to get this impression across without dead fish floating in blood. I'm just sayin'.
Both of the covers for The Remnant
suck. Come on, book designer! This is a series about the end of the world—you really couldn't find a better photo to use?
The old cover for Armageddon
is the clear winner. As a book designer, if I'm given the choice to show the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or a helicopter flying over an explosion, I'm going to choose the former every time, if only because the movie Live Free Or Die Hard
is pretty much the end of the story in terms of illustrating helicopters and explosions. Also, horses are cool.What Would Sabotabby Do?
Both covers for Glorious Appearing
are a bit shit, mostly because they missed the boat. That's the book where Jesus comes back and shoots laser beams out of his eyes and burns all of the sinners in a pit of lava (sorry, I guess that was a spoiler). That is the sole reason why anyone would pick up the book, to read about Jesus with laser beams shooting out of his eyes, and you're telling me that the designer couldn't be arsed to put that scene on the cover? What. A. Waste.There, I fixed it.
I really like the new clock graphic, too. Subtle, Tyndale. Very subtle.
Still, this would be a very difficult book design project, both because a designer would have to actually read the books and also if you don't do a good job, Jesus will kill you with his laser eye-beams, so I doff my hat to the person tasked with this endeavour.