Thursday, May 9, 2019

A gallery of cover art from Russian editions of King books

Today, I've got something for you that I would have liked to have put out much sooner -- but life gets in the way sometimes, and I've had precious little hours in the week to devote to blogging of late.  Better late than never, though, one hopes!
Anyways, a while back, a commenter named Arseniy left some links within comments on my 2018 King-books rankings in which he pointed our attention toward the cover art for Russian edition of the books.  I asked if he'd mind me turning that into a post, and he said he wouldn't, and I said I would, but then over two months went by.  However, I never forgot about it, and so now, I present to you, courtesy of Arseniy, a look at some awesome editions of King books.
I'll go in chronological order by publication, beginning with:
Carrie -- A decent few of these, you will see, are inspired by one of the movie adaptations.  This one takes its cues from the 2013 Kimberly Peirce adaptation.  I'm a bigger fan of that movie than many people seem to be, and so this cover works for me just fine; it's creepy, and I can easily imagine it lodging in some kid's brain the way iconography from the Brian DePalma version lodged in mine many years ago.
'Salem's Lot -- This one mystifies me a bit, because I don't really know what it has to do with the novel.  But as an image on its own, it's fairly striking, I think.  So this is not a favorite among the images we'll be looking at, but it's not bad.

The Shining -- I've got no idea who did the cover art here, but does it look to you like it's probably the same artist as 'Salem's Lot?  This makes more sense in the context of the novel; that said, if I were blindly guessing what book this was, I think I'd have guessed The Talisman.
Night Shift -- I like this one.  "Children of the Corn," would you think?
The Stand -- That's ominous as hell. 
The Long Walk -- This one isn't great, but this novel must be brutally difficult to try representing via a single image.  Whoever designed this cover didn't get it; but I'm not sure I've ever seen a cover for this book that I loved, so no shame shall accrue to this artist's clan for failing where many, many others have failed before.
The Dead Zone -- This one does little for me, I'm afraid.  You know what I do like, though?  The Russian version of the name "Stephen King," and the design used to depict it.  I also like that black line which runs across the top of these covers; I am hard pressed to say why, exactly ... but I do.
Firestarter -- Pretty cool, if you'll pardon the incorrect pun.
Roadwork -- The bit beneath King's name probably says something like "writing as Richard Bachman," I'd guess.  I'm intrigued by the fact that the road sign itself is in English.
Cujo -- Simple, but effective.
The Running Man -- Our comrade Constant Readers in the East are struggling a bit with the Bachman books, no?  Well, again, so have we, for the most part.
The Gunslinger -- The Tower here looks rather like a church.  Not too big a fan of this one.
Different Seasons -- I like this one, and it's hard to blame any publisher for putting out an edition of this book that plays up Darabont's movie.
I'd know Christine anywhere!  I hope.  I like this one a lot.
Pet Sematary -- Another one which plays with the imagery of the movie version.  Fine by me, because I love this cover; the colors are perfect!
The Talisman -- Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is depicting the moment in which Morgan of Orris passes nearby Jack...?  I'm not sure how I feel about that as a representative for the whole novel, but it's a creepy image that hints toward the book being a dark fantasy ... and that's arguably more than most of the American covers have ever done!
Thinner -- Creepy, with another strong use of color.  Surprises me for this particular novel not to play up the weight-loos angle ... but, again, neither did the American first edition.
Skeleton Crew -- That's "The Mist" being depicted, I assume.  I like it!
It -- This one is interesting.  I'm surprised it's not Pennywise we're seeing, and I'd love to see what a Russian-designed Pennywise would look like.  So that's a bit of a fail, in my opinion.  Everything else about it works for me quite well, though.  And I love the fact than in Russian, It is title Oho.  Excellent!
The Eyes of the Dragon -- This is seemingly from a different line of editions, given the difference in design elements.  I don't have strong feelings about this one way or the other; it probably foregrounds the fantasy elements a bit too much and creates false expectations.
The Drawing of the Three -- Roland looks pretty weird to me here, like he's a teenage dirtbag cosplaying on his way to see a Metallica cover band.
Misery -- This isn't bad, but it's a swing and a miss, I think.
The Tommyknockers -- I like this one.  Very creepy.
The Dark Half -- Striking, and it's obviously got a bit of resonance if you know the book (or movie).  I wonder what a reader totally unfamiliar with either feels when seeing it, though?
Four Past Midnight -- This one fascinates me for some reason I can't quite figure out.
The Waste Lands -- Ooh...!  I love this one.  In case you can't see it, the book Jake is clinging to is itself The Waste Lands, the section describing his efforts to hold onto his sanity after dying beneath the mountain.  Given where the series goes, it's rather compelling for the cover to be so metafictional.  Great touch to have him emerging from the Rose, as well.
Dark Tower 1-3 omnibus -- Kind of cool, though it makes Roland look like the villain.  Which, arguably, he kind of is, I guess; such could be claimed in some ways.

Needful Things -- I like this as an image, but I'm not sure what it has to do with this particular book.  I'm going to wildly speculate that it was an effort to convince Russian readers Needful Things is a sequel to The Stand.
Gerald's Game -- Evocative, simple; another one that gets my thumbs-up.
Dolores Claiborne -- Dolores has never been that hot in her life, but otherwise, I love this one.  I wonder, how would a translation deal with the use of dialect in this novel?  That'd make a fascinating interview topic, actually: speaking with people who translated King into other languages.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes -- According to Arseniy, the note on the table reads, "Run away, if you can."  I can't remember whether that is from one of the stories; possibly "Rainy Season," given the toad we see?
Insomnia -- Not sure what to make of this one.
Rose Madder -- This one is cool.
The Green Mile -- Leave it to Russia to make an electric chair look more terrifying than it already is!
Desperation -- Another one with effectively color; makes me feel a bit queasy, which is not entirely a bad thing for the cover to a horror novel.
The Regulators -- Nice design for the vehicle.  Creepy!
Wizard and Glass -- Seemingly from a different publisher.  Man, I love this cover.  That's probably the scariest version of Blaine I've ever seen.  Well done, Russia!

Wizard and Glass -- Kid's on his way to another cover band.  This is alright otherwise, though.
Bag of Bones -- More strong color design.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon -- Did the God of the Lost take her shirt away?!?
Hearts In Atlantis -- This one is weird.
On Writing -- I like this; not entirely sure why, though.
Everything's Eventual -- This one is striking; does it point toward any of the specific stories?  I don't need it to, just wondering; none come to mind for me.
Wolves of the Calla -- Another winner; that's an excellent Andy.
Song of Susannah -- Pretty solid Oy there, I'd reckon.  Who are the men supposed to be?  Jake and Pere Callahan?
The Dark Tower (Book VII) -- Yep, I like this one, too.
Blaze -- Very reminiscent of the cover to the first American edition; probably modeled on it, actually.  And this one is by far the better of the two, if you ask me.
Just After Sunset -- I don't know what's going on here, but it's got more sideboob than any American edition of a King book ever had, so that's something.  A striking image even without that aspect, though.  No idea what it's got to do with any of these stories, but hey, so be it.  I'd take it over the lame American cover art any day.
Full Dark, No Stars, obviously enough.  Not bad.
The Wind Through the Keyhole -- Awesome!
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams -- Another one that is similar to the American version.

Thanks again to Arseniy for bringing these to my attention!   It's very cool to me to think that there are Constant Readers over there, and indeed all around the globe.  Seems like I ought to have something more profound to say than that, but profundity is not a houseguest of mine this eve.
In any case, The Truth Inside The Lie sends a hearty hello to Russia, and hopes all is as well as can be for anyone who reads it.
UPDATE -- August 7, 2019
Arseniy has come through for us again, having sent a bounty of additional covers via the comments below.  I thought it made sense to add them into the post proper, so here goes, in the same mode as before:
Danse Macabre -- This is striking, and I'm not sure I can explain to myself why I find it to be such.

Storm of the Century -- This one is a dud for me.

Dreamcatcher -- I love this one; simple, but good.

Black House -- Great use of color; doesn't communicate much except tone, but do you need more than that?  I'd say no.

From a Buick 8 -- This one is a little goofy (the man looks as if he's trying to start the car via telepathy), but I like it nevertheless.

Faithful -- Okay, I have to say ... I think it's righteous that this book got published more or less anywhere except North America.  It's just such a niche topic that it's really impressive to me to consider that King's fanbase in Russia must be significant enough that even a nonfiction book about baseball would be translated there.  I love that.  And I kind of dig this cover, too.

The Colorado Kid -- I imagine all of Russia's King fans rose up as one and said "nyet!" to the non-ending of this novel.  Or, you know ... maybe not.  Maybe they're well-conditioned to an existential piece of work like that.  This cover seems to be selling something else, but, again, I dig it.  The colors are sickening, in the good way.

Cell -- This one doesn't do much for me.  Seems like a student project where the students were tasked with conveying how the phones were responsible for violence.

Lisey's Story -- Boo'ya Moon, I presume?  I like this one.

Duma Key -- I like this one, too, but I take points off for the fact that Edgar isn't missing an arm.  Or if it's not supposed to be Edgar, I take off points for THAT.

Not sure that cover sells the idea of an American flag, which I assume is what it's going for.  But I also can't imagine that books with American flags on the cover are particularly desired in Russia.

It's about an amusement park!  Like many of the ostensibly non-creepy covers, I nevertheless find it to be creepy in a way I can't explain.

Doctor Sleep -- I love it.

Mr. Mercedes -- Nice motion on Brady's stolen car.  Effective cover.

Revival -- Is there a cover for this novel that doesn't feature lightning?  Or electricity of some type?  If there is, why?  That'd be dumb.  This cover isn't dumb; I like it a lot, actually.  Certainly it's preferable to the boring US cover.

Finders Keepers -- Intriguing; I don't love it, but it's okay.

End of Watch -- Who dropped that umbrella?  Why'd they drop it?  Where'd they go?  I don't know what this has to do with the novel, exactly; but it's an image that does kind of draw one in, isn't it?

Sleeping Beauties -- Kind of cool to see the Cyrillic version of "Owen King" up there, eh?  Not sure this cover sells the novel's concept in any way, but it's kind of bucolic in its way; so it's a good representation of part of the plot.

The Outsider -- Ooooh...  I dig this one.  So simple, but very effective.
Great stuff.  Thanks again to Arseniy!


  1. (1) You nailed it re: Drawing of the Three.

    (2) Interesting collection. I do really love that Pet Sematary one. And The Tommyknockers. Most of the ohters, not so much.

    (3) Rose Madder is cool. I like the picture for Insomnia, but I don't really know how to tie that image into anything from the book.

    (4) ooo, Bag of Bones is cool, too.

    (5) No Duma Key! I googled, though: Not bad. I prefer the color design of the US edition.

    1. (5) I like that! But yeah, for sure -- in this case, the American one wins by a mile.

  2. Man, that cover of Wizard and Glass with Blaine is just awesome. I like most of these from an aesthetic standpoint though a few of them seem to have a vague-at-best connection with the stories within.

    1. It's true. But I'll take that over bland covers like the American hardbacks of Just After Sunset, Night Shift, Insomnia, etc., any day of the week.

      I like that Blaine cover enough that I'm tempted to try to find a copy online somewhere. Probably a futile notion, but you never know.

  3. The note on the table on the Nightmare & Dreamscapes cover is from "You Know they Got One Hell of a Band".

    Is it me or were they trying to draw a grown up Kate Maberly for The Langoliers cover?

    Love the ones for Pet Sematary and especially The Talisman (why aren't any of the American covers half as good as that one?)

    1. Ah! Of course it's "Hell of a Band"! Good call, Flip, thankee-sai!

      That is 100% Kate Maberly, absolutely.

      Glad I'm not the only one who digs "The Talisman" one. I think that's the first cover for that novel I've ever liked!

  4. Fabulous post for the cool content. I was in Prague same time last year for the first time ever and passed a consignment bookstore. The owner was chatting it up with a customer in Czech, and I waied for a break in the convo to ask... "Do you have any Stephen King books, perchance?" And he gives me a quasi-hipster, supremely flippant, pretentious... "Stephen King?" retort. It smacked of the scene in Ferris Bueller, "You're Abe Frohman? The Sausage King of Chicago?" It crawled all over me. And I said, "Yeah, you know, Stephen King, MASTER of horror." And it cracked him up, and we ended up having a great chat. He sadly didn't have any SK, but he pointed me to another bookstore where I found a trove of King books and mulled over the various cover art for the better part of an hour. This post heartened me back. Good stuff, Bryant!

    And I like the Chritine cover here a lot. The car's a little off, but the headlights and darkened windshield look glorious, as does the winter sunset color grading.

    Cooper T

    1. In Soviet Russia, winter sunset color grade YOU!

      Sorry, couldn't be helped.

      That Czech bookseller must get that question a lot and resents it. Such is one's lot in life as a customer-service representative.

  5. I hope that was in your best Dolph Lundgren voice. That's how I'm picturing it anyway.

    As for that color grading... January embers, baby.

    1. Nah, it was in my finest Yakov Smirnov, actually -- but if anyone imagines anything I do with a mental overlay of Dolph Lundgren, I call that a win.

      Sidebar: what King character would you cast Lundgren as?

  6. Wow, Yakov Smirnov... That's a choice cut from the 80s comedy curve. Even better!

    Hmm... Lundgren as an SK character? Tough one. There's probably some low hanging fruit I'm overlooking or an obscure player in one of King's shorts, but I think I'll go with some fiction inside the fiction. It just feels right for this blog. I'll say ALEXIS MACHINE from The Dark Half. I keep hoping Richard Bachman will write Steel Machine one of these days!

    1. I'd be down for that -- and Lundgren as Machine is a great idea. The best I could come up with was The Major from "The Long Walk," which would just be a glorified cameo.

    2. Good call on the Major, cameo or not. He’s got the look for sure, and I’d love to see TLW adapted.

    3. I'm amazed it hasn't happened yet. It could be made very cheaply, and just seems like a natural to me. If someone put me in charge of it, I'd make it on an ultra-low budget and film it as though it were being made in the early seventies; pretend it's a Vietnam-era relic someone had dug up.

    4. I would FLAT OUT pay to see that movie. Get someone like Walter Hill to direct it. Oh yeah.

      Circle gets the square...

  7. "This one is striking; does it point toward any of the specific stories?" Maybe 1408 given the key?

    This site was pretty neat in terms of chronicling the covers but they haven't updated since before the DT series finished.

    1. Oooh, good call -- I bet that IS supposed to represent "1408"!

      Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

  8. I'm not sure about the Dark Half... Are they African or European starlings?
    I liked some, didn't like others. Good article though!

  9. Mr. Burnette:

    I thought some of these were very good and would make really nice wall art. Does it seem to you that a lot of them look like they could be from the same artist, with that bright light in the centre of the cover thing going on?

    1. Oh, yeah, for sure -- if it's not the same artist on many of them (which seems likely), then it's a house style for that publisher. And even the ones I don't like that much have a sort of personal touch to them; it reminds me of old paperbacks, where you always felt that somebody had put some effort forth, even if they weren't necessarily all that good at it. Give me that over bland design any day of the week.

    2. No, they are from one publisher. No, ОНО in Cyrillic sounds like "ono". I can't publish a comment on my computer and I only now understanded that I can do it from my phone. That's the reason I haven't published more cover art.

  10. Here are all other Stephen King books cover art, with no particular order:
    From top to bottom:
    Mister Mercedes
    Finders keepers
    End of the watch
    Storm of the century
    The Colorado kid
    Doctor sleep
    Duma key
    Black house
    Danse Macabre
    Lisey's story(this one and "From a Buick 8" haven't been republished for a while and look old because they ARE old)
    From a Buick 8
    The Outsider(all ney SK books are first published in expensive covers and after ~ 4 years are published in cheap format and then, after another year, it is published in paperback)
    Faithful(last time it was published was looooooooong time ago and now it's FINALLY published with good cover art)
    Joyland(for some reason, it still wasn't published in cheap cover)
    Sleeping beauties(for some reason, this SK book got 18+ rating and ALL others(including "It" and "Library policeman"!) got 16+ rating)
    11/22/63(you won't need to know Russian to read the title)
    That's all cover SK book cover art we have in Russia! Hope you will like them! (As I said before, "Rage" and "Cycle of the werewolf" were published in Russia SO long ago, that their covers are AWFUL.)

  11. Shit! Sorry, I accidentally left the nubers before //https which I used so I won't be confused! Just delete those numbers and links will work!

    1. No problem -- in fact, I'll paste them here for the benefit of anyone who wants to check them out:

      Mr. Mercedes --

      Finders Keepers --

      End of Watch --

      Storm of the Century --

      The Colorado Kid --

      Dreamcatcher --

      Doctor Sleep --

      Cell --

      Duma Key --

      Black House --

      Danse Macabre --

      Revival --

      Lisey's Story --

      From a Buick 8 --

      The Outsider --

      Faithful --

      Joyland --

      Sleeping Beauties --

      11/22/63 --

      I'll save my individual responses for later (I'm going to update the post and include all of these), but to respond to some of your own points:

      That's wild about "Sleeping Beauties." Any idea why it was rated that way whereas "It" and others weren't?

      Regarding "Faithful," I'm curious -- is baseball well-known in Russia? If not, I'm impressed that King has a large enough fanbase there for such a niche subject to be translated.

      Thanks so much for sending all of these!

  12. Errrrrrr... My comment on wich I said that wasn't published...

    1. It went to spam for some reason. But I've marked it so it shows up now. Thanks again!