Cover Crush: Stephen King Covers

Stephen King has been around as an author since I've been born. I remember reading The Shining in fifth grade and being enchanted by the silver cover with a featureless face.  As with most books, my preferred versions of his covers are the originals or old-school styles, most of which are displayed here. Some of the simpler wants suck out the creativity of the art, although there are exceptions.  A few books get so many cover versions it's hard to keep up with (IT, anyone), and most of them are winners without newer versions being letdowns. I'm sure there are plenty of other excellent covers not displayed here since the horror author's collection is so vast, but I'm showcasing some of my favorites below by theme.

Some Creepier Favorites

I have a white hardcover of Firestarter where I did an instagram photo this  year with candles. Was trying to be artsy for a book challenge, which either turns out well done or embarrassing depending on how you look at it. I prefer this dark cover with the bright orange flames, but there are several versions that work just as well. While the movie was good, let's leave out the movie covers and focus on the creative artwork for these instead.

This large cat version of Pet Semetary was the first I saw when the book was initially released, and has always been my favorite for the book, and perhaps one of my top overall of King's library.  Salem's Lot has several nifty covers, and it took some time to find my favorite. I'm still not sure if this one is ultimately the winner, but it focuses on the horror element of his earlier artwork. My favorite my actually be the one presented below with the large house for Cemetary Dance's Special Editions.

Notice a close-up of eyes with the theme of these first three?  Here is an instagram photo showing the hardcover for Pet Semetary (matching this cover) and my version of Salem's Lot (not matching this cover) with my hardcover of IT.

The Stand, as famous as the book is, has some of the least impressive covers. This is an older cover and one of my favorites for this book, but I think they could have done better with more options for this one.

The Dark Tower

As well known as he is for his horror, King is equally known among groups of readers for His epic Dark Tower series. Stretched out over decades in writing and time setting, the covers from these range from dark/fantasy to almost cartoonish and playful.  I picked my favorites for each book, and as you can see, they don't necessarily match each other in theme.

Hard Case Crime Imprint

I remember when Hard Case Crime became a line for Dorchester Publishing when they were still in business and mailing out their book subscriptions. I was a big fan of the Leisure Horror Line, but also subscribed for a time to their Hard Case Crime line before the plug was pulled. Fortunately Hard Case continued, and Stephen King being a fan of this may have helped. I read The Colorado Kid when it was released, and have subsequently watched most of the television show Haven. The style matches the noirish vibe of many of these crime novels, and the first cover has always remained my favorite of the group. I'm tossing up two for Joyland - the middle is my preferred if I had to choose between the two. It almost reminds me of the overdone, cartoonish vector style similar to old-school R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. Check out Cover Crush - Campy Kid/YA Horror of the Past.

Anthologies and Novella Collections

One of my favorite things about King is his emphasis on the art of short stories. Some of his best work comes from his shorter stuff, and some of his best covers are created to decorate these creative tidbits. I'm about to start Nightmares and Dreamscapes for my monthly anthology read this month. It would be hard to figure out my favorite among this group, so I'm not even going to try.  I did an older Instagram photo of my hardcover of Four Past Midnight for a challenge in 2018. For Different Seasons, Everything's Eventual, and Skeleton Crew, I own paperback versions.

IT....Enough Said

IT gets it's own section because it's...well, IT.  One of his most famous and beloved works, one of his longest, and one of his best. The covers are creative and range in creative art.  I'm not usually a big fan of the simplified covers but even I couldn't resist this first, which is creepy with the total white and almost childlike drawings of the clown's nose and teeth.  Not a fan of movie-style covers, perhaps its the balloon and yellow rain jacket that draws me into the second.   The third with the emphasis on the rain and the fantasy of the story wins, and the last of the first group is my favorite overall and the hardcover I own in my personal collection.  The Cemetary Dance Special Edition is displayed at the next group.

Cemetary Dance Special Editions

Cemetary Dance  does some of the best covers for their special editions and collections. I'm not as crazy about Carrie's, but IT (and accompanying artwork) rocks. The almost pencil drawn house for Salem's Lot is perfect. It's not my favorite The Shining cover, but still works - these special editions have artwork in the actual books. You can preview some of this artwork on the publisher's website.

Random Other Draws

This Creepshow cover had to be included since it's just irresistible. Who doesn't love the cheesy horror comics?

I own the omnibus with three of King's stories (Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shining).  While I enjoy the covers of the books by themselves, there's just something awesome about this one. It's simpler but somehow one of my favorites. 

With Misery, it was tough. There's plenty of great covers for this tense book out there, so any of those really could have ended up in this slot and enjoyed as much as this one with the snow-covered typewriter. The Dark Half was another one I wasn't sure on -- I actually prefer the creepy eye cover more (shown here on Goodreads), but it was harder to find a large version of it, and I do dig the cartoonish vibe with the grave.

Richard Bachman....Sort-Of

For the most part book covers published under his Richard Bachman name are awful. Either it's a bunch of text for an omnibus, or the plainest of the plain. An exception - Regulators and Desperation. Awesome covers.  I remember getting these as a gift tied together in a package when I was a kid.