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Dracula just got a lot more emo: Piczo, Penguin host cover design contest

The teen-oriented social-networking site teams up with the book-publishing house for a competition that encourages kids to design new covers for old books.

Recent Walt Disney acquisition Club Penguin isn't the only Antarctic waterfowl in the news on the youth social-networking front this week.

Venerable publishing house Penguin Group has just made a tech-savvy move through a partnership with teen-oriented community site Piczo, in which young Piczo users are encouraged to design covers for a selection of classic books and submit them to a competition pool.

The contest, called "Piczo My Penguin," runs for the next four weeks. It offers up six book titles, each one chosen by a trendy music act such as Razorlight, Beck or Goldspot: Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, Steppenwolf, The Great Gatsby, Le Grand Meaulnes and Animal Farm. Piczo members are then invited to submit their own cover designs, and a winner for each one will be chosen by the members of the participating bands.

Piczo has crafted an image for itself as a safer, less cluttered alternative to the ubiquitous, so it's no surprise that it would want to boost its nicest-kids-in-town image with a contest that encourages young people to turn their heads away from their instant-messaging clients and toward classic literature.

Considering the popularity of emo bands like My Chemical Romance and AFI, with their expertly groomed pseudogothic images, Piczo should have no trouble finding plenty of teenagers willing to give Dracula a hot new makeover. But just a tip, kids: I don't think he wore eyeliner.