Author Henry Vogel, a wonderful author, did a side by side comparison of a new cover for James Patterson’s The Shadow compared with a classic by Steranko:
He gave a little commentary as well which I happen to agree with. The pulps used to have these stunning art pieces to go with them that really showed the action, the drama, the lore, all in one shot. What’s on the Patterson cover looks like they got Edward from Twilight and stuck him in a trenchoat and did a silhouette. Nothing about that gives you any clue about what a story’s about, and it looks absolutely bland and boring.
The pulps came about because the stories weren’t bland and boring. They went over the top.. They pulled out the stops for unitlmate entertainment, which is why they were so successful.
Modern publishing just doesn’t understand what makes stories or even covers great.