Friday, August 20, 2010

H.P. Lovecraft Paperback Covers: Draining You of Sanity

On this, the 120th anniversary of the birth of the greatest and most influential horror writer of the 20th century, I present a small portion - a very small portion - of some of the amazingly gruesome, sometimes ridiculous, and indeed, sometimes inaccurate, H.P. Lovecraft paperback covers.

11 comments:

lazlo azavaar said...

These are great. I have the "At The Mountains of Madness" and "Lurking Fear" paperbacks pictured here, and love them intensely. In fact, I have that whole set of Del Rey paperbacks (minus one, I think...but give me time).

Ben said...

I absolutely love both of those psychedelic "Dunwich Horror" covers... never seen either of them before.

I remember as a rather-too-serious teenage Lovecraft fan, being so incensed by one of the 'illustrations' on those omnibus editions (the one with big toad demon biting the heads off naked ladies) that I actually tore the cover off my copy...

Will Errickson said...

Yeah, it's funny how few of these actually depict anything in the stories. The Del Rey ones with Michael Whelan cover art are probably the most famous; they were definitely the ones I started with.

Anonymous said...

I love your site Will! Those Lovecraft covers are great--I've always been amused by that "Mr. Toad" cover of Shadow Over Innsmouth (fifth from the bottom).
As a kid I was traumatized by the covers of the Ballentine editions, particularly one that showed a padlocked head bursting open, releasing a flock of red bats. Brrrr!

OhSusannah said...

The "At the Mountains of Madness" (3rd from bottom)isn't a half-bad rendition. The thing is... when I read Lovecraft -- not until very recently -- I'm trying to figure out what he's describing --'It has HOW MANY eyes?', etc., so the cover can either be very helpful or damned confusing.

Will Errickson said...

That "Mr. Toad" cover is obviously a frogman's head on Nosferatu's body! And I love the screechy psychotic weirdness of that last MOUNTAINS cover too; I think it's the most accurate in depicting a monstrous entity that would drive a person mad. Reminds me of Ralph Steadman's work.

Rabid Fox said...

Wow. Some of those are just stellar. What a bygone era.

Oriel said...

I really like the surrealist tree / hand cover; some of the others are a bit garish! I've got the Penguin modern classic Lovecrafts, which have rather lovely covers.

Shaun Anderson [The Celluloid Highway] said...

Marvellous selection of paperback covers there Will - I have the Panther edition of THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD in my own collection. I cant get enough of 1970's paperback horror!

w. h. pugmire, esq. said...

I have always enjoy'd those intricate Panther Horror covers -- there was also a fine one for Hodgson's THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND in that same style. Arkham House has had some fine jacket art as well, but the current jackets are, in my opinion, bloody awful, an insult to HPL.

Will Errickson said...

w.h.p., I am no fan of the latest Arkham House covers either! Unfortunately my own edition of Hodgson's book is from Carroll & Graf with a so-so cover.