Cover Snark: Special Cover Controversy Double Edition

It’s that time of year again: the 2007 slate of covers in the Cover Cafe’s annual Cover Controversy contest are up, ready for your votes and comments. If ever I’m having a shittastic day, I go back into past cover contests and gaze at the wonderment of covers gone horribly horribly wrong.

This year, the slate of worst covers is pretty damn good, and by “good” I mean, “Eager to make you say WTF were they THINKING?” Kensington Publishing, you are getting a monster load of publicity out of this year’s contest, lemme tell you, because damn. And whoa. And holy crap. So here we have Candy and Sarah trying to figure out which one gets their vote for the worst cover of 2007.

Sarah: There were some gawdawful covers last year. I can think of a few that turned my stomach to an even deeper yogic twist than some of these, but I have to say, as a slate of terrible, this slate is pretty good. Not great – there were plenty that were much, much worse – but on the whole, not bad for badness. I didn’t upload every single one, since some of them weren’t really poor enough to be among the worst. So here’s our slate.

Candy: I’ve seen worse, to be honest, and I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand: it really does seem like publishers are finally learning and moving away from the fug. Some of the Worst Cover nominees from 2006 and 2005, for example, I actually liked—but then I dig the comic book look and don’t find comics embarrassing the way some of the commentators apparently do. On the other hand: I derive a certain measure of delicious masochistic pain from the terrible covers, and lots of belly laughs from the ensuing commentary in the contest. Less fug = less fun. The genre wins, but my selfish side wants the cheap laugh, goddammit.

That said: There are still quite a few gems from this particular batch.

Also: when you’re done looking at the snark, head over to Cover Cafe and cast your vote.


Candy: So THIS is what it looks like when Cousin Itt gets a trim and tries to fuck a tribble! Hawt!

Sarah: Nothing says “oh yeah” like necking in the fiery depths of the earth’s core while feeling your skin slowly melt from your body. Hawt indeed!


Candy: Great. You know Cinemax is starting to run low on ideas when they start resorting to “When PR Interns Go Wild” for the late night softcore offerings.

Sarah: The car! The car is tilting at a not-even-closer-to-horizontal dizzying angle and they’re about to roll off the cliff into a fiery oblivion! Wait, apparently they’ve identified the problem and are going out with a bang. You’d think they’d hurry up and get themselves horizontal already.


Candy: Holy shit! My first thought: Post-op tranny love. And goddamn, that sister wasn’t shy about specifying exactly how big she wanted her bazooms to be.

Sarah: We’re moments away from knowing all there is to know about The Crying Game, with bonus DVD features, like this instructional shot that demonstrates how to grab one’s falsie like Wilson Phillips and hold on.


Candy: We’ve snarked this cover in the past, and I want to reiterate: Come on, Kensington. FOR SHAME. If you advertise big, spankable asses, we want big, spankable asses. We want thunderclap-worthy asses. (Warning: video mildly not-work-safe.) That ass? Not even worthy of a static shock.

Sarah: Not big. Not spankable. Not even close. And if the problem is with the title and not so much the cover image, then I expect “Baby of Shame” to make next year’s slate. 


Candy: Oh my God. Between the contrast of the unnaturally perky, clean-cut blonde chick being groped by Gomez Addams’ creepy younger brother (I get the impression he sells used Kias for a living) and the looming house in the background, it’s like Amityville Horror meets the Osmonds.

Make the screaming in my head stop, mommy. Please?

Sarah: Apparently, after the wedding, someone went on a meth bender while operating Photoshop without a license, and this was the result. A bonafide disaster.


Candy: You know, other than the fact that that’s way more skin than I want on the front cover of my book, there’s nothing too horribly wrong with this cover. It’s soft-focus softcore cheesy, and I can practically hear the smooth jazz playing in the background and breathy moans as I look at this, but compared to the other covers, my sensibilities haven’t been ripped out, ripped into shreds, danced upon with three-inch stiletto heels and set on fire.

Sarah: Nothing says, “This book has sex in it” like two people on the cover having sex. Thank you to this book for making it that much more difficult for me to defend accusations that romance = porn.

Especially with the jizztastic explosion of water going on behind her, there. If he orgasms that forcefully in real life, well, no wonder he has to hold onto her by the longhairs. She probably doesn’t have any short ones.


Candy: Touch of Madness? Well, yes, I believe necrophilia is typically a sign of SOME sort of pathology—especially when you start going for the ones who are starting to rot.

Sarah: I can hear the book trailer now: He’s creepy and he’s cooked -EEE!. She’s zombified and ookey. This sure don’t look like nookie. Clamp and Adams, scaring me.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Ladypeyton says:

    Spankable Asses?  I just….I have no words.  If it weren’t for thet title I would definitely have had to go for the one with the big foam #1 finger, but really….Spankable.  Asses.


  2. 2
    Carrie Lofty says:

    I loved the BB cover. They look like they’re having such a good time, and it’s totally in keeping with the shock and fun of the book. Don’t know why it’s in there, among all the horros they could pick annually.

  3. 3
    Katie says:

    Your comments about the cover of “What She Craves” are really transphobic. Wow. Using “post-op tranny” and references to movies about trans people as a way to call someone unattractive is pretty vicious.

    The computer-generated word I’m getting is “strong43” – that’s what trans people have to be every damn day to see shit like this and hold their heads up high.

  4. 4
    Julie Leto says:

    Sorry, but I still don’t see what’s wrong with Beyond Breathless.  It’s definitely not one of the worst covers of the year, for Pete’s sake.  Hello?  Where are all the cartoon covers that are still being produced?

    And I don’t think the At The Edge is that bad either.  Sure, I don’t like the orange, but his hair doesn’t bother me.  I think it’s sexy.

    And the What She Craves cover is okay if not for the boob.

    I just think there were a lot worse covers out there—a lot worse.

  5. 5
    Amie Stuart says:

    I gotta agree w/Julie….I’ve seen worse than most of these.

  6. 6
    LadyRhian says:

    I voted for “Kink”, because the title looked like it was going to screw the cover model into next week. :P

  7. 7
    Lorelie says:

    Re: Ceremony of Seduction.

    It looks more like he’s providing relief for head lice, rather than gripping a fistful of hair in passion.

  8. 8

    I, too, was torn between BIG SPANKABLE ASSES and MOMMY FOR A MINUTE—but HAD to go with the big foam finger poised to enter the guys big schnozz!

    where96—yeah, I’m betting he’ll get at least 96 votes!

  9. 9
    Spider (@ work) says:

    Is it just me or is the guy’s hand hand on the wrong way in

    At the Edge

    ?  That might raise its badness level in my book.

  10. 10
    Dayle says:

    I’m astonished no one has commented on the disturbingly penis-like thumb of the hero in What She Craves. If that’s all he’s got, why advertise it on the cover?

  11. 11
    Laurel says:

    The big foam finger got my vote – the grease slick of a forehead on the heroine tipped the balance for me.

  12. 12
    SB Sarah says:

    “Using “post-op tranny” and references to movies about trans people as a way to call someone unattractive is pretty vicious.”

    I’m not saying that person is unattractive. I’m saying that cover is unattractive. I’m also saying the cover art, between the male chin and profile and the dubiously-positioned breast, appears to be a depiction of two men, one of whom is embracing – directly and somewhat desperately, as if they are very slippery at the moment – female secondary sex characteristics. Wait, are breasts secondary or primary? Hang on. I was right the first time. Secondary, they are, yes.

    Anyway. I am mocking without mercy the attractiveness of the oeuvre of Wilson Phillips. And I stand by that decision.

  13. 13

    For shame for missing the opportunities to mock celebrity look-alikes!

    Ceremony of Seduction: Angelina Jolie!
    Touch of Madness: Julia Landau (the crazy vampire lady in Buffy)!

  14. 14

    What?!  These covers aren’t bad.  Remember the guy with the brown underwear?  Now that was bad.

    I quite like At the Edge.  Shagadelic.

  15. 15
    Denni says:

    I also have seen much, much worse. 

    #2 Beyond Breathless – those people are not convincing me they are getting busy.

    #7 Touch of Madness – another misleading cover on a good book.  The vamps (the hand we assume) are totally evil, and the boyfriend is a werewolf.  And of course, the cover scene never happens in the book.

  16. 16
    Amanda says:

    Is it just me or is the woman on the cover of Big Spankable Asses made of the same material as Stretch Armstrong and Plastic Man?

  17. 17
    Lu says:

    Big Spankable Asses?

    ummm.  Let’s take that an element at a time, shall we?

    Big – no.  That is not a big backside, not proportionately, not by the size of her pants – not unless she’s supposed to be seven feet tall, which might explain her lack of pants.

    Spankable – all a matter of personal opinion, I suppose.  She doesn’t do anything for me.

    Asses – That picture has one, singular, which would be ass.  Asses is plural, which implies at least two, and that doesn’t mean two cheeks.

    So, we have one backside that looks as if she’s inviting a spanking that she’d probably like quite a bit… just… sigh.

    I’d give the cover a ‘fail’ – but there were worse ones over there to choose from.

    huh – the filter word is services78 – do you think she’s offering a few services?

  18. 18
    Chrissy says:

    The point was not to mock transexuals, but to mock the stupidity of using an image that appears to be masculine on a cover with HER right there in the title.

    I know that because I wore my big girl panties today.

  19. 19
    DS says:

    I picked the big foam finger as well—in part because it looked like all three main characters looked like they were cropped from different covers and photoshopped together.  In fact I’m sure I’ve seen the darling little moppet on another cover but reversed. 

    It Happened One Wedding looked to me like it should be retitled Peewee’s Big Wedding Adventure.

  20. 20

    It Happened One Wedding looked to me like it should be retitled Peewee’s Big Wedding Adventure.

    Coffee. Nose. I should never read this website at work.

    hall69, she’ll be fine!

  21. 21
    Stacia says:

    It Happened One Wedding initially seemed like a deliberate attempt at comedic, overly-wholesome whitebread, but after reading the plot description I don’t think it was intentional.  The guy in the book is a photographer, which explains the expensive camera.  Oof.  I think I’m still going to have to vote for the finger.  That one is classic.

    Crissy, I think you need to learn to be more condescending.  The “big girl panties” comment just wasn’t self-important and snotty enough.

  22. 22
    JaneyD says:

    PLS-PLS-PLS don’t blame Adams and Clamp for that cover!  The poor writers never have control over that kind of thing.

    Put the blame squarely on the publisher’s marketing department—the staff of which do all they can to:

    a) avoid reading the book;

    b) prevent the cover artist from reading the book;

    c) score another box of wacky-weed brownies for casual Friday;

    d) have a laugh on Monday when they hear the anguished screams of the book’s writers.

  23. 23
    Chrissy says:

    No worries, Stacia, I have much more snottiness in me.

    I save it up for special occasions.


  24. 24
    Katie says:

    SB Sarah -

    I find your response disingenuous. Rephrasing to specify that it was the whole cover you disliked still means you’re meaning to insult it, that it’s “gone horribly horribly wrong.” It’s not my business who you find attractive, but equating unattractiveness with transness is, yes, transphobic.

    “The cover art…appears to be a depiction of two men.” Well, if you meant men, then you could have said men. What you are implying is that you think transwomen are men, which is a fallacy, and a very offensive characterization as well.

    If you’re interested in reading a Trans 101, there’s a great one here:

    leave25 – perhaps a special message from Chrissy?

  25. 25
    Madd says:

    Why does it have to be “transphobic”? I can see where some people might perceive the comments as insensitive, but why do you automatically have to go to that level? You don’t know what her views on transgendered people are so why assume she’s got some big issue or that she’s purposely being malicious towards the transgendered? People make comments sometimes that others find offensive, that doesn’t necessarily mean they set out to offend.

    I spent most of my young life surrounded by gay men, drag queens and trannies. I found that I was most comfortable in that community. I’m not the least bit phobic nor do I find transgender or transexual people ugly in any way. And you know what? My first though when I looked at that cover was that the woman on that cover looked like someone in transition.

  26. 26
    DS says:

    All I want to know is—in Beyond Breathless does the car do a a roll while they are making out in the back seat?  That is exactly what it looks like is happening on the cover.

  27. 27

    Seriously, I don’t think I’d feel comfortable reading Ceremony of Seduction in my own bedroom, with the door bolted and the curtains sewn closed. At second glance, that’s kinda what my Barbie dolls used to look like when I made them “get a baby.”

  28. 28
    Chrissy says:

    RE: covers and authors. 

    Preach it, sister.  I know I’ve been on a few author’s threads elsewhere and witnessed a melt-down or two when the cover arrived in a friend’s inbox.  If it were me I’d flip.  All that work, only to have the public’s first glimpse a piece of bad Poser art or—gaaahhh!!!—worse?

    RE: transsexuality lectures

    Pointing out that a guy looks like a gal or that a gal looks like a guy is not sexist, it’s observational irony.

    Pointing out that anyone looks transsexual when the title is gender specific and the image is meant to be heterosexual is, too.

    Yammering on about an injustice that isn’t there doesn’t need any label but “lame.”

    If you have any ACTUAL injustices against any group, btw, I’ll happily bring my bag of snotty tricks over for snark. 

    Oh, and I doubt ANYONE wants to give me any control over the security codes. 

    Seriously.  :)

  29. 29
    Katie says:

    Madd –

    As with most scenarios in which people do/say messed-up things, intent does not negate the harmful effect of an action. If you slap me across the face intending to kill a mosquito on my cheek, it’s still gonna hurt like hell, and I’ll still get pissed off.

    Chrissy -

    Your comment is somewhat specious, given that it doesn’t take into account that the “transness” of the cover model was used as a deliberate slur against her, and/or on the attractiveness of the cover as a whole. “Pointing out that anyone looks transsexual” makes it sound as though this post was simply dedicated to showcasing recent covers – not recent ugly, hilarious, misguided covers.

    Some more yammering – you’re being ableist when you call things “lame.” Also, it’s a little amusing that you seem to think that you’re The Decider when it comes to whether something is offensive or not, but as I doubt whether you’re getting midnight phone calls from GLAAD and the NAACP, I think this may simply be the role you *want*, rather than the one you *have*. Frankly, if minorities waited for people of privilege to let them know when something was amiss, they’d be waiting a long damn time.

    SB Sarah –

    It would be lovely to see the description for the cover changed to something deliciously snarky that doesn’t manage to insult trans people – transwomen in particular.

    Freedom44 – deliciously apropos.

  30. 30
    Madd says:

    If you slap me across the face intending to kill a mosquito on my cheek, it’s still gonna hurt like hell, and I’ll still get pissed off.

    I wouldn’t appreciate the slap in the face,  but I wouldn’t be all that pissed off if someone was merely trying to help me out. I mean. I might glare and say “Damn, next time just let me know there’s a mosquito on my face!” but I wouldn’t punch them … which is the usual response a slap in the face would receive from me. That’s why I think it’s a bit out of pocket to come in tossing out words like “transphobic” when you could have simply said something like “I know this is all supposed to be in fun, but be aware that some people would find the tranny comment offensive.” maybe posted the informational link along with it. Of course, what tack you take depends on your intention as well, doesn’t it? Were you looking to inform or inflame?

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