Elric: The Stealer of Souls

Back in August 2007, John Picacio completed the cover artwork for Elric: The Stealer of Souls, the first of six new trade paperbacks from Ballantine/Del Rey collecting Michael Moorcock’s classic Elric novels.

This week, John shares the final cover design and it looks sweet. These editions come with new introductions, illustrations, and notes. Later this week, John will be sharing some of the interior illustrations.

I may have to follow the suggestions of folks and (finally) read one to see if it becomes one of the few fantasy books I like.

13 thoughts on “Elric: The Stealer of Souls”

  1. Despite my ridiculous love for all things Moorcock, I fear Elric may be too adolescent for you to truly enjoy it now, unless you can go in with an unabashed desire to enjoy yourself and submit to the clichés – even if a lot of them only became clichés after Elric’s success.

    I’d recommend Von Bek or Oswald Bastable as more suitable heroes to drag you into the Eternal Champion cycle, if not just Jerry Cornelius himself, sci-fi anti-hero of them masses. Even Corum or Erekosë – though still fantastical, they weren’t written when Moorcock was 15, and are less likely to turn you off now as a result.

    You’ll still have to get round to Elric at some point, of course. They’re freaking awesome books.

  2. I too need to give Moorcock a try. I’d like to start with Metatemporal Detective and then go back and check out some of the Elric stuff.

  3. Why is he blue? Because he is sad…

    Seriously, he is an albino. Maybe the tinting is off in the picture, or will be off in the cover itself, but he has always been depicted as white, bone-white, ultra pale, etc.

  4. Mike’s classic descriptions do often call out the “bone-white color”, but in fact if you read his manuscripts closely through the years, he further clarifies that Elric is not just an albino; he’s a “silverskin.” It’s his condition as a silverskin, not his albinism, that forces Elric to rely on drugs, sorcery, and souls to maintain his strength. I just finished reading Mike’s latest Elric novelette, which will appear in the sixth ELRIC volume, and here’s a direct quote regarding Elric’s condition: “In Melnibone’s past….’silverskins’ like himself had led short, painful lives usually ending in madness and self-destruction. Only by resorting to the darkest sorcery and trading their souls for supernatural aid, could the enfeebled creatures hope to live like others.” So to just paint Elric with flat white skin wouldn’t be very accurate. Beyond even Elric’s rare skin condition, look closely at any piece of plain white paper in front of you, and it’s never really pure “white”, is it? It picks up the bounced color of the objects around it if you actually look closely. Elric’s skin tends to pick up tones of light from the objects and atmospheres around it, much like silver does; thus, the depiction you’ll see on the final cover of ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS.

  5. Just cuz I can’t find the answer online, are these collecting the novels or the assorted short stories?

  6. Jeff — Good question…..I think these books will be collecting the novels for the most part; I don’t know whether or not every Elric short story will be included in the series, but I do know that the major Elric novels are the anchors. The interesting thing is the series will be arranged according to the way that Mike wrote the novels, rather than according to the chronology of the Elric epic. So if you end up reading all of the books in order, you’ll be reading them in the order that they debuted, and you’ll see the evolution and growth of Mike’s writing, which is pretty cool. So ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS is the first book and it collects THE STEALER OF SOULS and STORMBRINGER because those novels came out first. There’s new material in each book in the form of new forewords (the first one contains an AWESOME foreword by Alan Moore); new intros by Mike; correspondences and miscellany detailing the development of the books and the tenor of the times; plus all-new interior illustrations, of course.

    Hope that helps you….:)

  7. John P: Thanks. Though part of me is grumbling because I JUST finished my White Wolf editions collection. But I am a Morrcock junkie, as well as a fan of your art. I once had Mr. Moorcock sign a copy of his New World’s Fair album (on CD no less) and was the envy of everyone else in line.

  8. “Though part of me is grumbling because I JUST finished my White Wolf editions collection.”

    Hah! I’ve got DAW, Ace, Berkley and White Wolf editions! I’ll get these to get the “corrected order” and the fantastic looking artwork.

    How far did White Wolf go in putting out the stories? I was under the impression that the book line was shut down before getting the whole line out, alas. Someday I’d like to get a matched set of “Eternal Champion” tales, all of them, but somehow I think that will never happen.

    :(

  9. I started reading the Elric and other Multiverse series (Corum and Hawkmoon primarily) when I was in fourth or fifth grade (a loooong time ago), and I have re-read most of them since. The Elric books I’ve probably re-read at least four or five times.

    Unlike some other posters, I did enjoy the later Elric books, but they definitely have a different feel and Elric is more of a minor character or only featured in parts of the book. The most recent book actually got me to read the much older Capt. Bastable books (“The Warlord of the Air” and “The Land Leviathon”) that had been on my shelf for many years without being read since the character was included and I found him to be interesting.

    On the other hand, in my Sci-Fi / Fantasy book club of about a half dozen members I am the only fan of Mr. Moorcock.

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