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Curious Covers - Prince of Thorns

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Curious Covers - Prince of Thorns

Last year, Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence was one of the most well received first novels in some time. Debuting to both commercial and critical success, Lawrence has had several reprints, and will be released in paperback in the UK in April.  Any day now the foreign editions are going to start popping up.  Wait, what?  The Spanish edition is out?  Well, let's take a look!

Wait... is that the same illustration from the US and UK editions?  No.  No it's not.  Sure looks like it though, doesn't it?

Oh, wait, maybe they just altered some of the color and shadows like they did on the paperback edition in the UK?

No, that doesn't appear to be the case.  It appears that the Spanish publisher (Minotauro) just copied the illustration and did their own version of it.  The original cover was done by the great Jason Chan, and for all I know so was the Spanish one.  I don't know what I don't know.  Maybe the conflict was between Ace and Minotauro about the cover rights, so Minotauro just asked Chan to do a redux version.

Even if everything is above board (I'm assuming it is), basically copying a cover design is lame.  I can understand reusing a great cover like Chan's on every edition, but recreating it?  I just don't get it.  If you're paying to have a new illustration done, why not do something new, that's customized for your market?  Minotauro should just look across the Pyrenees Mountains and take a lesson from Bragelonne who's doing unquestionably the best cover work in the world right now.

A few awesome covers from Bragelonne while I'm on the subject:

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At February 1, 2012 at 7:50 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Those are some beautiful covers.

As far as Prince of Thorn's Spanish cover goes, I too would guess it had been done by a different person (the face is different, the composition not as striking imho), but I could be very wrong about that.

At February 1, 2012 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Antonakis said...

Isn't the spanish cover of The Lies of Locke Lamora also a recreation of the original cover? The only difference is that there's a standing figure instead of a perching one.
Still, I have to admit that all Bragelonne covers look amazing
As for the Prince of Thorns, I think the spanish recreation is quite impressive, being considerably darker and definitely "thornier" hehe.

At February 1, 2012 at 7:58 AM , Blogger Civilian Reader said...

Antonakis is right about the Lies of Locke Lamora - background is exactly the same, I think, with a differently-posed fellow out front.

Also have no clue what the deal with Mark's Spanish cover is all about. Was going to ask him to write something about it... Maybe I still will.

Polansky's French cover is awesome - that may be one of my favourites. Brett's, Weeks's and Morgan's are also pretty great. I think some British and American publishers should see about hiring those artists, too.

At February 1, 2012 at 8:05 AM , Blogger Justin said...

I agree. I suspect it's a total copy, but I didn't want to throw accusations around. If it is, I think it's woefully intellectually dishonest.

At February 1, 2012 at 8:07 AM , Blogger Justin said...

I don't dislike the new cover. Although I think it makes Jorg look 27 instead of 15, which is a little problematic.

At February 1, 2012 at 8:13 AM , Blogger odo said...

Odd indeed... Spain is different, you know ;) Equally puzzling is the translation of the title: "Príncipe del mal" is Spanish for "Prince of Evil", while "Prince of Thorns" would be something like "Príncipe de espinas". Very odd.

By the way, it is "Minotauro" not "Minotaur".

At February 1, 2012 at 8:27 AM , Blogger Paul Weimer said...

I can understand reusing a great cover like Chan's on every edition, but recreating it? I just don't get it. If you're paying to have a new illustration done, why not do something new, that's customized for your market?

I agree. It feels a bit lazy to me

At February 1, 2012 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous Mark Lawrence said...

Prince of Thorns is out in 5 languages and has 5 different titles - 4 of them rather silly IMOHO. It's possible they thought 'of thorns' was a colloqialism that needed translating ... but it isn't, it's a strong reference to a central story element. 'of thorns' is neutral, iconic, and evocative. 'of evil' & 'of darkness' are generic and pre-judge the series. 'of vengeance' and 'of lightning' are poor and odd respectively :)

The Spanish cover is a copy of Chan's work and I'm very unhappy that they didn't either pay him for his, or go for something different. Had I asked more than they wanted to pay for Prince of Thorns would they have manufactured a copy with altered names, a few scenes changed, and sold that?

At February 1, 2012 at 8:54 AM , Blogger Paul Weimer said...

That would have been easier to prosecute than image theft. So, yeah.

It sucks.

At February 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM , Blogger Ron C. Nieto said...

And this is the reason I wanted to do this translation myself, instead of handing over the project. Not out yet (march the 1st, I predict I'm going to go berserk...), not my book, and I'm already running up the wall... I need to take this easy.

I think, Mark, that they'd not have copied the story with different characters and a couple fo extra scenes - because it'd have been too much work ;)

That said, the market over here is not very big in great covers. There are some examples, most of them from small publishing houses (or houses that were small before hitting the jackpot, I'm looking at Gigamesh and A Song if Ice and Fire), but we mostly re-use what's been out somewhere else.

I honestly have no idea about the origin of this "version", but I do have a theory I'd like to share. Look at the Spanish face. Darker. Harsher. Could that be a shadow of stubble?

... Could it be we're trying to soften up the story by misrepresenting the age "of evil"?

After scratching off "of thorns" and translating "broken empire" as "trilogy of blood", I'd not be surprised if that were the case.

At February 2, 2012 at 7:57 AM , Blogger Civilian Reader said...

"of lightning"?!

At February 10, 2012 at 5:52 AM , Anonymous nymeria said...

Yes, we have nice fantasy covers here in France, most of all from publisher Bragelonne.

And I think too that the spanish artist copied from the original illustration (cause we can see it's a "bit" different). What's the point really ?


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