Cover to Cover: From Russia With Love

Posted: March 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »

I’ve always been a fan of tattoo-style art, but I have to admit the artwork for this edition of From Russia With Love tweaks a very specific kind of nostalgia for me — it totally reminds me of the kind of stuff I would see my cholo buddies sketching on their notebooks in high school.

This isn’t to disparage Chris Garver, the tattoo artist who drew the images for this cover as part of the Penguin Ink Series celebrating the publisher’s 75th anniversary. I don’t think I would necessarily want this punched into my skin for the rest of my life, but it’s also a pretty striking design that gives ol’ James Bond a sharper, more modern edge. Until Daniel Craig took over in the film role, the character was getting a little stuffy and dated; I can’t help thinking Penguin was taking a shot at what the movies were doing, bringing James Bond into the grittier and less genteel world we live in (on the surface, at least).

This edition went to press just a couple of years ago, and I’m happy to see it as a possible trend of “alternative” artists being tapped for more mainstream design. (I hope it’s a trend — Penguin also printed The Portable Dorothy Parker with a great cover by Seth, and I know I’ve seen others, though I can’t remember what the hell they were.) And while most of the people who provided work for the series are tattoo artists, I was glad to see someone snuck in poster and comic artist Tara McPherson in there, too.

But like I said, I could look at good tattoo work all day long. And now that I think about it, that back cover would make a nice one … hmmm …


From Russia With Love
Cover art: Chris Garver
2010 edition (Penguin Books)

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