My friend Rich Stewart, a graphic designer I worked with at Everest Poker, has been doing some amazing freelance work since the two of us got laid off in November.
All the projects are great, but my favorite is this Poe series, where he redesigned the book covers of five of Poe's most well-known works. Check them out on his Behance portfolio, and click "Appreciate" at the bottom if you feel so inclined. "The Pit and the Pendulum" one is really cool.
Rich's specialty is typography/type treatment, which means he's really good at choosing the right font to communicate the "feeling" of a brand. Good examples: local Allston/Brookline favorites Fast Eddie's Barber Shop, Rat City Beer Co., & Zaftigs Delicatessen.
I really wish I could make stuff like that in Photoshop. Damn.
p.s. the photography of these projects was done by another former coworker: Reid Haithcock, of Alice & Johnny's Wedding fame. He was the AMAZING photographer hanging around all day taking color and black & white pictures. He has a Behance portfolio too.