Curious, Creepy, and Cute: A Tour of Neil Gaiman’s International Book Covers

This post is part of our Neil Gaiman Reading Day: a celebration of one of our favorite authors on the occasion of the publication of his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Check out the full line-up here.

Neil Gaiman’s books are popular all over the world. You can find them China, Japan, France, even Latvia. How do different countries interpret the same story? One way of finding out is by comparing the books’ international covers, and certain Gaiman novels (if you’re thinking the most popular—yes) have a wide variety of cover designs.

First, a peek at the US versus UK versions of Gaiman’s latest release, The Ocean at the End of the Lane:

Ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman

US edition

Ocean at the end of the lane by neil gaiman

UK edition

Most international editions of Ocean follow the US cover design. Personally I think the UK cover is a little more eye-catching, but they both play off the same idea.

Now take a look at the covers for Stardust, one Gaiman’s first bestsellers:

US editions (just as a reminder):

stardust by neil gaiman

Hardcover

UK edition:

stardust by neil gaiman

France:

stardust by neil gaiman

Hardcover

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

I like the hardcover version, but the paperback one is a little weird. It makes me think of the movie Gnomio and Juliet.

How about Russia:

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

stardust by neil gaiman

Hardback

Modern art, Russia, really? HOW DOES THAT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH STARDUST. Not to mention the triangle… uhg, make it stop.

Next up on our tour, Brazil:

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

Lovely. I approve. Sweden’s cover is interesting, as well:

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

It’s Björk!

Working along a similar theme is Japan:

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

A little cartoony, but I like it! Greece and Turkey covers also work off the same theme:

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

stardust by neil gaiman

Paperback

I kind of love Turkey’s cover. I reminds me of a magic carpet.

The covers for Coraline are fairly standard around the world, but there are some variations I thought skewed to either creepy or cute.

Again, just to remind you, here are the US and UK covers:

coraline by neil gaiman

UK paperback

coraline by neil gaiman

US cover

Russia strikes again, veering into the cute side of the story:

coraline by neil gaiman

Paperback

coraline by neil gaiman

Hardback

At least it’s not modern art. If you favor creepy covers, here is Japan’s version:

coraline by neil gaiman

Hardback

I think Romania’s cover is pretty creepy, personally:

coraline by neil gaiman

Paperback

And Germany’s:

coraline by neil gaiman

Hardback

Then there are more abstract versions from Italy, Albania, and France:

coraline by neil gaiman

Paperback (Italy)

 

coraline by neil gaiman

Paperback (Albania)

coraline by neil gaiman

Paperback (France)

Personally, I like Albania’s cover the best. It coveys the story but still looks elegant.

One of my favorite books by Gaiman is Neverwhere, and this novel has tons of different covers. Some make more sense to me than others. First, the US and UK editions:

neverwhere by neil gaiman

UK paperback

neverwhere by neil gaiman

US paperback

Russia’s at it again:

neverwhere by neil gaiman

Not sure if this one is paperback or audiobook, but I do know the cover would not convince me to buy either.

neverwhere by neil gaiman

Hardback

This one makes me think of “Neil Gaiman with the Dragon Tattoo.” Actually there are a whole series of Russian covers with Gaiman’s face on them and then random animals stamped on top.

Not sure if this is paperback or audiobook.

Hardback

Nooooooooooooooo, not again.

Moving on. Poland!

Neverwhere by neil gaiman

Paperback

Neverwhere by neil gaiman

Hardback

Not too sure about the first Polish cover, but I do like the second. Latvia’s is simple, but pretty decent:

Neverwhere by neil gaimanBrazil’s is simply gorgeous, although not as directly tied to the story as Poland’s:

Neverwhere by neil gaiman

Paperback

And I have no idea what’s going on with the Italian cover:

Neverwhere by neil gaiman

Paperback

I couldn’t find a lot of covers for Fragile Things, one of Gaiman’s short story collections, but what I did find was wildly different. Here’s the US version:

fragile things by neil gaiman

Paperback

France:

fragile things by neil gaiman

Hardback

And Russia:

fragile things by neil gaiman

Paperback

Crazy kid, get off that tombstone! And speaking of tombstones, how about everyone’s favorite Graveyard Book? Here are the US and UK covers:

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

US edition

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

UK paperback

I think the UK cover is charming, and it’s the cover you find on most international editions of The Graveyard Book, with a few exceptions.

For example, France:

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

I love that the French title is “The Strange Life of Nobody Owens.”

Here’s China’s:

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

Paperback

Super-cool and different design. I love the little ghosties.

Italy’s cover is fun, too:

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

Hardback

I believe that translates to “The Orphan of the Cemetery.”

And now for Poland’s cover. Um.

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

Paperback

Creepy. And lastly, Russia’s:

the graveyard book by neil gaiman

Paperback

Neither of these covers would induce me to buy the book.

Finally, I haven’t read American Gods, but looking at the international covers I seriously have to wonder WHAT IN THE WORLD this book is about.

Superheroes?

american gods by neil gaiman

French paperback

The Running of the Bulls?

american gods by neil gaiman

Spain hardcover

Our dystopian future?

american gods by neil gaiman

Japan paperback

Ummm… zombies?

american gods by neil gaiman

Polish hardback

Because based on the US and UK covers, I thought it was about a road trip.

american gods by neil gaiman

UK hardcover

american gods by neil gaiman

US cover

 

 

Which covers are your favorites? Any particular country stand out as far as cover design goes?

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