Man, ComicsAlliance reminded me of this thing too.
So, as a kid, I read this entire gigantic collection of old Sci-Fi my dad had gathered from 1950-1980 or so. I started off by picking books based on what cover art looked coolest. Sometimes, it was difficult to pick between the sweet robots and space battles.
Other times, this happened:
I’m not entirely certain what the process for picking cover art is, really. I mean, obviously it’s not as though the author actually lays it out. I presume some publishing-house PR lackey picks a theme, contacts an artist…
But holy SHIT do they have some weird ideas about what will appeal to science fiction fans. I mean, that book up there? It’s a short story collection. The anthology name is taken from one story about an adorable grandma-bot.
At no point do any recursive muscle-men centaur appear.
Guess what this book is about:
It’s about a planet where everyone who has ever lived is sent mysteriously and revived along the shores of a massive river. It’s actually pretty good! It stars Mark Twain and a Sir Francis Burton and it has fights and steamboats. It’s a great, weird, fun adventure story. At not a single point does a massive naked man get poked in the kidneys by Professor Two-Coats.
This one basically gets it spot on, though:
So! Intrigued by these truly atrocious examples of marketing gone really, really poorly? Go check out the Terrible Book Covers site at goodshowsir.co.uk! I mean, you can tell it’s class just from the name.