Cover Snark Goes Vintage

Dust off Ye Olde Eyewash Station: it’s time for retro cover art, courtesy of Diane, who sent me a collection of lovely awesome books, with truly spectacular covers, which I found again when cleaning out my book-gasm of an office.


Sarah: When even the Real Doll™ rejects your attempts to reach first base, it’s time to think about rewriting your eHarmony profile, is all I’m sayin’.

Candy: Zombies are so passé. The new horror trend? Reanimated mannequins, bent on making everybody dress in ironic 80s fashions. Just take a look at the latest sure-to-be-classic George Romero horror flick, “Night of the Disco Mannequins.” They’re not set on eating your brains, but they’re definitely going to try and make your shoulderpads bigger.


And because the picture is just too great to be believed, here’s a close up:


Sarah: For a long time, I wondered where Garth Brooks got his fashion sense. And even though I know the answer to that question now, I remain as mystified as ever as to WHY.

Candy: That is possibly one of the most porntastic ‘staches I have ever seen, and that woman looks like she’s ready to knock if off his friggin’ face. I love it!


Sarah: Ah yes, Prince Joe. Prince of what, you ask? Mulletshire, obviously. In the region of Feathering Blowdryer, kingdom of Northwest Mousse.

Candy: Daaaaamn. With hair like that, His Royal Highness there doesn’t need a helmet when he goes ridin’. I suppose if it weren’t so flammable, the military would’ve looked into developing the Aquanet Forcefield a long time ago.

Comments are Closed

  1. ocelott says:

    Wow.  Is that Elizabeth Wakefield on that first cover?

  2. SKapusniak says:

    Amazing hat levitation powers in that second one.

  3. Sandy says:

    The first cover model looks more like Kim Cattrell to me!

  4. Nadia says:

    And the dude in the first cover is John Black from Days of Our Lives.  Obviously during his amnesia era, since he’s lusting after Disco Barbie instead of Marlena. 

    Second cover, I’ve read that book, and never did I imagine the hero as a scrawny balding dude in a ridiculous shirt.  I’ll never be able to read it again.

    Third cover, wasn’t Joe a Navy SEAL?  Well, that hair is a really, really, good disguise.

  5. Lisa says:

    In defense of the last cover – Joe IS a Navy SEAL, as asked above with regulation-short hair. But he gets extensions during the book to disguise himself as the real prince, who is a bit of a twat. The book doesn’t SAY that the prince has a mullet, but it would totally be in keeping with his character. So I actually think this cover is pretty accurate.

  6. Tina says:

    In Suzanne Brockmann’s defense over the last one…the hair is extensions.  Joe is a Navy Seal impersonating a prince to lure out terrorists…and the prince is kinda a douche…which further explains the hair.  It is, however, a freaking awesome book and should be read by everyone

  7. SB Sarah says:

    There is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING more manly than a Navy SEAL with hair extensions.

    Oh, yessssss.

  8. The first cover makes me want to watch Grease, and thanks to Sarah’s comment, also Guys and Dolls…the Real Dolls documentary, not the musical.

    The second cover makes me want to invent a pill that’ll cure the blonde’s matrini-goggles.

    The third one makes sense now that I know he’s a Navy SEAL, as I was wondering why Joe’s princess-to-be seems to be wearing a bathing suit.

  9. Alix says:

    LOL OMG you guys made my morning, I was just discussing the importance of good covers with someone and I am totally linking to this article. Gotta love the old windswept Ken doll hair on the last one, or the surprised look on the girls face. I always wondered where the trend started with facelifts that made women look perpetually shocked, I see now that it always leads back to the romance novels.  And I love the porn ‘stache its too classic for words.


  10. Babs says:


    SEAL with hair extensions?!?! *spews tea all over screen*

    With book #2, I swear I see T-Bag (with longer hair) from “Prison Break” in that guy. And how totally non-romantic is that?!?

    What a giggly way to start the day. Thanks.

  11. What will we do for laughs if e-books replace paperbacks?  I hope they come out with color screen e-readers if only for the cover art.

  12. JamiSings says:

    Top cover, I think she’s checking out someone else off in the distance.

    And I have a disco ball in my bedroom.

  13. Sabrina M. says:

    Ah, I love the older covers.
    I have some of Roberta Leigh’s books from the 50s and the covers are awesome and so pretty.

  14. Ava says:

    @Nadia, pish, forget Days of Our Lives that is clearly an early career, and obviously broke Clive Owen. Who appears to be about to detach his jaw and swallow that woman’s face whole.

  15. Heather says:

    *THAT’S* the original cover to Manhunting?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?  She supposed walked out of a lake buck naked to that mullet/stache combo?  Uh, no.  Unless that guy is supposed to be one of the dozen or so guys she bumps off during the book….

  16. SheaLuna says:

    I remember many eons ago borrowing Manhunting from a friend.  I just couldn’t make it past the porn ‘stache cover.  Prince Joe, however, was excellent.  Even with hair extensions.

  17. Rebecca says:

    I read all of those books, with those covers, and loved them.  I don’t pay much attention to covers, otherwise I would have never be able to read romance.

  18. Kristin says:

    Too funny…I think I just snorted my coffee because of your cover comments.

  19. SB Sarah says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t catch the cover copy on that first one:

    She couldn’t stop dreaming of red stain sheets and a handsome desperado named Spider…

    That is a Lifetime Movie in the making right there.

  20. Please tell me you meant red satin sheets, Sarah. Otherwise…shudder.

  21. PetiteJ says:

    Isn’t there a character named Spider in Scruples?  Not that I’m remembering from the book.  I’m remembering from the TV miniseries with scary-skinny Lindsay Wagner as the main heroine, fetal-young Kim Cattrall, and Barry Bostwick as blond uber-stud Spider.  I think I saw it on WE tv years ago when it was Romance Classics.

  22. SB Sarah says:

    red stain sheets

    Unintentional hilarity, I has one.


    That is hands down my Best Typo of the Day.

  23. Tamara Hogan says:

    Sarah said:

    She couldn’t stop dreaming of red stain sheets and a handsome desperado named Spider…

    Wow, this couple must really love riding the tide.  (Best typo evah.)

    Don’t judge a book by its cover, folks – “Prince Joe” rocks.  The cover of the 2002 reprint was a vast improvement.

  24. The guy on manhunting looks like Victor from Young and the Restless in his younger days. Not that I’m old enough to know personally

    Lincoln Literature Examiner
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  25. JamiSings says:

    BTW – If you want more 80s WTFery there’s a video dating thingie over on Once Upon A Win.

    I just want to know now what the women’s videos were like.

  26. Lori says:

    I think the 2nd & 3rd examples should serve as encouragement for current authors who get less than stellar covers. Those are both really bad and they obviously didn’t kill Crusie and Brockmann’s careers.

    Although as others have pointed out the Prince Joe cover is pretty much true to the book. Joe the SEAL is a great guy. The prince he’s subbing for is a complete tool. The book didn’t say he had a mullet, but he was definitely the type.

  27. Lily says:

    I have yet to find another site where I look forward with such relish to the comment section as much as the original post!  You all are a riot.

    I just scared the dogs when I burst out laughing at red stain sheets…

  28. Kristina says:

    OMG!!! Numbers 1 and 3 are on my Keeper shelf.  I got rid of basically all of my series romances from high school but could NOT bear to part with number 1 and number 2 is a keeper also.  Nostalic books I could read again in about 2 minutes.

    :-), but yes the covers are horrible.

  29. Liz says:

    thank you thank you thank you!  best time waster of the day.  so glad i found out that my class doesn’t start until 2:30, so i had the time to check the site out before leaving.

    BTW, the guy on the Manhunting cover kind of looks like the way my uncle did in the late 80’s and early 90’s, which is really scary and makes me wonder what about his looks attracted my aunt.

    @JaimeSings That last guy on the video reminds me of Sammy from The Wedding Singer.  I was waiting for him to say that he was a limo driver.  I wonder if Adam Sandler asked his permission to use him as the model for the character when he wrote the movie.  I also wonder if this guy has seen it or the musical (although he doesn’t seem the type does he?) and saw himself in Sammy?

  30. Jan Hudson says:

    What a hoot!  And Step into My Parlor wasn’t my worst cover.  I never did figure out what the disco balls had to do with the story, and the guy with Barbie looked like Fonzie at a high school prom.  (Hero was an ex-pro football player who owned a pawn shop in Houston, and the heroine was a D.C. socialite who hid out there while on the run from bad guys.)  The Italian edition had a much better cover.

  31. Alex Ess says:

    I feel like the woman in the second cover should be exclaiming “I got him!” in a disturbingly perky voice.

  32. SB Sarah says:

    (Hero was an ex-pro football player who owned a pawn shop in Houston, and the heroine was a D.C. socialite who hid out there while on the run from bad guys.)

    OK, seriously? I wanna read that, like, now. That’s awesome – WAAAAY better than disco balls and red satin (or “stain”) sheets!

  33. Silver James says:

    @Nadia – YES! That first guy is SOOOOOO John Black. The second guy looks like a soap star, too, but I can’t think of his name. He was/is in a soap I never watched but caught commercials of. He was a villain and foreign. Somebody HABO out with who I’m thinking of.

    And the third one? A SEAL with extensions is just wrong on so many levels. I hope they were secured well! Can you imagine running your fingers through that mullet and it comes off in your hands? *bwahahaha*

  34. Tamara Hogan says:

    Re: the inflatable doll cover (first one)…  I have an unending crush on musician/comic Tim Minchin.  If you want to LYAO, catch his “Inflatable You” on YouTube.  Mildly NSFW – unless your job is making sex dolls, of course. 

    Bonus Minchin:  “White Wine in the Sun,” the definitive atheist Christmas song.  I DARE you not to tear up. 

  35. India says:

    Hey, isn’t that Eric Braedon’s face ‘shopped onto cover 2?

  36. india says:

    PS—sorry, that’s Eric Braeden, not Braedon…

  37. Carrie says:

    Ah yes, Prince Joe. Prince of what, you ask? Mulletshire, obviously. In the region of Feathering Blowdryer, kingdom of Northwest Mousse.

    That’s too funny.

    I’m loving the the second cover, they look like they are about to crack up laughing.

    I also think it looks like a young Eric Braedon.

  38. Kalen Hughes says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t catch the cover copy on that first one:

    She couldn’t stop dreaming of red stain sheets and a handsome desperado named Spider…

    It’s the only thing that made the title make sense. Ugh.

  39. henofthewoods says:

    Since I’ve read Manhunting and Prince Joe and loved them both, I think I have to try Jan Hudson.

    Clearly, Diane who hoards bad-covers reads books I like.

    Diane – did you buy these new? Or did you know that they were probably OK and just ignore how bad the covers were? My copy of Manhunting is preppy pastel wallpaper and Prince Joe is part of the Tall, Dark and Dangerous bundle #1 – I haven’t noticed the cover, I e-skip to the actual story.

    How bad does a cover have to be before you can’t buy a book you are sure you want to read? My Mom said she used to rip the front covers off of her Georgettes when they were particularly embarrassing (she was a hippie, not supposed to read romance). I don’t think I could mutilate a book like that. But maybe if it had that mustache – eiwww. Moodkiller.

  40. Chani says:

    @Tamara Hogan. Remaining off topic, I looove Tim Minchin. Thanks for the link to “White Wine in the Sun”. I have just come back from a trip back to Australia and am feeling a bit homesick.

    One of my husband and my favourites is “Storm”:

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