Urban Fantasy Hits You At the Belt

Alert reader Robin N. sent me the following collection of images, asking, “I know you talk about the butt side vs the front side on covers, and the dismembered corpse. What I want to know is, what is it with this belt? Why do I see this belt on practically every UF book?”

Belt? There’s an urban fantasy belt? Oh yes, yes there is.





WHOA. What is up with that? Robin asks the same thing: “Does it have super-uber magic powers this belt? Does it automatically scream “I am baddass, I can wear silver studs around my womanly/manly waist without looking like a refugee from 80s disco?”

No idea, but have you noticed the belt? Have you seen it elsewhere? How many are there – are the cover models sharing it? Is it being distributed across the urban fantasy genre peaceably or is there a sparkly belt treaty in play? This is amazing. World peace via silver studded belt.

Have you found Ye UF Belt? Share a link or pic in the comments – and if you OWN the belt, please, tell us of its magical properties!

Comments are Closed

  1. John says:

    Hot Topic co-sponsorship of all those photo shoots?

    Focus group analysis says that primary readership owns at least one of those silver-stud belts?

  2. Tina C. says:

    So, both of my sons are in the Navy and, at this very moment, both of them are home, visiting.  The reason I mention this is because my eldest, who has this sort of skateboarder/slightly punkish/slightly emo style going when he’s not in uniform, has that belt (minus the cheesy wallet chain the dude on the last cover is sporting)!  My son’s belt is black and white studs instead of silver, but otherwise, it looks the same.  Wow—I never knew that he had and/or fought supernatural powers!

  3. ocelott says:

    I could be mistaken, but I think those covers were all painted by the same artist.  Which means I’ll bet we could find more instances of the belt if we looked for ‘em in his gallery…

    Edit: I am not mistaken!

  4. Oh, hey… I have a studded belt.  I haven’t noticed any special, sparkly UF powers though.  It just holds my britches up.

    Although sometimes, holding britches up does seem to be a dying thing.

  5. The belt’s just fashion shorthard for bad-assfulness, the lite version of strapping a couple ammunition belts around your trunk à la Rambo. Plus, spikes and studs and metal hovering just above crotch-level? “What I got sin mah pants? It be’s a pitbull! Watch yo’self!” I’d guess it’s the UF equivalent of the historical cover with the hero hefting his manful sword-wang.

  6. Ben P says:

    My wife has one of these belts sparkly studded belts. It is, however, throughly trumped by her belt with the very piraty skull-and-crossbones buckle.
    Both of them seem tô lend her superpowers involving Extrasensory-Windowshopping, Inhuman Endurance when Shopping and perhaps the most frightening power of all: Discover All Fashion Articles With Leopard Pattern…

    Of course, this could all have nothing to do with the belts and eveything to do with her genetic superiority concerning all things shopping.

    What’s with cover girl’s whole lordosis/sway-back gangly-looking-over-my-shoulder-not-very-seductively thing anway? Is she tryin’ to out-funnny-pose the Masters of Mantitty?

    Bring back Fabio.

  7. closetcrafter says:

    We currently own 2 versions of this belt. I have it as a skinny 1 row of studs, unfortunately, not possessing all the powers of Ben P’s Wife’s belt, maybe due to only 1 row of studs.

    My 12 yr old daughter has the Hot Topic black and purple version. It gives her massive alt rock fan powers allowing her to memorize lyrics after a single listen and drool over anemic post pubescent androgynous males. It’s awesome!

    She would be on the cover minus the gun, plus an Ipod Touch.

  8. SB Sarah says:

    @closetcrafter you made me LOL like AOL.

    @Ben P – does leopard pattern enhance the powers of the Belt? Does the subtle pattern combination of squares and natural circles combine to create a force field of unparalleled endurance? Perhaps you ought to test that out at the Mall of America: every store, every level, 24 hours tops.

  9. KMont says:

    Ocelott, that’s what immediately came to mind, Chris McGrath illustrations. Seems that’s his standard belt lol. And really, that might be the most practical accessory in an UF character’s arsenal. Can’t have those pants flapping down to the knees during a fight. Is the first one his work, though? Sort of looks like McGrath’s but a little different, too. Eh.

    Still, SB Sarah, you’re not off at all to say this could be THE UF belt. McGrath seems to do most UF covers these days. 😉

  10. Pam says:


    Shorthard?  Does that make the ammo belts longhard???

  11. Mireya says:

    Option 1: Accesorizing is important when killing vamps/shifters/fae/zombies.  There is no reason or excuse not to do it in style.

    Option 2: The artist was given that belt and figures he/she might as well put it to use before tossing it to the trash.

    Option 3: The artist thinks belts make the character look tough.

    Option 4: The artist wants to distract attention from the fact that the model in the cover looks nothing like the character that he/she is supposed to depict.

    Maybe it is a status symbol?  No?  I dunno…

  12. Ashley says:

    Anybody see last season Project Runway?  There was this wide black belt with studs and two buckles, and every time it was used to accessorize a look, the look won.  Hmmm. . .

    spamword:  every32 Every 32 yr old should have one of these.

  13. Trippinoutmysoul says:

    I have this belt! I’ve been wearing it for…8 years? Which sounds bad, but I got it when I was 15. As a teenager it held up my over-size boy shorts and lent me a self-imagined aura of bad assedness. As a mother and military wife, it is shiny metallic evidence that I’m still me, Heather, and not just Mommy and The Sergeants Wife.

    done28- I MAY be done with the UF belt in 28 years. Maybe.

  14. Grrrly says:

    I have the magic sparkly UF belt, and cuffs to match, in single and triple layers. Which brings up the point, has anyone ever seen these in a double row?the triple seems most common, with the single row less common (and therefor coveted), but I’ve never seen them in two.

    Mine have the magical sparkly UF belt power of holding up my wide-legged tweed tuxedo pants at just the right height that the cuffs don’t catch on my chunky-heeled Mary Jane pumps, and keeping the trousers at the perfect low-slung angle on my hips. And making my mid-level management corporate self sneaking in these little bits of a pyramid stud here, a handcuff and skulls bracelet there, feel not quite so drone-y.

    Spamword: them39, as in them things are going to keep sneaking into my wardrobe long past the age of 39, if I have anything to say about it.

  15. Christina says:

    Hey, my ex-boyfriend had that belt in 2005! He was a semi-goth vampire LARPer who loved Buffy & Angel. He was also an asshole. He wore that belt constantly, including with work clothes, in case you didn’t see that he was secretly bad ass. (He wasn’t)

    Captcha is idea87 – it was a bad idea times 87 to date this guy for 4 months?

  16. Jody W. says:

    I do not own such a belt, nor does anyone in this particular household. I would guess the belts give the wearers the magical power of not being able to get through security gates without removing several articles of clothing, inspiring some sort of innuendo-laden frisking/undressing scene. Either that or the belts put them immediately on no-fly lists for being skeery and dangerous. Beltal profiling at its finest.

  17. Deb Kinnard says:

    We’ve all got it wrong. The belt is the “I’m young enough still to have a waist!” announcement. More power to ‘em. Mine went out with love beads and army surplus jackets with peace patches sewn on.

    A second theory is that this belt is like Christmas fruitcake. There is just the one fruitcake, and it’s been passed on for so long, through so many hands, it’s petrified. As fruitcake, so belt.

  18. OMG.  I have that belt.

    BRB, kicking-ass and taking names.

  19. meoskop says:

    In that last one it looks like she’s preparing to fight her way back to belt ownership. He’s obviously stolen it from her.

    I think the belt must have magical powers – I recall Green Day members wearing one and their pop punk act is opening a show on Broadway. This is as good an explanation as any!

  20. lustyreader says:

    no wonder Hot Topic is still in business, i ALSO bought my studded belt from there…in the 90s. but my mom wouldn’t let me wear it to school, god mom you ruin EVERYTHING! i could have had superpowers at school! not to help pass my classes mind you, my dorky bookwormness was in full affect, but to maybe kick that girls’ ass who threw a banana at me in the caf?

    however, i *was* allowed to wear on the weekends when i had my tamagotchi keychain looped onto it all day. mine DID live longer than my friends…possible sekrit fountain of youth sooper power for digital japanese animals?

  21. Oh man! John totally beat me to the joke! Damn!

    Should have gotten here sooner.

    But seriously, that belt is like the sign of Goth and emo culture.

    When I was a teen back in the luddite 90’s, we had to make that crap ourselves with a Bedazzler. Tch! These kids today are so spoiled with their easily accessible sub-culture accessories.


  22. Perry says:

    How timely, I am planning an urban fantasy for my NaNo book this year. I must remember to engage the belt.

  23. AgTigress says:

    I had a studded leather belt in the early 1970s.

  24. Tamara Hogan says:

    My belt was of the 80’s vintage.

    They keep …coming back. Reanimating. Like zombies and vampires, the urban fantasy belt CANNOT BE VANQUISHED.

  25. P.N. Elrod says:

    They found it in the Blake’s 7 costume trailer.

    It belonged to Avon. Here’s Paul Darrow trying to keep a straight face in his fashion forward space pirate outfit.


  26. John says:

    I’m not the only John here…strange. 

    Anyway, I’ve seen that belt.  I think my older brother used to own it.  And about half of the Hot Topic shoppers I know.

    While we are examining the use of this amazing belt, because clearly it has supernatural powers, we should also examine how the belt makes any of the closest females look like they wanna hump the nearest stick-like object.  And when the guy is near it, he is often looking away.  I get the feeling the belt makes anyone in the vicinity horny towards the nearest male.  Just my professional observations there.

    Public22:  Even when I’m 22, I will not be wearing that thing in public.

  27. Cathy says:

    So… how long until someone writes a meta paranormal/UF book about this long-lost belt that was unearthed by treasure hunters and gets passed around amongst a secret underground of crime-fighting teenagers?

  28. P.N. Elrod says:

    So… how long until someone writes a meta paranormal/UF book about this long-lost belt that was unearthed by treasure hunters and gets passed around amongst a secret underground of crime-fighting teenagers?

    Too late Cathy!

    Nicolas Cage has started shooting “National Treasure 3: The Booty-Belt o’ Dooooom.”

  29. Kate Pearce says:

    All 3 of my sons ranging in age from 17 to 21 have that belt.
    Has anyone also noticed that all 4 women in the Pocket books ad in RT for Urban Fantasy have a dark sleeveless tank top on? Why is that? Do they not feel the cold??

  30. Ellen Brand says:

    What’s with cover girl’s whole lordosis/sway-back gangly-looking-over-my-shoulder-not-very-seductively thing anway? Is she tryin’ to out-funnny-pose the Masters of Mantitty?

    Ben P, that’s what Linkara of “Atop the 4th Wall” calls “Why Won’t My Hips Unsway?” It’s insanely common in comics, and it drives him and many, many viewers nuts. You should check him out, if you like comics. He’s hilarious.

  31. Randi says:

    OMG, you guys crack me up.

    For what it’s worth, I totally adore McGrath’s covers. I will actually buy a book because he did the cover. So far, it’s worked for me.

    music69: I think you all get the joke.

  32. P.N. Elrod says:

    OMG—my next collection has a McGrath cover—AND THE BELT!!


    Randi—I hope you enjoy the stories!  Bwah!

    http://www.vampwriter.com/WHATS NEW!.htm

  33. Pam says:

    I mostly see that belt on teen boys in the high school library where I work.  They generally wear it to define the bottom of their butt cheeks.  I think that Tamara’s got something about the undead nature of said belt, because as I watch the “bad ass” boys pounding away at our computers while sitting upon the UF belt, I swear I hear a subliminal whisper of “Brains, braaaiiinnnns….”  That would explain my need to reach for the lysol, too.

  34. Randi says:

    @PN Elrod:

    I have some of your older stuff but nothing recent. Guess that’ll change. LOL. oooo, your lineup looks sweet. Dark and Stormy Nights…here I come!!

    however65: I’m sure we could come up with 65 reasons to NOT wear Ye UF Belt.

  35. Bibliophile says:

    Belt of Power User Instructions:
    Use to draw attention to skinny waist, catch the light in interesting ways and channel Michael Jackson, Cher and Gene Simmons. If the Power fails, it can always be whipped off and used as a weapon.

    (I have been hit with the cuff version and trust me: considering the pain from one cuff, the belt could take down a reasonably determined werewolf).

    Spamword: spirit52.

  36. I’m wearing my pyramid stud belt right this very moment, because it keeps my jeans up. This one I bought at Target, to replace the one I bought at Hot Topic ten years ago, which in turn replaced the grommet belt I had in the 90s that I wore out. Besides holding my pants up, it contains the power to dance past 2 AM and still go to work the next morning. (The wrist cuffs I lost in a move and haven’t replaced, because I’m a lazy rivethead.)

  37. Wendy says:

    Ah ha ha ha! As much fun as the posts here are, the comments are damn good, too.

    Spamword: lost27. I lost interest in belts like that when I was 27. 😀

  38. Cora says:

    I had a belt very much like that as a teenager in the late 1980s. I may still have it somewhere – it was expensive for the time and so I certainly wouldn’t have thrown it away.

    I also have all four books pictured (reading number 4 right now – highly recommended) plus at least two or three more which also feature the belt. They all have Chris McGrath covers, so I suspect that the belt is one of his trademarks. There also are a couple of other clothing items and props that keep showing up in Chris McGrath covers as well as the same 4 or 5 models. I adore McGrath’s work, he is currently my favourite cover artist.

  39. robinjn says:

    Squee! My note actually made a post! I told Sarah, I have decided to call the belt the Patented Belt of Badassedness. It could be PBB for short.

    I also showed Sarah my collection of 80s belts. Which, alas, did not contain the PBB but did contain numerous lovely entries including the silver weave. However, I trumped Sarah’s 80s style; she only had double-curled bangs. I had a PERMED MULLET to go with my mini-skirts, white hose, black heels and leg warmers.

  40. aliza mann says:

    May I please direct your attention to the advertisement at the top right of this page for a book called Web of Lies. Behold the UF belt!

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