Wednesday, 26 August 2009

No Self-Control

I'm trying not to turn this blog into the Tutis "Appreciation" Society, but commenter Gareth pointed out something I can't resist re-posting. I quote him: "Anyone remember the joke where the doctor asks the man if his premature ejaculation has improved at all and the man replies 'No, it's still touch and go.' I only mention it because it appears to have influenced one of their D.H. Lawrence covers:



And an anonymous commenter also (mostly) solves the mystery of the pink thing from this post. "It's ... the character Sof' Boy in the comic by Archer Prewitt."




Sof' Boy is, and I quote from here, a "comic about a homeless, naive dough boy who happily lives in a crime- and filth-ridden urban neighborhood, surviving attacks by man and beast because he is made out of some kind of indestructible, infinitely elastic rubber." So it makes perfect sense to colour him pink and use him on the covers of classic novels.

Some more Tutis discoveries: another cover nicked from a Dungeons & Dragons novel, again with absolutely no regard for the contents of the book.




Speaking of Doyle, remember when he sent Sherlock Holmes off into space?



Lucky somebody else had already provided some art for just such a situation:



Of course, Arthur Conan Doyle wasn't the only writer to make unexpected ventures into the intergalactic.

22 comments:

BookieMonster said...

Every day is Backwards Day at Tutis! :D

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

HEY! Sherlock Holmes is the star of BURN NOTICE! I wonder if he knows they're using his likeness to sell their fouth-rate books?

Okay, fifth-rate.

JRSM said...

Christy, you might be interested in this not very enlightening explanation of their cover design policies: "Thank you for your query. We have a team of Designers who work on the Cover images based on various factors such as Storyline or Title or even the category to which the particular book belongs."
The mystery remains! The idea that it takes a TEAM to manage this sort of lunacy takes me back a bit--it seems much more the work of a single deranged mind.

missdisco said...

On that Conan Doyle cover they've actually shopped out the other two people to get that guy on that bizarre space background.

Which means they took some time over it.

Couldn't they take that time to do a quick google on what the book is about?

Deb said...

You have to wonder (or, perhaps you don't) if there is anyone employed at Tutis who is actually familiar with any of the books they're slapping these covers on. Also, are any of them in the least bit aware of copyright law?

Face it, you're going to have to start another blog that is just Tutis Cover Delirium 24/7!

John Self said...

I do wonder if they are really stealing the images from Dungeons & Dragons book etc. A lot of these books have covers which are stock artwork from which publishers buy images to use, non-exclusively, on their covers. Like here, for example.

Well, that's the kind interpretation.

I do wonder though about their publication of Jill the Reckless by "Pelham Grenville." Could they have named him thus to avoid the rights holders noticing that they were selling a book which is still in copyright?

Lucy Fishwife said...

Isn't that Ulysses 31 on the Dragons Of Autumn Twilight cover? ... It's actually so sad that I would even know that.

Anonymous said...

I did some Googling on Tutis and found a lot of job postings in India. (Although I didn't find one with this particular job description.) I think that the "team" is probably a few people (unskilled by U.S. standards) who are being paid peanuts and ordered to work really, really fast. Once I realized that, this whole business started to make me sad! And I felt guilty for taking my high-quality education for granted.
Love,
Debbie Downer

JRSM said...

Thank you, all. I suspect Debbie Downer is right--when I contacted Tutis, their website and other details suggest they're based in the UK. But if they're really operating from India, using low-paid 'designers', then it starts to make sense, and is pretty sad.

John, your interpretation is kind, but I believe the D&D artwork is not licensable. The company which owns (or owned) a lot of that stuff was TSR, famously protective of their intellectual property to the point where TSR came to be known as 'They Sue Regularly'. Of course, the fact that I know this reveals all too much about my shameful role-playing adolescence, so I join Lucy Fishwife in the corner, where we can discuss Ulysses 31!

Bob Fingerman said...

Have you seen Tutis's cover for Martin Luther's Concerning Christian Liberty? It's a photo of a Christmas tree. They're amazing.

Deb said...

With some stretching, you can see how someone with knowledge of the English language, but no knowledge of English literature, might use a Christmas tree cover for a book about Christianity or a photo of an airplane for a book about travels in France (the Henry James book), but I'm still trying to figure out that bicycle on the cover of Wuthering Heights.

Ben said...

Yeah, taking into account the theory that these covers are assembled at great speed by people with little or no knowledge of English or Western culture, some of them start to make a bit more sense - eg, "Under the Redwoods" has some red wood, "The Napoleon of Notting Hill" has a hill, etc.

Perhaps our scorn/wonderment should move on to the presumably UK based management who, if above assumptions are correct, are so keen to exploit cheap overseas labour that they haven't even bothered to stop to check the results before throwing the books onto market...?

Anonymous said...

The cover for Anatole France's Thaïs (http://www.tutisclassics.com/BookDetails.aspx?Tha+s-Anatole+France&BookId=1921) seems to support the notion that the covers are being designed by people with limited English.

JRSM said...

Bob and Anonymous's bizarre discoveries do very much support the underpaid Indian theory. As Ben says, the UK management is being pretty shoddy. Still, I can't imagine they're selling many of these daft things, especially at the prices they are asking. REAP THE WHIRLWIND, TUTIS!

JRSM said...

Of course, none of this explains how Guns 'n' Roses ended up on a Thomas Hardy cover.

Bob Fingerman said...

I'm smelling a spin-off blog in the works, dedicated entirely to the phenomenon that is Tutis. All hail Tutis!

JRSM said...

God, it's tempting! Over 5000 books. I'd never have the bloggers' desperate search for content.

Will said...

The use of Sof' Boy for "Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow" perhaps points to the existence of a solitary genius in the organization intent on entertaining freaks like us. Someone needs to buy this as a gift for Archer Prewitt. (Sof' Boy made my day recently, discovered in Brunetti's Anthology of Graphic Fiction.)

JRSM said...

Someone needs to turn up at one of his gigs with some of these books!

nbsp; said...

This stuff is as irresistable as picking at scabs! Dig the "Man-Eaters of Tsavo", er, "Pterodactyl vs. the Sandworms of 'Dune'" or James Huneker's "Old Fogy", er, "Huckleberry Finn". It's like the visual equivalent of Engrish!

brooks said...

I am loathe to even mention this, but DragonLance isn't Dungeons and Dragons. At all. I believe some roleplaying games were created that are based on the DragonLance novels, but there's not connection between D&D and DragonLance. Incidently, I've actually *read* that DragonLance novel (I was in High School, so shoot me).

JRSM said...

nbsp: Picking at scabs is the perfect metaphor for these things!

Brooks: I read them in high school too, so I join you in your shame. But Dragonlance did originally start as a series of (very linear) modules for Advanced D&D. Again, shameful high school personal experience speaks through me.