I’ve got it covered…
I am usually not a stickler for particular editions of books, but in the case of the Daw Books “Elric” series by Michael Moorcock, with the brilliant covers by Michael Whelan, circa the mid-to-late 1970s, I make a particular exception. The covers are just so evocatively rendered, I’ve always loved them. But it’s not to say I’ve had an easy time of it with them!
Back when stumbling across those books as a kid, while cutting my teeth on Dungeons & Dragons, there was a perfect synergy between those Elric books and the gaming I was doing, I my peers and I had a strong association with those books, and we went on a kind of blitz to acquire our sets of those six Elric books, so everybody would have their own. I remember “Sailor on the Seas of Fate” being particular hard to find, whereas I’d been fortunate to get the others, until I finally completed the set.
As a kid, I was a big fan of Moorcock’s writing, and I was also fastidious in taking good care of my books–hell, I still am–I always take good care of my books. At any rate, my set of Elric books was complete, and I was happy to have them.
But when I’d gone to college, my library of books got put (not by me) into a dank and musty basement, and the books got destroyed–warped and ruined, including my Elric books. My bad–had I known where they’d have ended up, I’d have boxed them up and taken them with me, but as a kid, moving around and what-not, it’s easy to lose track, and I did, and so my fab Daw Elric books were lost.
Then, sometime in the late 90s, I hunted them down again, and got another set of them, since I’d been irked at having lost them in the late 80s/early 90s. Once again, I had my set of Elric books, the marvelous Whelan covers once again, the signature style of those books that evoked that particular era of mass market paperbacks.
And then, something happened–and I have no idea what, exactly. After some moves, and some consolidations of books as I moved from a large house into a small apartment, somewhere along the line, my second set of Elric books disappeared. I still have no idea where they went–part of me still hopes I have them vaulted somewhere in a box, which is at least hypothetically possible, but I’ve yet to uncover it. At any rate, my second set is MIA.
So, piqued, I decided to order a third set of those 1970s paperback Daw Elric books (which will probably magically conjure up the MIA set, now that I’ve gone to the trouble).
Why would I be so loyal to a half-dozen paperback novels from the 70s? It’s because they’re fab. The covers are just the perfect realization of the subject matter, on a level that you just don’t see in publishing these days. So, yeah, I’m loyal to those old books. I wish publishers still paid as much attention to their paperbacks as they used to, because sometimes they were real things of beauty.
Here’s hoping that the third time’s the charm, right? Of course, my first set were pristine, but were lost to the that musty basement. The second set were used, but were still in pretty good condition. Now, nearly 40 years after the original printing, those first edition Daw Books are surely far more weathered, but I’ll keep them safe.