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Pimp, The Story of My Life by Iceberg Slim

I registered for this class over a year ago but unfortunately other things got in the way; I finally found some time to choose a book and develop some designs.

The book I picked is Pimp, The story of My Life by Iceberg Slim. I originally read this book many years ago and had almost forgotten about it until I recently saw the documentary on Showtime that Ice-T produced about Iceberg Slim (aka Robert Beck).

Iceberg Slim was published by Holloway House, a mass market producer of paperbacks for a variety of markets, but specializing in novels targeted at the African American audience, many of which echoed the popularity of what came to be called Blaxploitation films like Super FlyThe Mack, and Willie Dynamite. Pimp, and all of Iceberg Slims subsequent books fit perfectly into that genre and they had a big impact on generations of R&B and Hip-Hop culture.

 

But Iceberg's books have a distinct biographic voice and a wisdom and honesty about poverty and criminal life that set them apart. The covers of Pimp have been all over the place, with different styles of illustration and type treatments, usually reflecting the style of the kind of sensational mass market fiction that they were supposed to be.

 

My designs follow three ideas. First a reflection of exactly the kind of lurid illustrative paperback tradition that the book springs from:

Second a more graphic type treatment, influenced by the emphasis on materials and textures that are so much a part of the text and also graphics reflecting the desperation and violence that are such major themes:

And finally a frank imitation (hopefully an homage and not just a rip-off) of my favorite Chip Kidd covers of all time, for James Ellroy’s Underworld USA Trilogy:

These are my initial ideas, because Iceberg Slim was so prolific I will take one of these directions and design a series in the next week or so. As always, comments and critiques are most welcome.

Thanks,

Dave

A three cover series for my cover designs, front, back, and spines.

Dave

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