Credits report

September 23, 2009

Yesterday, Dirk Deppey featured a quote from Andrew Wheeler that was critical of the packaging of The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks from Three Rivers Press. Specifically, the publisher highlighted the author of the graphic novel while pretty much burying the artist’s name. Ibraim Roberson doesn’t actually have a cover credit for the book on the preview proof, though there’s a small signature next to the leftmost zombie. He doesn’t even get a credit on the publisher’s online listing for the book. He does seem to be credited on what’s likely the final cover for the book, shown below. Still, the initial cover credits were an undeniably bad choice, since Roberson’s gory, energetic contributions are pretty much essential. I’ve read about half of a preview copy of the book, and it’s a neat idea – a sort of anthropological, archeological look at zombie attacks throughout history. It’s not exactly rich in text, and Roberson does all of the heavy lifting. But anyway, here’s the cover that seems to likely to actually arrive in bookstores:


It did make me wonder how other publishers and publisher imprints have handled this sort of thing, since graphic-novel adaptations of popular prose have made such headway lately.


Del Rey doesn’t credit Queenie Chan on their web site, but she fares better on the cover of In Odd We Trust, her collaborative adaptation with Dean Koontz. She gets a co-writer credit with Koontz and a separate illustrator credit. It’s sensible to me that Koontz’s name is big and bold up at the top, since he’s the main attraction for casual readers or newcomers to graphic novels.


Darwyn Cooke actually comes out ahead of Richard Stark on IDW’s page for Cooke’s adaptation of The Hunter. The cover credits seem to strike an okay balance between the creator of the property being adapted and the adaptor.


Graphix takes a similar approach with Raina Telgemeier’s credits on the cover of her adaptations of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books. The placement and proportion of Telgemeier’s credit is roughly similar, though her name is preceded by “A Graphic Novel By…” which I like.


NaRae Lee’s credit on the cover of Maximum Ride (Yen Press), based on a popular property by James Patterson, is fairly dinky. It’s there, but it’s dinky. His prose collaborators seem to get better placement.

I can’t quite bring myself to delve into Marvel’s adaptations of books by people like Laurell K. Hamilton, Stephen King, and others. I know that they’re out there, and a glance at some of the covers indicates that their modus operandi follows the pattern of “big credit for name author, standard credits for comic writers and artists.”

Update: At The Beat, Heidi MacDonald notes that Amazon doesn’t seem inclined to credit illustrators.