The covers that Jeffrey Catherine Jones did for the ACE Paperbacks have to be my favorites! Not because they were the first editions that I bought–used and worn from Half-Price Books–but for their richness and evocative nature. Before you read a single word, the art is already whispering softly in your ear, warning you of dangers to come, luring you with the promise of adventure, and apprising you of the dark and gritty world that you are about to enter. And yet the art is coy, not wanting to tell you too much, but just enough to seduce you to step inside. Faces are indistinct or hidden. Darkness, mists, or fog obscure the scenes. And even people, forms, and objects that should be solid become part of the fog along the edges.
You'll notice that Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are not visible. The Mouser is presumably the man in the foreground on the cover of Swords and Deviltry, but his face is looking away from the viewer. BTW, I do not recognize that figure looming over him from any of the stories of that volume. Perhaps it is a composite of all the oppressive and powerful men that oppose him in the stories–Duke Janarrl, Krovas, and Hristomilo?
Most editions nowadays invariably feature Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser standing side by side or at least in some scene of action on the covers. Not that that is illogical, but there is something magical about how the Jeff Jones covers pull you directly into the story that is unfolding. Instead of looking at the two staring at us as if we were studying some portrait, we are viewing the action as if we were part of the scene, standing just off to the side but still vulnerable.