Photography by Michael Frost; Photo Illustration by Gene Mollica
Orbit’s had a few swings at the plate now with Abercrombie’s series (this is the third cover they’ve done for Best Served Cold, each vastly different from the other eg. 1 // 2). How’d they do this time? Well, I appreciate that they took a standard image of a badass dude™/badass chick™ and tilting expectations a bit by cropping in tight on the characters; but it works much better on The Heroes with the abstract arm, and less well on Best Served Cold, with the pretty leather-clad girl. One of my major issues with featuring characters on a cover, especially photo-realistic characters and models, is that rarely do they match the image in my head or, really, the characteristics of the person they’re supposed to convey. Abercrombie’s novels are known for their nihilism and no-holds-bar approach to the scum of humanity and the terrible things we can do when we feel justified; the girl on the cover of Best Served Cold just can’t capture the ruthlessness of Monza (the protagonist of Best Served Cold) or the proper tone of Abercrombie’s novels. The tight, blood-spattered sword, however, hits it out of the park. Strange that they didn’t go similarly abstract for both covers.
Still not in the realm of the UK covers, but the best stuff Orbit’s done for the series by quite a mile. Lauren Panepinto, creative director at Orbit Books, and Abercrombie have both posted some interesting reactions/thoughts to the covers on their respective blogs.