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Once upon a time in the west…

August 4, 2012

For a long time now I’ve been wondering what the cover artists for large print western paperbacks are up to. Apparently it’s perfectly acceptable to use the faces of actors on book covers. I can’t decide if they think the actors won’t care or whether people won’t notice. Surely they can’t expect people to be that dim. These are well known faces. I can only assume that that as publishers of large print books (primarily aimed at older people) they think younger people won’t recognize them, or that older readers won’t remember the actors.

But what interests me most is who chooses the actors? Is there some huge western movie fan out there who gets to select the cover art and rejoices over the job? Some of them make sense…and some of them just make me more curious.

Here we have Clint Eastwood, which makes sense. He’s starred in many westerns, a familiar face for fans of the genre.


It’s clearly taken from a scene in For a Few Dollars More, where he’s sitting in an chair waiting for gunmen to come through the door. Even his outfit is the same.

This cover is also clearly taken from the Man With No Name trilogy.

Then we have gambler Eastwood.

And Pale Rider Eastwood.

Paul Newman sporting a shady mustache.

Then there’s John Wayne, also sporting a shady mustache.

He’s a tall stranger! He needs a shady mustache!

A couple of Tom Sellecks. His mustache always looks shifty.

I wouldn’t mind going to Whiskeyville.

All of which make sense in the eyes of western fans.

But then we have Brendan Fraser…

And David Wenham.

And Enrique Iglesias…

And Tom Cruise.

AND Emilio Estevez. (All right, he was in Young Guns. But still.)

Somebody chose these. Somebody picked these guys to be on the cover and somebody else okay-ed it.

These last three are the most blatant in my mind. One could possibly argue that these first two are unconnected to the film 3:10 To Yuma.

Christian Bale, looking remarkably like he did in 3:10.

And Ben Foster, looking every bit his role of gun-hand Charlie Prince.

But there’s no way this one is a coincidence.

So we’re in a book now. That’s cool.

Who makes these decisions and how do I get their job?

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