Neil Gaiman has announced on his blog that Harper Collins is releasing new paperback editions of his novels featuring retro-style covers painted by legendary artist Robert E. McGinnis. The first of these is American Gods, which is already available for pre-order on

Gaiman explains that this announcement is coming earlier than originally planned, because demand for American Gods is so high in anticipation of the Starz television series that Harper Collins decided to go ahead and put out this new version, with the rest of the new covers to be revealed at a later date. The new editions also feature retro-style lettering by Todd Klein, to complete the effect of a paperback from the '60s or '70s.

The American Gods cover depicts Shadow, the book's protagonist, from behind, apparently in conversation with Mr. Wednesday, who faces the viewer. The atmospheric setting is strongly invoked by the classic paperback cover style, with the blowing grass, the distant mountains, the lightning against a dark sky, and one very portentous tree.

McGinnis has been working in the field since the 1950s, painting more than 12000 paperback covers, as well as movie posters that include Barbarella, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and a number of the classic James Bond films.

Gaiman's excitement about these covers is palpable on his blog:


I sent a note to Jennifer asking if there was even the slightest possibility that Mr McGinnis would be interested in painting the covers for the paperback set we wanted to do. He said yes.
I say that so blithely. But he has retired, pretty much, and he doesn't have email, and it was only because the Morrow art director had worked with him, and he was intrigued by the commission... and ROBERT MCGINNIS SAID YES.
He sent in the first painting, the one for American Gods. It was perfect. Now we needed to make everything that wasn't the cover  feel right.
Todd Klein, the finest letterer in comics, came in to create each book's logo and to help design it and pick the fonts, to make each book feel like it came from a certain age.
Each painting from McGinnis was better than the one before. Each Logo and layout from Todd Klein was more assured and more accurate. These things are glorious.