Thursday, March 17, 2016

#MarchMagics 17: Bad Cover Art

Thursday, March 17 - Favorite Bad Covers
Fantasy book covers can sometimes be, well, interesting. Share your favorite bad DWJ or Pratchett covers!

Not at all bad, considering.
So very many bad covers!

I'm going to concentrate mostly on DWJ, because in my opinion Pterry had pretty good covers.  He had a few artists that habitually illustrated the Discworld books, and who were very popular.  His covers were practically iconic, and Americans tried to collect the more-popular British editions.  Even the original cover for The Colour of Magic is pretty decent!

DWJ, on the other hand.  Oh, the poor woman.  Her covers were consistently hideous for decades.  I think, for one, thing, the 1970s and 80s were particularly bad; fantasy cover art wasn't really in great shape anyway, and it doesn't seem like the publishers tried very hard.  Then, it's possible that her stories do not really lend themselves well to illustration.  They make wonderful images in your mind, but an awful lot of the time if you try to draw them, it doesn't come out too well.  It takes a talented artist to do her justice, and careful selection of what to illustrate.  Nan riding a broom in a pink blanket is practically never going to look good, and yet that's what everyone chooses to put on the cover of Witch Week.

Here are some of my favorite awful DWJ covers:

I have yet to see a decent Archer's Goon cover

What.  Poor Mordion is being defamed here.

Nope. Christopher looks 14 instead of 8, and it's just bad.

Cat and Gwendolyn meet V. C. Andrews

I avoided reading this one for a few years, it looked so dull

Good golly.

This is my copy, but mine is uglier, with a worse-looking title.


Kristen M. said...

Okay, that Charmed Life really might win for worst because you would NEVER know what that book was really about! Although the Homeward Bounders cover is just plain ugly. I'm normally a bit annoyed when books constantly get new covers but, in the case of DWJ, it seems that eventually they trend toward something acceptable!

Lory said...

Hm, I guess tastes differ - that Colour of Magic cover looks so bizarre and un-Pratchett-like to me! And I actually like the Charmed Life cover, but it may be because it's the first DWJ I ever bought and read, so I'm sentimentally attached to it. I think you're right about DWJ being difficult to illustrate. It's a mistake when the artists get too literal, which they usually do.

Anonymous said...

I cracked up looking at those old DWJ covers. What is it about her books that makes it so hard for cover designers to come up with something not hideous? I was commenting elsewhere that nobody ever makes a good Power of Three cover, and the same applies to Archer's Goon. The one you posted is the one I have! (alas)

Jean said...

I'll agree that the Colour of Magic cover isn't great; I just think it's not bad, all things considered. :)

I really need a new Archer's Goon. Mine is going to fall apart.

jrleek said...

I actually like "The Colour of Magic" cover, I think it would make a nice poster for a Pratchett fan. It only fails as a book cover because it doesn't really help you know anything about what sort of book it is. (Also, I'd drop the lens flare.)

My vote for worst is "The Magicians of Caprona" cover. Not only is it ugly and boring, but it's advertising a completely different kind of book. It looks like a very poorly drawn children's picture book about a cat.

But did you know there was a BBC adaptation of Archer's Goon? You can watch it on YouTube.

Jean said...

Yeah, I've watched it! It's pretty terrible and 90s. :)

I've always thought the lens flare effect was supposed to be octarine or something...

Kailana said...

Those are definitely some bad covers! lol