Vintage Covers are Ready for Their Close Ups

The wayback machine: land of strange illustrations and cover art that led you to discover amazing writers while questioning the sanity or narcotic habits of certain illustrators.



Sarah: So THAT’S where the idea for Burning Man came from. I’ve always wondered.

Candy: That is quite possibly the strangest tan-line I’ve ever seen. It’s like reverse-goggles-farmer tan.



Sarah: It’s Evanovich’s first paranormal, about a very flexible were-jellyfish woman who masquerades as an 80’s executive while waiting for the chance to stretch her talents and entangle the man of her dreams!

Candy: Holy crap! It’s totally that annoying chick from the first season of West Wing! Except she seems to have picked up a gnarly case of rheumatoid arthritis along the way. Poor lady. My one big piece of advice for you, speaking as a person who’s good friends with a fellow young ‘un with gnarly arthritis: let OXO be thy savior.


Sarah: Never, and I do mean NEVER, doubt the power of sexxy contained in a thumb-on-the-chin Olan Mills photo pose. I have to… excuse me. Rwor.

Candy: Is somebody channeling a bit of the Hoff? The answer, I think, is YES, YES, YES.

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  1. 1
    SheaLuna says:

    Cinderman is the only one I’ve read and I love, love, LUUUUUUUUUUUUURVED it!  I have to admit, the cover art did always confuse me slightly.  I don’t recall there being any fire involved in the story.  Or farmer’s tans, for that matter.

  2. 2
    Megan says:

    I remember reading Cinderman in either junior high or high school. I might even still have that book on my bookcase.

  3. 3
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Speaking as someone who is slightly double-jointed in both my hands and feet, those hand positions in Naughty Neighbor are actually quite easy to achieve.

  4. 4
    Tina C. says:

    On the 3rd cover, I was going to write that I thought David Hasselhoff as soon as I saw it when my husband, who is sitting behind me said, “Is that David Hasselhoff?”.  I think it’s unanimous!

    As for the 2nd cover, I just tried to put my hand where hers is and I suppose, if you have very long hands (I do) and you scrunched your arm in tight, you could put the heel of your hand on your shoulder and touch your collarbone at the base of your throat.  But you wouldn’t enjoy it.  (And why is that guy giving Lisa Bonet a chiropractic adjustment at a party, any way?)

    I have no words for the 1st cover.  It is truly the strangest romance cover I’ve ever seen!

  5. 5
    Cheryl McInnis says:

    I thought Janet Evanovich’s covers were weird now, what with the dogs and the cats and the turkeys on them. But that one-very creepy! And the new cover for Naughty Neighbor has a pig on it, a very huge improvement in my opinion ;-)

  6. 6
    Star Opal says:

    For cover 1, it’s obviously not reverse goggles tan, but ski-mask with eye holes tan. Duh! Now why the hell he doesn’t have a shirt on if the mountains are so cold he needs a full mask…. the world may never know.

    #3: Clearly this is the poster for the new movie ‘H’. Oliver Stone’s next biopic, starring Josh Brolin as The Hoff.

  7. 7
    Nadia says:

    I love Cinderman!  And yes, there was a fire at the end.  But the flowing tresses, I do not recall.  And the raccoon eyes, har!

    Third book:  “I don’t always read catagory romance, but when I do, it’s Silhouette Desire.  Stay sexy, my friends.”

  8. 8
    Polly says:

    Hmmm. I must just have weird hands, or I’m missing some essential holy-crap aspect of the hand in cover 2, but it doesn’t seem too difficult to do.

  9. 9
    Nadia says:

    I can get my arm like that, but I’m not sure why I would since it’s not exactly a natural-feeling position.  At first I thought that was his hand moving in to cop a feel.

  10. 10

    Wow, the Blue Man Group are doing book covers now? Cool!

  11. 11
    June says:

    Scarily, I have all three of those books.

  12. 12
    Tina says:

    Third book:  “I don’t always read catagory romance, but when I do, it’s Silhouette Desire.  Stay sexy, my friends.”

    Aaaaand I just snorted out loud, at work…the cover is shockingly like the man in the Dos Equis commericials

    And Cover #1, reminds me of Encino Man, that bad, early 90s movie with Brendan Fraser as a reanimated cave man…

    And for #2…its good that a romance novel feels comfortable protraying women with five-heads…so often you see women with normal sides foreheads, but never a five-head…awesome

  13. 13
    SusannaG says:

    I tried the position in the second cover, and I think it’s doable if you have hands that are long relative to your arms (I have short arms and normal-to-large hands).

  14. 14

    I know you all think the third cover is The Hoff, but I immediately thought Lorenzo Lamas.
    The photo of him with the motorcycle and the “Chorus Line” billboard blows me away. I loved Knight Rider but my mother didn’t let me watch Falcon Crest. Assuming that was related to hour at night, since she let me watch the “Lace” miniseries and Guiding Light after school, so content must not have been the issue.

    Love these vintage covers. If we have some of our own, do we scan and email them? How can we share?

    Anna Richland
    (ballerina cupcakes at my blog this week)

  15. 15
    Stephanie says:

    Um, are my eyes playing tricks or is Cinderman cupping himself?

  16. 16
    Diane/Anonym2857 says:

    There are fires in Cinderman, hence the name. ;o)  I think what the artist was trying (and failing! LOL) to show were his invisibility powers. He’s blue because the sky behind him is blue… get it? But he’s really hot. Or something.

    I bucksnorted and LOLed at the Lisa Bonet comment.  I can put my hand up in that position, but it’s not a comfortable pose for me.  Thankfully, I don’t have any vaulable necklaces to continually fondle/verify it hasn’t fallen off, so it’s not an issue for me. :oP

    The thing that always strikes me, other than the excellent commentary already noted about cover three, is the very flat, strange angle of his hair. It’s like they rudely awoke him from a nap for the photo, He combed the ‘bed head’ out of the front only, and then they shot him from the side. LOLOL   However, I am willing to forgive that cover a lot because I love the story inside so much.

    Diane :o)

  17. 17
    Jinni says:

    I used to read SD, and remember that cover.  Most of these books made an exit from my life – years ago (maybe between college and law school when my mother made me discard a lot of stuff).  I can only imagine what people thought when I was reading these in my teens . . . not that the covers are much better now – but I care not what people think.

  18. 18
    Laura says:

    “Night of the Hunter” makes me think of the David Grubb book. Does he have “love” and “hate” tattooed on his knuckles?

  19. 19
    shel says:

    First cover, um, the right hand.

    Um, are my eyes playing tricks or is Cinderman cupping himself?

    Hehe, so it’s not just me.

  20. 20
    JamiSings says:

    I don’t see what’s so weird about the hand on NN. Only thing that makes it uncomfortable for me (yes, I tried to do it) is the fact I’m so fat. I’m sure if I was thin like her I could do that easily.

    Besides, didn’t they hire models back then before the age of photoshop? So obviously the model herself could do it.

  21. 21
    mirain says:

    Laura, I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds it a tad disturbing that someone titled a romance after a book about a killer who preys on women.

  22. 22
    Kristina says:

    he he he…  I remember as a young gal being enamoured with Marlboro-esque men like Mr. Hunter there.  I second the Rwor! 

    Of course now I’d rather mix up a little Ben Afleck with Brad Pitt and a large dash of Liam Neeson.  Mega Rwor.

    security word:  early94 – yup early 94 was about when I stopped reading cheesy catagories.  :0)  but you guys are becoming bad influences and I want to pick them up again.

  23. 23

    Love Cinderman, such a unique paranormal romance with the hot scientist hero. The cover is quite odd, though. As for the cupping, after the big lab explosion, scientist hero DOES check his er …man juice to see if it could harm the heroine. Maybe the artist was thinking of that.

  24. 24
    Krista says:

    What’s up with Hoff’s naked shot with hella-wrinkled puppies? Am I the only one who finds it mildly disturbing?

  25. 25
    Reneesance says:

    I”m so glad I’m not the only one who fondly remembers Cinderman, despite the horrible cover.  I wonder if my copy is still in a box at my parents house.

  26. 26
    nadia says:

    I”m so glad I’m not the only one who fondly remembers Cinderman, despite the horrible cover.

    Invisible supergenius with Georgette Heyers on his bookshelf?  Oh, yes, please!  Thankfully, my copy is in a three-book omnibus with a totally bland cover.  And yes, he did have flowing Fabioesque hair, I looked it up.

  27. 27
    belldandelion says:

    Third cover: So that’s what Pierce Brosnan did before Remington Steele – if I were him, I’d hide it too! :)

  28. 28
    Kate Pearce says:

    All over the world SB blog readers are now trying to contort themselves into weird arm positions. It’s the romance equivalent of trying to lick your elbow.
    And, yes, of course, I tried it -and I can do it due to super-flexible bone structure :)

  29. 29
    GoShawdy! says:

    In the dramatic words of Jeff Fischer from American Dad: BURNING MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

  30. 30
    voodoo chile says:

    Wow! These covers are bringing back serious memories.  I’m looking @ the $2.50 cover price for the Silhouette Desire book (of which I had many) in amazement.

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