Many of the books I'm hoping to read for my new Black Gate column were published by Ballantine books, some as precursors to and others as part of the famous Ballantine Adult Fantasy line. That's got me looking at my shelf-full of them and their beautiful covers. Several times over the years I've written about the quality of old book covers compared to modern ones. It should come as no surprise I think the old ones come out on top most of the time.
While Gervasio Gallardo is probably the single artist most recognized from the Ballantine AF books Lin Carter edited, there were other artists of note, especially for the pre-Carter books. Here are some of my favorites, all by the recently deceased Barbara Remington.
These hippy trippy covers were my first vision of The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien couldn't understand them, but that's because Remington wasn't able to read them before doing the covers. She said she would have done something very different if she had, but I'm glad she didn't. I love these ludicrous artifacts from stranger days.
I particularly love that together they form one lunatic vision of Tolkien's world
The first three of these are by Barbara Remington, while the fourth, possibly by a different artist, is uncredited. I hope to tackle Worm sooner rather than later, but I make no guarantees. These covers are remarkable. I love the ouroboros motif and the high middle ages depictions of the knights and castles. The dogs and lions on Mistress have a heraldic quality reflects perfectly echoes Eddison's medieval stylings.
I look and look at both these sets of covers and I wonder why must we continue to suffer God awful photoshopped covers.