Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mockery, WITH Covers (and, be warned, breasts)

There's a certain appeal for many readers in the Mars/Barsoom tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs was no great writer, but he was prolific and, perhaps more importantly, his Martian princess heroine Dejah Thoris spent her entire time naked (Google Image search her name for some of the excitible art this has prompted.). Burroughs also has the advantage of being out of copyright, so anyone who wants to can cash in with reprints of his books. I came across a series of these from Deodand Publishing (I should note here that unlike many publishers of the out-of-copyright, Deodand do not charge ludicrously high prices for their books). The art reminds me of that drawn by heavy metal fans in early high school--more enthusiastic than talented...




There are more effective ways to cash in, of course. Comics company Dynamite is busy adapting the books for comics, and doing their best to squeeze money from idiots by offering various hard-to-find and thus ridiculously expensive "variant covers" (a common way comics companies have to rip off those most eager to be ripped off)--see six of the eight available versions of the first issue...


..and you will notice what Dynamite is pinning their fiscal hopes on, the subtle and sophisticated "risque nude variants", like so...



There's a truly odd cynicism behind this sales ploy, in that even though the books feature the heroine constantly nude, thus actually justifying this sort of objectification (in terms of source fidelity if not in any other way), the actual comics themselves do not feature nudity on the inside pages. Since this is hardly likely to be due to taste or restraint, I can only imagine it's an attempt to be able to sell the non-nude-covered versions of the comics to kids, without creating the sort of moral panic that occasionally occurs when American parents find nipples in their kids' comic books.

Changing the subject entirely, and going back to book covers for a moment, I was surprised by this cover from Dodo Press. Can anyone suggest why Thorne Smith's second supernatural-comedy about Topper and his two friendly ghost friends should end up with Fyodor Dostoevsky on the cover?



At least it's not a risque nude variant.

6 comments:

Levi Stahl said...

I love specifically how thoughtful Dostoevsky looks as he ponders Topper's trip. He's taking in all that Topper's adventures tell us about mortality, religion, the afterlife, and our duty to one another in this world . . . and all just from reading the title and the jacket copy.

{Not, that is, to neglect the nudity. That's some shameless nudity.}

JRSM said...

Even if you knew nothing about Topper, the cheery title is so at odds with anything Dostoevskian that I think it's funny on its own.

VembaTsith said...

Those covers of the incomparable Dejah Thoris are unspeakably horrid and offensive. You should feel embarrassed for reproducing them.

Ian Shimkoviak said...

Yeah, shame on you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've controlled urges to use that Dosteovski for my memoir... I opted for a full frontal nude of myself on the steps of St. Anthony's Cathedral in NYC. It just seemed like the second best option.

JRSM said...

Trust me, I'm ashamed!

I think you made the right choice for your memoir. Being nude in front of the NYPL, with the books reference, would have been too obvious.

StuckInABook said...

The idea of a risque nude Dostoevsky is going to haunt my dreams tonight...