Cover Makeovers: Catherine Coulter, Part Deux

I know I promised Jude Deveraux for this week’s cover makeovers, but holy shitmonkeys, y’all, I was cleaning out my hard drive and found covers for Catherine Coulter’s Night trilogy, and I couldn’t resist. The Montgomery Twins and Velvety Love Sauce will just have to wait until later.

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Man, that’s a lot of hair. Hair only Clairol could love. Seriously, why do you think the guy looks so intent? His gaze isn’t on her face or her body. It seems focused somewhere above her left ear. He’s checking her roots, man.

And oh my God! She’s wearing the puffy shirt.

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Except her shirt is even more so. Look at those sleeves! They’re practically ready to pop, they’re so full. Did they have air-filled inserts for those things back in the day, or mini-panniers for arms? Is it stuffed with chunks of man-titty, which she cut off as proof of her conquests?

This cover is so deliciously tacky, I kind of expect Chuck Norris to be driving out of his grave in his supercharged pickup truck any fucking minute in the background of this cover.

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The new cover: it’s the ubiquitous Horse Freaking the Fuck Out, except in silhouette. Let us ponder the significance of the shadow suspended in all eternity, running away from heroes who consider using cream to lubricate their cocks sufficient foreplay towards a future bright with miles upon miles of Aquanetted hair.

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This cover comes from the school of “Let’s pour melted Crisco on everybody, because if there’s anything more attractive than 80s bangs and mullets, it’s greasy 80s bangs and mullets.” It’s also from the “Limbs are confusingly and randomly placed for optimal confusion and resemblance to xenomorphic aliens.” Seriously. Look at the bit of leg jutting out towards the lower left corner of the cover. Then look at the placement of her butt, and then the hump in the cover where her knee presumably is. I can’t make sense of it. It’s positively Escher-like. Does she have six limbs, or is there a corpse under the covers? I can’t tell.

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And the image for this cover is…a tree.

A dripping tree. Though I can almost see a face in it. See that dangly bit down the middle? It’s totally an elephant! Mmmm, Rorschach-a-licious.

This is about as innocuous as it gets, and the change in tone and feel between the old and new covers is enough to give me whiplash.

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More greasiness! More 80s bangs! More mullets! Except her hair is being blown directly off her face, indicating a wind coming from the ground. Maybe it’s generated by the grass collectively exhaling in exasperation? Maybe she just dropped from the sky directly onto this dude?

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What I find hilarious is how tasteful and restrained the new covers are compared to the originals. This one could be plastered on just about anything nautically related, from a biography of Magellan to stories featuring people with names like Hornblower, Ramsbottom and Bracegirdle. There’s absolutely no hint of the copious amounts of sexx0ring and brutish hero antics that lie within the pages. It’s tantamount to false advertising, but them’s the rules: the bestselling authors get tasteful covers, no matter how lurid the contents within; the mid-listers and newbie authors take what they can get and feel grateful they’re not stuck with the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Brandi says:

    [The new Night Storm cover] could be plastered on just about anything nautically related, from a biography of Magellan to stories featuring people with names like Hornblower, Ramsbottom and Bracegirdle.

    I think the color scheme would probably be changed to something less vivid and more simple blue-green shades. (Purple and teal together seem terribly ‘80s to me now that I think of it.)

  2. 2
    MaryKate says:

    Is that Laura San Giacomo from sex, lies, and videotape on the third cover? Seriously, that girl is a dead ringer for San Giacomo.

    I believe I read these books in the 80s. Was one of the heroines a rape victim?

  3. 3
    Chicklet says:

    Is Night Shadow set in the southern part of the U.S.? Because that would make it a live oak tree, with Spanish moss growing down from the branches.  One of the most amazing ones I’ve ever seen is the Angel Oak, outside of Charleston, SC. Just incredible.

    I now return you to your regularly-scheduled cover snark.

  4. 4
    SonomaLass says:

    Candy,

    I totally agree that the second cover has serious problems vis-a-vis number of limbs and how they are positioned.  But don’t you think the other two also have body-position issues, albeit less severe?  In the first cover, if she’s lying on the ground level, where is the rest of him?  Twisted out of sight at an very awkward angle? Because if her ass is on the ground, the line of his upper torso suggests that the rest of him is in a hole in the ground.

    The third one could also be a hole, or else a severe slope, to explain his body angle.  Although that doesn’t explain why their chests are mashed together, but then the rest of their bodies shoot off perpendicular to each other.  Not especially sexy, you know?

    I do love the cover snark.  These are wonderful, and I’m sure Ms. Devereaux’ will be worth the wait!  Thanks!!

  5. 5
    Graciela says:

    I’m of the opinion that she stuffed her puffy shirt with yet more hair.  It’s late seventies hair.  Pounds and pounds and pounds of it.

  6. 6

    No one will ever convince me that the girl in the first cover is not Tawy Kitaen.

  7. 7
    Madd says:

    The guy on the second cover looks like he had collagen injected in his lips. He’s ahead of his time!

  8. 8

    Is it really sad that, there for a moment, I misread the blog and thought it was Ann Coulter who had the pounding hunka love covers, and that I could pretend to see one of those every time she was on the news? Somehow, that would make those covers really work for me.

  9. 9
    Lorelie says:

    The third chick looks like she just found proof of premature balding and is now trying to decide if he’s worthy.

    I’m of the opinion that she stuffed her puffy shirt with yet more hair.  It’s late seventies hair.  Pounds and pounds and pounds of it.

    I just pictured pit hair long and full enough to stuff those sleeves.  I threw up a little in my mouth.

  10. 10
    amy lane says:

    *snort*  Having once owned that masses and masses of Clairol hair, I can only say better that than gray with red roots… 

    But seriously—has the misproportioned appendage thing NOT gone out of style?  Every Ellora’s Cave cover EVER has a shoulder thrown out of it’s socket (why are the men reaching back to her toes?  anyone?  anyone?)  or a head slightly left of center, or magically pretzel-bendy legs that pop out of the hip joint in order to allow him to bang her in randomly uncomfortable positions while throwing her around like a caber with his caber.  Seriously, these covers are the best birth control EVER because the sex does NOT look fun…

  11. 11
    Joy says:

    That third cover—she’s going to need a chiropractor to straighten out her neck.  That CAN’T be comfortable!  At least he can’t do much fondling of any part of her body except her sides since he has to support his weight on his elbows.  AND, he isn’t even clutching at her.  Look at his right hand there.

    Frankly it looks like she fell on top of him and yanked his head up by the hair and he’s more startled than turned on.  I expect a sexual harassment suit against her any day for that episode.

  12. 12
    karmelrio says:

    Apologies to horse lovers everywhere, especially given recent unfortunate events, but someone – please – put that “Night Fire” horse out of its misery. 

    And yes, Girl #1 looks like Tawny Kitaen.  But he is certainly no David Coverdale.

  13. 13

    Personally, I love the french tip manicure in #2 and the obvious tan in #3. See how tan her shoulders are compared to her “luscious, firm breasts”!

  14. 14
    Denni says:

    Is there no happy middle ground?  A non-fan of bodice ripper type covers, these updated covers are beyond boooring.  Are publishers deliberately attempting to alienate and insult romance readers?

    OMG these old covers are funny, contortionist limbs, too many limbs, not enough limbs, the facial expressions, the lack of facial expressions, overdone but falling off clothing, wild floating hair, mullets…always a hoot.

  15. 15
    Robinjn says:

    Those puffy sleeves? I was there, I can tell you. I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding back in the 80s. Emerald green taffeta dresses with HUGE puffy sleeves (and yes, I had a mullet. A big-hair mullet). We stuffed them with pounds and pounds of white gift tissue paper. The rustling of sleeves almost drowned out the minister.

  16. 16
    Lizzy says:

    Agree on the Tawny K.
    But I think the girl in the third cover is 80s sexpot Kelly LeBrock.

    Has anyone ever figured out what that famous Coulter Cream ™ was supposed to be—I mean, historically-speaking? Not that I care—I DON’T CARE!—but it might be good to know. If I’m ever a pawn in a particularly cruel game of time travel.

  17. 17
    Deb Kinnard says:

    How dare you insinuate that these examples of High Art are not drawn from life? I’m persuaded that they were…right after each model was sent to Denmark for special surgery, to have all her bones removed.

  18. 18
    Nifty says:

    If the only choice is between the old and the new, I’d take the old.  Yes, the old ones are horribly dated and only perpetuate the “bodice ripper” reputation, but they’re far, far more interesting than the generic new ones.  The old ones at least capture my attention and give me something to look at.  The new ones just put me to sleep.  I can’t imagine anyone new to that author picking up the new version of Night Shadow and thinking, “Ooooh!  This looks like a good book!”

  19. 19
    karmelrio says:

    I’d take the new covers.  I wouldn’t be embarrassed to carry those books up to a cash register, or to read them in a public place. 

    I order any book with a clinch cover from Amazon (maybe).  The Amazon Fairy then delivers it in a sealed brown box and he has no clue as to its contents.  Like porn or ‘marital aids.’

  20. 20
    Robinjn says:

    order any book with a clinch cover from Amazon (maybe).  The Amazon Fairy then delivers it in a sealed brown box and he has no clue as to its contents.  Like porn or ‘marital aids.’

    I guess I must be old, but I guess I quit caring about this stuff about 20 years ago. I mean, bookstores sell erotica, sex manuals, all kinds of stuff. They stock the shelves, so it’s not like they don’t know it’s there. And obviously they want it to sell. I figure what I buy and why is strictly my own business. I march myself up to the cash register, I pay, and yes, I will carry that book into restaurants when eating alone, etc. I refuse to be ashamed of buying and reading romance, even with the clinchy (and sometimes outright tacky) covers. Anybody who is going to judge me for it is a pretentious asshole, and who cares about them anyway. So there.

    My submit word? else 16. I do the above, else I’d feel about 16 (grin).

  21. 21
    Chicklet says:

    Anne Shirley could only dream of having puffed sleeves of the magnitude pictured on Cover #1.

  22. 22
    Tae says:

    Anne Shirley could only dream of having puffed sleeves of the magnitude pictured on Cover #1.

    I love you.  That’s just classic.  I loved those books so much growing up!

  23. 23

    On the first one, I was thinking perhaps her hair had started growing down along her neck and back and he was suddenly aware that he was going to be trapped in Clairol Hair for Eternity!!!!!

    And did you notice on Night Shadow that he seems to have one and a half backs? Perhaps these are aliens finally breaking through their skin suits?

    And on Night Storm, He’s got a wind going too on his hair. and in a different direction from hers. Perhaps the wind of this title is . . . breaking wind and perhaps that accounts for the random directionality. Do you think their wondering . . . “Can s/he smell that?”

    Di

  24. 24
    Cat Marsters says:

    Is it just me, or are hero and heroine #3 joined at the hip in a sort of…surgical way?  I can’t see how there’s any space for his legs and hips under hers.  It seems quite clear to me that this is Siamese Twincest.

    Sometimes I wonder if they ever used models for these covers.  And where they found them—the waiting room of a plastic surgeon?

    Bring on the Deveraux makeovers—all the copies I have are tastefully boring tapestry’n’locket type things.  I want Deveraux mantitty, dammit!

  25. 25
    IndianaViolet says:

    Seriously. #3 original- that fuzzy pink blotch is totally her nipple. Bleh!

  26. 26

    Wow… I just totally spewed my pink lemonade on the screen. Ain’t nothing like Crisco mantitty!

  27. 27
    Mary Lynn says:

    I guess I must be old, but I guess I quit caring about this stuff about 20 years ago. I mean, bookstores sell erotica, sex manuals, all kinds of stuff. They stock the shelves, so it’s not like they don’t know it’s there. And obviously they want it to sell. I figure what I buy and why is strictly my own business. I march myself up to the cash register, I pay, and yes, I will carry that book into restaurants when eating alone, etc. I refuse to be ashamed of buying and reading romance, even with the clinchy (and sometimes outright tacky) covers. Anybody who is going to judge me for it is a pretentious asshole, and who cares about them anyway. So there.

      Yeah, like she said.
    Does Coulter even look at this stuff?!!

  28. 28
    Soni says:

    Hero #3 looks like he styled his hair with compressed air and quick-setting gel.

  29. 29
    --E says:

    It’s tantamount to false advertising, but them’s the rules: the bestselling authors get tasteful covers, no matter how lurid the contents within; the mid-listers and newbie authors take what they can get and feel grateful they’re not stuck with the Pillsbury Doughboy.

    —>I feel I must speak up in defense of the publisher, here.

    When an author becomes well-known, the publisher will “repub” their backlist: put new packaging on them and repromote them in the catalog. The sales force talks them up to the bookbuyers, and the bookstores stock several copies of each, maybe even a dump or endcap (display). This gooses the sales of the books for a month or three.

    This works for authors with a fair bit backlist, whose names are well-known to at least their target audience (i.e. readers of a particular genre). It is usually timed with an author’s new release, though sometimes an author with a VERY long backlist will get a sort of cycle of repubbing over the course of a year or two. (c.f Johanna Lindsey.)

    In short, these repubs were intended to convince readers who had heard of Catherine Coulter, perhaps even read some of her other books, to try these books. There’s no point to repubbing with the same old cover—that’s called a reprint, and anyone who was attracted to that cover presumably already bought the book. The point is to expand the reader base to people who might want a different look.

    These specific repubs occurred in the mid-to-late 90s, when the fashion was switching over to covers without the clinch—in response to readers who lamented that they couldn’t read their books in public! It was also intended to give a “classy” look to “classic” books (whether you agree that pink and blue foil is classy is not the point. I’m talking intent).

    I should point out that all six of these covers were art-directed and designed by the same team.

  30. 30
    Danielle says:

    The new covers are tasteful, but boring. There seems to be extremes at work w/so many covers. Totally over the top or “tasteful” and not indicative of what the book is about.

    It’s very seldom that a book cover catches my eye in a good way.

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