A cheesy banner for cheesy books.

If you read Mountain Time, you know I’m a genuinely gifted graphic artist, and am therefore perfectly suited to criticize the artistic offerings of others. And, praise be unto me, I do: I give you the 2nd Mountain Time review of cheesy book covers.

Now, I know it’s kind of customary to rate things on a star scale, but if you read my first book covers review, you know that I already awarded all the stars in the universe to other book covers, chiefly The Time of the Dark. That was a mild mistake. I was prepared to use a wolf scale instead, but wolves are silly things, so I’ve decided to dabble around in other scales until I find one I like.

With that said, it’s on to the dreck.

The Zap GunFirst up is The Zap Gun, which has the distinction of being the only book in my review pile so far that I actually expect to read someday. But until then, I can only marvel at its insane cover. The prominent figure (let’s call him Mr. Zap), who seems to have fashioned a tank top out of a doily, is a man with a few problems. What the hell is this thing?For one thing, his right hand is occupied by an ice cube containing a kiwi-bird/owl hybrid that seems to have been groomed by a Lhasa Apso handler. For another, his nose itches, and his only option is to scratch it with the titular zap gun, which looks a bit like a futuristic cake-decorating tool.

The zap gun is wired into Mr. Zap’s stylish, radio-tower-tipped beanie, which looks to be connected to his ZAP headset. Presumably, the headset is for taking cake orders, a hypothesis bolstered by the pencil wedged behind Mr. Zap’s ear. Gotta write those orders down, after all.

Mr. Football Pants

Hovering in space behind Mr. Zap is Mr. Football Pants, who is carrying around some baguettes and a briefcase labeled… well, our view is obstructed, but it looks like it probably reads “JARS INC.” The crosshairs lead us to believe that Mr. Zap wishes to kill Mr. Football Pants, and it’s probably because of his association with Jars, Inc. I don’t know why Mr. Zap hates jars, given that he’s a baker and jars are good for holding cookies. But dammit, I want to know.

For mustering this much intrigue, I give the cover of The Zap Gun 15 anti-jars.


A Plague of DemonsNext up is A Plague of Demons. Now, a demon plague really isn’t as bad as it sounds. From what I’ve seen in exorcism movies, demons tend to possess young girls and make them say naughty things to priests, and that’s about all. Worse than a plague of frogs, maybe, but definitely better than locusts.

Anyway, this cover shows us an ugly, hairy beast hanging out in some kind of colander-topped pod. Or maybe it’s an upturned industrial tea strainer. Either way, it’s now full of hair, thanks to Captain Orc-pony.

Ok, so the hair monster is clutching a glass brain case, a fact which will probably be upsetting to the line of glass-brain-case-headed robots marching toward the tea factory. I feel bad for these robots. From the looks of their appendages, I don’t think they can even play rock-paper-scissors to determine who gets stuck cleaning the hair out of the tea strainer.

At its fundament, this cover is about class struggle in the classic Marxist sense: the bourgeoisie (a wolverine/horse hybrid [wolverhorse? horserine?]) controls the means of production (an upturned industrial tea strainer) and crushes the minds of the proletariat (jar-brained robots). And honestly, I’ve already read that allegory 50 times.

I give the cover of A Plague of Demons 3 cups of worker-owned coffee, and a bonus cup because it’s so easy to make your own tea-factory robot head out of a pencil sharpener:

Sharpener Bot

Star. Just... Star.Finally, we have Star. Such an inspired name deserves an inspired cover, and Star gets one. The central character on this cover, whose name probably isn’t Betty, but who also doesn’t have any say over what I call her and is therefore named Betty, is cursed with what is likely one of the most impractical outfits in the universe. And arthritis, from the looks of her fingers.

Like all people whose bras double as capes, Betty has a servant — a diminutive blue fellow with dishrags for ears whose name might as well be Brian. Brian follows Betty everywhere she goes, always presenting her with an array of fruits (and possibly spanking her; his right hand is not accounted for).

The thing about people who wear mixing bowls on their heads is that they pull jerk moves like having fruit slaves, even if they don’t actually like to eat fruit. Betty doesn’t like to eat fruit. In fact, she’ll do anything to get rid of fruit. She’ll toss it on the ground; she’ll feed it to birds wearing exaggerated bolo ties; she probably plays a little ball-in-a-cup type game where she tosses it straight up and tries to catch it in her mixing bowl. I can’t help but think that it’s a vitamin deficiency that’s making her fingers lock up.

Brian is obviously annoyed by Betty’s fruit irreverence. The look on his face seems to say, “Are you done yet?” Betty’s expression clearly answers this question, to the tune of “Shut the hell up; I’m becoming a statue.” Meanwhile, the bird is happily full of vitamins and fiber, and proud with the knowledge that the bolo tie was named the official neckwear of Arizona in 1971. (What?)

While I wish Betty would adorn her 11-inch waist with something more practical (perhaps something tailored by Mr. Zap), I feel obliged to give the cover of Star a favorable rating. Let’s call it 6 Arizonas a la 1971.


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