Monday 1 October 2012

Humiliating Henry James

I honestly thought I was done with Tutis: they haven't produced any new books in a while, at least not under that name, and I thought I'd pretty much plumbed the depths of their incompetence and derangement. But I was wrong, because I came across this cover...

The presence of the badly Photoshopped-in kitten made me think it must be a joke, but fortunately it's a real Tutis cover: better hurry, though, as Amazon only has one copy in stock!

Of course, once I'd fallen back into the sewers, I couldn't help fishing around to see what else I could find. Marvel at Tutis's intense campaign to humiliate Henry James.

I think there's a lesson here for all of us.

I've been trying to caption this for 10 minutes, but nothing I've come up with can match the sheer glory of this cover.


Henry James meets Red Dawn, coming soon from those tedious shitheads who brought you Pride & Prejudice & Zombies & Jane Eyre & Erotica & Vampires & Haemorrhoids

If you look at the original painting this is stolen from, you can see that someone has ineptly clone-tooled a bunch of goblins and trolls out of the picture. Lucky! Otherwise this would have been completely inappropriate.

When literalism attacks

I'm amazed this isn't just a big close-up of an eye, to be honest.

And to round things off, some other sublime Tutis work.

Rohmer based his Yellow Peril stereotypes on some incredibly wild misinformation

To be fair, Frankenstein does contain ice. And bipeds.

First, throw away your fish.

'Now, Timmy, people are going to tell you that lopped off arms will fling coins into piggybanks while travelling at speed down lonely country roads. I'm sorry to tell you that this just isn't true.'

Well, I admit to being pretty fucking mystified myself.


vic caswell said...


you know, though.
the eve before a cover reveal- when i get crazy scared and nervous that everyone's going to hate my cover and realize i don't have ahelluva clue what i'm doing- i'm going to think of this post. and feel assured that at least SOMEWHERE there is someone more inept than me. so thank you.

Ian Koviak said...

Your captions are priceless and these covers rock! I need to order me a slew of these for my old age. Large type and all.

Brian Busby said...

For months now i've been privately mourning Tutis. No new covers... website gone... Am I wrong to now grieve in public - or is there hope that Tutis lives on?

Time to get collecting, I suppose, beginning with the Tutis edition of John Burroughs' Time and Change, which a California bookseller is offering through Abebooks at US$5157.52 (plus shipping).

Time and Change... sadly appropriate.

jb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jb said...

I don't think I'd noticed before - I guess the images themselves are so captivating - that each of them is labelled as part of the 'Great Classic Series'.

That's the series-title equivalent of their cover images, I think.

JRSM said...

Vic, even if you designed covers while blindfolded and using only melted crayons, you would still be better than Tutis.

Ian, I thank you.

Brian, I've been wondering whether they're a going concern too--I guess in this digital, POD age, the files will last forever (or at least until the cloud is wiped out by an EMP), waiting for lunatics to order them, with the cheques piling up in some dusty, abandoned Indian office.

jb, good point. Some of these books needed this sort of visual treatment to become _true_ classics.

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Unknown said...

I wonder if the estate of Keith Parkinson were OK with that abominable cover for "In the Cage..." or indeed if any of the other illustrators knew their work was being used like this?

Totz the Plaid said...

...that's a nut on the cover of "Turn of a Screw", not a screw. Not only is it a terrible attempt at literalism, they don't even know the difference! (Also, what the f*** is that second wrench doing?!)

JRSM said...

Phill, I think it's a pretty safe bet that none of these covers were used with anyone's permission.

Totz, a good point, and I'm embarrassed I didn't notice. Bloody hell, they're worsethan I thought.

Emma said...

I remember my grandmother telling me the story about the lopped off arm flinging coins into a piggybank while travelling at speed down a lonely country road, when I was a little girl. Such happy days. Children now don’t have the imagination we used to have back then. Why, I believe if you told a modern child about the lopped-off arms today, they’d just laugh at you.

These are the worst covers I’ve ever seen. I think I could do a better job in GIMP with a freeware font. Sadface.

Unknown said...

Tutis have gone digital....

Jane Lovering said...

Am new to this 'truly terrible cover' thing - thankfully my books all have covers that have at least a passing reference to what the book is actually about. I am truly hoping that 'Time and Change' cover picture features a pub, a clock at 11pm and crowds of people leaving, with a superimposed shot of 5ps and 2p pieces.
Maybe I'll offer myself to Tutis. As a cover designer, not a sacrifice...

Lawrence Fechtenberger said...

As far as I can tell, every Tutis book is described by Amazon with either "only 1 left in stock" or "usually ships in 2-3 weeks." The latter is probably more accurate than the former. I presume that Tutis is a print-on-demand company, and does not bother to produce an actual book until an order is received.

Raphaëlle said...

Oh God, I needed that. I'm crying. Thank you!

Tulkinghorn said...

It must be said.

There is simply no way that these are naive mistakes.

Not with the extremely high rate of coffee-spewing roar-provoking work here.

I don't know how much money and time it would take to do this as a performance piece or gesamtkunstwerk-- but it's worth every penny.

Time for the creator to take a bow.

JRSM said...

Thank you for the comments, everyone.
Emma, that story is like the Tooth Fairy: everyone believes it for a while.
Tulkinghorn, my other theory is that these covers are the work of the first true Artificial Intelligence, making its first, confused steps in the world of object recognition and literary theory.

Marion Gropen said...

Oh, no, it's not an AI. This is the first verifiable example of communication with extraterrestrial beings.

Too bad that they're neither intelligent nor possessed of a modest amount of taste, but hey, it's a start!

DM said...

i feel like they literally typed in the titles into google and made the first thing they found the cover. "the pupil" "how to cook fish" "the country doctor"