Best Served Cold Limited

April 30th, 2012

For this post I think I shall step back and let Raymond Swanland kick your ass:

The cover art for the limited edition of Best Served Cold from the ever wonderful Subterranean Press.  I’ve been a big admirer of Swanland for some time, but he’s gone for a slightly less fantastical, more realistic style than usual with this and I think it suits the book rather nicely.  Both numbered (limited to 500) and lettered (limited to 26) copies will include five black and white interior illustrations by the aforementioned Mr. Swanland, and from what I’ve seen of the roughs those will kick quite a sizeable quantity of ass as well.  Order early to avoid disappointment…

Posted in announcements, artwork by Joe Abercrombie on April 30th, 2012.

54 comments so far

  • Ah! Monza! Just as I’ve pictured her. 🙂

    I like the touch with the falling golden coins.

  • Chiropractor says:

    The cover does look good, but unfortunately displays Monza in an anatomically impractical pose. This is quite common for Fantasy covers, but I’m always a bit sad when I see it (especially on good books).

    See also Jim Hines blog post on the subject.

    Bonus points to you Joe, if you can give us a photograph of yourself attempting Monza’s pose 🙂

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I am well aware of said anatomical impracticalities in fantasy covers, and indeed laughed long and hard with Mr. Hines over his excellent article, but I’m not sure this particular pose would be all that difficult to replicate, even with my dodgy neck. It’s spinal twisting poses such that ass and chest both face the viewer that tend more specifically to stretch credibility, and in this image the snake of Talins would appear to me to have pelvis and shoulder-girdle pretty much aligned. She’s got a bit of a spine arch, but that’s not hard to do, and might even be somewhat necessary if one wished to scatter coins behind one’s back, say…

    I would of course give you a picture but sadly I took my leather thigh-boots and entire collection of armoured corsetry to the charity shop only last week, curse it!

  • JamesM says:

    That looks great. I prefer the two US covers though.

  • Amanda Earlam says:

    Look at poor old Caul Shivers with his sword slung over his shoulder. Already fearing the worst.

  • Brad says:

    Awesome. I love that the artist included the wonky little finger!

  • SwindonNick says:

    Have to say that is one great cover.

  • Hammer says:

    Now we’re talking. It’s nice to have some detail and real artistic talent shown in a cover. I’m still unsure of “Red Country” being craptastic or just meh.

  • Adam T. Parkinson says:

    Awesome art. I’m guessing thats Caul on the right with the sword, and Friendly an the left with a glum look’bout him.

  • Curtis says:

    Just my opinion but all of your books from now on should have art like this. Good Stuff.

  • Jacob says:

    Shivers was mean to be “old”? I always pictured him as a rather young looking man. No older than thirty at the most.

  • nekro-kun says:

    It looks really well, i like such style of drawing. It’s very realistic and fantastical enough I only guess, if her face should be more damaged, and one-eyed Shivers with she would be better then a couple of random fantasy men at the background.

  • I think he aged a fair bit in that book Jacob. 🙂

  • ColinJ says:

    Preordered mine a few weeks ago. Joy!!

    Beautiful work but I agree about the unfortunate pose. I would have like to see Monza in a more ‘powerful’ stance rather than looking like she was in a perfume commercial. But I think it’s as good a rendering of how I see Monza as we’ll ever get.

    And yes, the detail of her mangled hand is very cool indeed.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    By the Power of Greyskull, there’s no pleasing some people…

  • ColinJ says:

    I wouldn’t want to see one-eyed Shivers on the cover, It’d be too much of a spoiler.

  • ColinJ says:

    Actually, Joe, I have a burning question about BEST SERVED COLD, if you could be so kind as to answer it.

    Why did you intentionally avoid mentioning King Jezel by name? You only refer to him as ‘The King of the Union’. I was thinking that maybe you or your editor thought that BEST SERVED COLD would be read by more people than the trilogy, so you removed that particular spoiler for people who then went back to the first books.

    I know that was the case with me. I read BSC first and I’m very glad I didn’t learn that Jezel became king beforehand. Intentional or not, I think it was a smart move.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Not necessarily that more people would read it, but that some might read it first if they didn’t want to commit to a whole trilogy, and that there should be as little spoiling as possible for their benefit.

  • Eric says:

    i wish i had the cash for it right now, it looks AMAZING. BSC has some of my favorite characters in the world. also watched the movie Haywire the other night and thought that the woman who played the main character would make a great Monza, the perfect look.

  • AJ says:

    Food on the table or the book? Damnit! Tonight, we starve!!

  • Giasone says:

    Sorry, but, as someone who used to do life-drawing, I’m not sure I understand what the problem is with the pose in terms of anatomy, especially when one considers the angle of the viewer. And, as for the hermeneutics, if it is the kind of pose one would expect in a perfume commercial (can’t say I’ve paid much attention to these) then I like the subversive juxtaposition of feminine seductivity with the suggestion of martial violence.
    (Still like the old weapons/maps/bloodstains covers as well though.)

  • JenMo says:

    Wow. That’s visceral. I love it! Is this going to be a hardcover edition? (asking as I’m too lazy to click and look myself at the moment)

  • Phil B-W says:

    Lovely. Very nice.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Good choice. Food is for now. Limited edition is for keeps.

    Hardcovers, absolutely, of a very high quality. I believe (though I’d check with Subterranean to be absolutely sure) the lettered are calfskin bound in a custom slip-case. They cost a fair bit, obviously.

    I don’t get the anatomy argument at all. Doesn’t really seem like a ‘weak’ pose to me either, but I guess that’s a subjective thing.

  • ColinJ says:

    I guess I always pictured Monza with her hand on her pommel and an “I fuckin’ DARE you…” look on her face.

    With that in mind, Mr. Swanland’s painting looks just fine.

  • SwindonNick says:

    I’m not too fussed about whether the pose is possible or not, I have just enjoyed looking at her arse.

  • ColinJ says:

    @SwindonNick – I salute you, Sir. Although my perfect Monza will always be Noomi Rapace from the Swedish GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO movies.

  • Fantasist says:

    In a related thing, when’s the UK cover for A Red Country going to be out? I mean… no specific date, but surely you can ask the crones and witches you keep in your closet when the weather will..yknow?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    UK cover in the next few weeks. Map’s done, brief is in for the weapons and they’re being done, then time to marry them together, of course…

  • Andreas says:

    Black and white illustrations, cool. I bet that will make for some styleish books. Was it your idea about the B&W thing? Also, do you think/know if there will be illustrated end sheets? It’s just LAoK didn’t have, and that was sort of a bummer, when the firts two did have.

    Really looking forward to the book. Ordered a lettered edition as well as a limited to match the trilogy. I just hope they do something extra cool with lettered edition, as I’ll be eating less for a long while.

  • As a photographer, the pose looks like something I might ask a fashion model to do. Perfectly possible.

    Which city is depicted in the background by the way?

  • Ravenous says:

    Nice cover.

    I own a U.S. hard cover edition, the one with the swordwoman on the front. It’s one of my all time favorite covers on one of my favorite books.
    I don’t really care for the soft covers of Heros and BSC. Love both U.S. hardcovers.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Not my idea, it’ll be either the artist or more likely the folks at Subterranean. My guess is they feel 5 b&w plates gives you a better bang for your buck than 3 colour, especially in a big book. But I think it’s definitely a cool idea. Endsheets, not sure, probably not illustrated ones, since there are already 5 plates internally.

    Couldn’t tell you for definite, and it might be that the artist is going more for vibe than specifics, but I’d guess at Visserine, given the towers and the fire and all. Plus Shivers (if that’s him) doesn’t look to have his notable distinguishing feature quite yet…

    I never cease to be amazed by the breadth of opinion on cover art, and also the degree to which aesthetic and commercial considerations can often be opposed – which is to say there’s a constant battle between what is strong and arresting and what is inoffensive. Also between what is edgy and unusual (I never saw anything like that before, I’m intrigued) and what is recognisably of a type (oh, it looks like that other book I liked). These days a lot of the big fantasy authors (Martin and Hobb, off the top of my head) have quite simple, graphic design that hardly grabs you by the short hairs but is unlikely to turn off a potential reader. Lots and lots of hooded figures about also. I think the ideal cover somehow performs the alchemy in a single image of appealing to your core audience without turning off a wider one, of seeming exciting and arresting while still giving echoes that refer to the type of book you’re getting, and also somehow establishing a certain feel or brand for the author that might be recognisable. I think my UK covers are so good because they go a long way towards achieving those things. Limited editions are a slightly different brew because they don’t have to try hard to bring in new readers, they can unashamedly preach to the choir, if you will.

  • Doug says:

    I do love Monzcarro.

  • Hammer says:

    On reflection I think I like the coins falling out of her hand for the effect but otherwise things are a bit fuzzy. Something about her face, if you gave her some elf ears she could be right out of a R.A. Salvatore book. Also, I don’t know what the dude was saying about her arse cause I can’t even tell she has one. Overall C- for those scoring at home

  • Dan says:

    This is our third look at monza but we have only seen one good painting of Logen. Sad face:(.

  • Dan says:

    I’m still waiting for a group picture of the Northmen in their prime. Logen, dogman, threetrees, Dow, weakest, Tull. All standing together looking fierce and dirty. Professionally painted of course. Now that’s a painting I’d pay decent coin for!

  • Dan says:

    Of course I’d pay good money for a short story about said group as well, Joe.

  • Tom says:

    Excellent cover.

  • Phil Norris says:

    That is a gorgeous piece of work, the buildings look more futuristic than fantasical, but what the hell it looks stunning.

    Just wish I could afford one now!

    Do you have any say in whether the artwork would be released independent of the book? Now a book of artworks centred around The First Law would be something to see.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Subterranean commissioned it and I would imagine they wouldn’t want it to appear anywhere else – exclusivity is part of the whole point of a Limited Edition. But you never know.

  • Storm in the High Places says:

    It’s already sold out. Wtf.

  • […] cover for Best Served Cold by Raymond Swanland: Best Served Cold Limited | Joe Abercrombie Red Country looks good for release this year. __________________ I eat grass like an ox and shat […]

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    The lettered has sold out since I made the post, the numbered one is still available as I type, apparently.

  • Storm in the High Places says:

    Got it ordered thanks Joe I was bummed. What’s the difference between the lettered and the numbered.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    The lettered is leather bound and comes in a custom tray-case, but I think is otherwise the same.

    And, of course, people who own the lettered can look at your numbered edition with a faintly comical lift of one eyebrow, as if to say, ‘oh, how quaint, a NUMBERED edition.’

  • Dyrewulf says:

    I see Amazon is starting it’s own channel and is looking for submissions – hint hint – love to see all of these on screen, done by people who care. (None of that “Seeker” nasty stuff)

  • Tomek says:

    damn, got in too late for the party, really wanted the lettered edition (snobbish, really, since until Joe’s post i didn’t even know what it consisted of!)

    something about having “the VIP” of the limited edition must have appealed to me!

  • Ryan says:

    I’m a huge fan of Swanland, so I’m glad he’s doing it. That said, does anyone else think the armor/corset thingie makes her look fat?

  • says:

    Looks fantastic! Shame it’s already sold out:(

  • Muzza says:

    Got mind ordered. Just advised my wife to clear the credit card as I am going after the first two books of the First Law Trilogy to complete my set of those as well.

    The I will put them on my display bookshelf and howl at them!!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I think our definitions of fat differ.

    As already said upthread, the lettered is sold out, the numbered still available.

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  • Entity says:

    I want that on a massive poster… I suppose I can order a copy too, obviously. He really captured her look of hatred well.

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