I featured scans of four Malzberg novels with terrific cover art by Moll on 02 December 2012, and this is sort of a follow-up to that post. Although I’m not a huge fan of his work in general, Charles Moll has produced some very strong covers over the years for various fantasy and science fiction novels, along with many weak ones. Combined with the images in my previous post, the following covers, scanned by me from the old paperbacks in my personal library, should give you an good idea of Moll’s weaknesses and strengths as an image maker:
[CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE]
Moll’s sombre, psychologically engaging surrealist cover art for Spinrad’s No Direction Home is the clear winner here. The other covers are nothing special, although Moll’s art for Brak the Barbarian (1977) gets points for featuring a pretty-boy protagonist who does not conform to reader expectations for a Conan-esque barbarian hero who lives “in the savage age of blood and barbarism.” It’s an interesting choice, though the sterile execution leaves much to be desired.
With his painting for the cover of Twilight of the Serpent from the same year (1977), Jeffrey Jones produced an image that goes against the grain of heroic fantasy in a similar way but he really made it work, not merely by means of a superior concept but also by means of his superior grasp of the expressive potential of his chosen medium (here’s a link to the full post).