In a media landscape nowadays, you’d think there’s a magazine for everything. They also come in many forms depending on content. Some may focus on important news stories and analysis like Time and Newsweek. Some may feature interesting educational content from around the world like National Geographic or Smithsonian. Some may pertain to celebrity gossip, fashion, and household tips like the mainstream magazines you see on the racks in a grocery store. Nevertheless, they have loomed large in our pop culture landscape for a long time. After all, most of those vintage ads you’ve probably seen in my vintage blog posts came from magazines. Yet, each magazine issue comes with a cover that advertises what’s inside. For many issues, such images have become rather iconic and well known. Yet, there are also covers that cause considerable controversy. In this post, I’ll feature a treasure trove of magazine covers that will make you scratch your head. Some of these contain photoshop fails (which make people look very unflattering). Some pertain to images that might be unintentionally funny. Some may contain a lot of formatting mistakes. You name it. So enjoy these at your peril.
- In Popular Science, learn how to build your own family foxhole.
Apparently, the folks at Popular Science had no idea that a lot of people had basements in their homes in the 1950s. Or that an underground shelter is simply not an option for people in some areas like Florida.
2. Presenting our current issue of Rugged Men: the masochist issue.
Because nothing makes a man more rugged than having 2 sexy blondes tie his hands and feet, hoist him up without his shirt on, and whip him senseless. Think about it as Fifty Shades of Grey om reverse.
3. On Man’s Life, we will feature a man attacked by a swarm of bloodthirsty bats.
No, most bats don’t viciously attack humans without probable cause. Sure they may spread disease from time to time. But the guy never should’ve entered the bat cave, at least without a shirt on.
4. Today in Man’s Life, beware of the killer turtles.
Sure turtles might have a vicious side. But this cover just seems too hard to take seriously. I mean the guy’s trying to ward off attacking turtles for God’s sake.
5. On this issue of time, the Beatles.
So why did Time decide to go with freakish Beatles puppets? Couldn’t they just put a photo of the Fab Four and leave it at that?
6. In Electrical Experimenter, we introduce to you the Teleport Phone.
Sure they may not have a phone keypad. But they can certainly Skype.
7. On this issue of Good Housekeeping we sit down with First Lady Michelle Obama.
Or an evil robot of Michelle Obama that has killed her and taken her place. Yes, this is terrible photoshop indeed.
8. This issue of Time features the magic of virtual reality.
So is this guy really at the beach experiencing a different virtual reality. Or is that beach a virtual reality? I can’t tell.
9. Time Magazine calls Chris Christie The Boss.
This issue appeared in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. However, the mob boss style photo treatment is actually quite fitting for the shady New Jersey governor who caused a massive traffic jam out of spite.
10. In Man’s Life, our top story is vicious killer monkeys.
Yes, monkeys can be quite vicious creatures. But this is utterly ridiculous to take seriously. Hope that guy’s knife comes in handy.
11. In this issue of Weird Tales, we feature a living female buddha.
However, I find it hard to believe that a female buddha would be a redheaded white girl who’s dressed like she’s from a Las Vegas strip club. But that’s just me.
12. This issue of Time features hockey.
Hey, I didn’t know that Jason Voorhees played hockey before he resorted to killing teenagers. Why did nobody tell us about it?
13. No, I don’t think this is a magazine about prostitution.
It’s actually titled Where magazine. But the fact the woman covers part of the “e” seems to suggest otherwise.
14. I’m sure all of you remember Time’s infamous O.J. Simpson cover.
No, O.J. isn’t that black. But don’t tell the people of Time. And yes, I do believe he did it since he’s had a record of abuse.
15. Sometimes in magazine cover design, placement is everything.
This is called, “Parents” magazine. However, the mother’s head on the “a” and the green blurb on the “t” makes sound something completely different.
16. When doing a cover story on a terrorist suspect, don’t slap photo on the cover that makes him look like a teen rock star.
This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who’s the surviving Boston Marathon Bomber. The people of Boston weren’t happy about this cover at all.
17. Time Magazine informs us that we’re all puppets controlled by some external puppetmeister.
Well, this is about sociobiology. But the picture seems to suggest something even more sinister. Like we’re all slaves to something outside ourselves.
18. This issue of The Economist discusses the trouble with mergers.
So what the hell does camel sex have to do with mergers? Seriously, that makes no sense whatsoever. And it makes camel parents angry.
19. In this issue of Spy, it’s obvious that O.J. Simpson is guilty.
If Spy thinks he’s guilty, then why do they have him dressed up as George Washington? It’s just so absurd. Then again, maybe that’s the point.
20. In this issue of Time: Are Men Really that Bad?
So basically Time implies that men are pigs. Yet, some sure can dress.
21. Today’s special issue of Bloomberg is dedicated to tax evaders.
Actually they’re talking about how rich people avoid paying taxes like tax shelters and taking advantage of loopholes. I’m sure it’ll give some wealthy people ideas.
22. We devote this issue of This is Harrison County to suppositories.
Actually Butt Drugs is a name of a drugstore there. Yet, the name is quite unfortunate so I include this cover.
23. In Men magazine, Attack of the Giant Otter.
Yes, the giant otter springs to attack some guy in his tent during the night. And that otter is about to have a lamp smashed at it.
24. This week in Esquire, the Passion of Muhammad Ali.
Note that they’re depicting Muhammad Ali like Saint Sebastian who had arrows shot into him. And that it’s not real at all. But it’s surely in poor taste.
25. This week in Esquire, Andy Warhol is sucked into a whirlpool of Campbell’s Tomato Soup.
Let’s hope he comes back from the froth of saltiness. Yes, these old magazine covers can be surreal.
26. For Men’s Fitness, we sit down with tennis star Andy Roddick.
I don’t know about you. But do you get the impression that one of Andy’s arms is bigger than the other. Or is it just me?
27. This week’s issue of Life magazine discusses the Generation Gap.
Uh, having people in blue man’s glasses doesn’t seem to help their case. In fact, makes you wonder if the photo shopper was on acid.
28. This week’s issue of Life magazine features an album of Christmas carols.
There’s something not right about that golden hair child. Hope you don’t find this little moppet in your home during the night.
29. In this week’s issue of Life, we feature the scary cloaked masked lady.
Yes, she kind of seems a bit creepy to me. I don’t think her soulless eyes contain anything lively for years.
30. I guess this is the girls with guns issue of Black Mask.
I hear this Ammo Amy is perhaps the NRA’s dream girl. I mean look at all the guns she carries. That’s insane!
31. In this issue of Male, man takes on giant lizard.
Wonder if this inspired the Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk fights Gorn. Though the man wouldn’t use a sword. And the black guy gets trampled.
32. In this issue of Stag, we learn how to protect ourselves against crabs.
Looks like STD prevention won’t work in this case. Perhaps a different kind of protection is needed like body armor.
33. According to True Men, even ripped guys are helpless when they’re attacked by hordes of flying squirrels.
Attacking squirrels? Really? Do you know how that’s not scary? In fact, it’s pretty ridiculous that you’ll have to be nuts to imagine it.
34. In Le Vie Parisienne, we feature a woman reading on the train.
Sorry, lady, but transparent top and a lifted skirt will draw attention. Even when you don’t intend to.
35. If you’re into shirtless covers, you’ll like this one from Africa’s Bowhunter.
This looks like a cheap cover with amateur photoshop for a cheap magazine. Also, the font isn’t great either.
36. The New Republic features what’s rotten in Great Britain.
Yet, do we have to bring Princess Kate’s dental health into this? Besides, those teeth aren’t even real.
37. Presenting the Bill Clinton issue of Esquire.
No, Esquire, don’t go with the Bill Clinton’s legs spread. Seriously, that really doesn’t help his scandal-prone reputation.
38. On Escape, man is driven to his death by gorgeous bare breasted Amazons.
Things really don’t seem great for that guy about to be thrown into the volcano. Man, I don’t think this magazine likes women.
39. In today’s Battle Cry, we feature a Nazi orgy.
Funny how the women are clad in their underwear while the guys are in full uniform. Doesn’t seem to make much sense.
40. Looks like Der Spiegel doesn’t like Queen Elizabeth II.
Okay, they’re really not telling the Queen to die even though it seems so. “Die” here simply means “the.” So there’s nothing to worry about.
41. This issue of Marie Claire features the one and only Eva Mendes.
Thanks to photoshop, all her body parts are out of proportion. This especially goes for her head.
42. Tina Fey graces the cover of this month’s issue of In Style.
Tina Fey doesn’t look like herself in this. Seriously, you have to wonder what’s going on with her during the photo shoot.
43. This issue of Elle, we sit down with Australian sensation Kyle Minogue.
And I have no idea what the hell happened to her leg. Surely, the other shoe should appear in this even with the knee bent.
44. In Russia, Vogue can be quite different.
This is especially true when you see a model’s hand but no lower arm. Seriously, something’s missing here.
45. This issue of Vogue we feature LeBron James and Gisele Bunchen.
Uh, no, Vogue. This has plenty of racist connotations that it’s not even funny. Seriously, this is not cool.
46. On W, we’re pleased to feature Demi Moore.
Unfortunately, they chopped off some of her hip in this. Also, it’s likely they just pasted her head to a model’s body, anyway.
47. From Oops!, we have the pleasure to sit down with Taylor Swift.
Inside, we’ll address the ongoing rumors of Ms. Swift being an evil space alien who uses her music to control minds. And whether she plans to assemble her own army to take over Earth.
48. At Glamor, join us for an exclusive interview with Kristen Stewart.
Now we’ll ask what the hell happened to her arm. Because damn photoshop!
49. In Time, we discuss how Ted Cruz plans to make himself more likable.
He really doesn’t look likable in this photo. More like a smug Lucius Malfoy type. Of course, it’s hard to make a man like that likable at all.
50. How’s it hanging in Golf Week?
Why is there a noose in a golf magazine? It’s a magazine about golf not executions.
51. In this issue of Esquire, the bearded lady finally shaves.
Okay, she probably doesn’t have a beard. But the fact she’s shaving her face is kind of disturbing for me. Not sure why.
52. In this issue, Time takes you into the world of Cyberpunk.
So is this how they saw cyberculture in the early 1990s? Because they make it seem kind of shady.
53. This issue of Time talks about Cyber War.
From Mashable: “Two decades before drone strikes were a common part of military combat, ‘Time’ was busy warning us that a cyber war was coming.” We should’ve listened.
54. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos comes in a box.
From Mashable: “Most people named “Person of the Year” get stately cover photo shoots. But if you’re Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the fact that Amazon is a website means you’re relegated to the geek pile. And geeks don’t get serious covers. They get their heads stuffed in boxes of packing peanuts and computer mice.” Still, this is really creepy.
55. This month, Rolling Stone features the Passion of Kanye West.
Now, Rolling Stone, you don’t have to make your cover in a way that Kanye West sees himself. Seriously, we don’t need to feed into his enormous ego.
56. Gracing Todateen is teen sensation Justin Bieber.
Or him as a soulless mannequin who’ll kill you in your dreams. You can take your pick.
57. If you like Scandal, then you better get this Essence issue featuring Kerry Washington.
Her body seems totally out of proportion on this one. Maybe it’s the outfit. Or maybe it’s photoshop. I can’t tell which.
58. You can’t miss Kerry Washington on this month’s cover of Lucky.
Here she discusses what it’s like to be turned into a zombie. Before she eats the reporter who interviewed her.
59. This Glamour issue features the ultimate drama queen Kristen Stewart.
Kristen Stewart looks about as lifeless on this cover as she did in the Twilight movies. And I’m sure she’s no drama queen by any stretch of the imagination.
60. In this issue of Life, we give you a sneak preview of the moon landing.
To be fair, this issue came out in 1962. But we all know Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin didn’t wear garbage can spacesuits when they came out of the module.
61. In this issue of Wildlife we talk about lions.
But do we really need to use “pussies galore” in a wildlife magazine. I know you mean cats, but still. It’s not great terminology.
62. In Man’s Life magazine, we caution you to beware of attacking otters.
A guy being attacked by otters, that’s crazy. I mean otters are playful and cuddly. So it’s hard to take seriously.
63. You never know what will be featured in Nails.
From Nails: “It takes a while to see that the cover model is jumping out of a nail. What’s the connection of the image with the cover story? Your guess is as good as ours.”
64. On this issue of V, we feature Naomi Campbell.
Okay, another woman all tied up and having her mouth taped shut. Now this is very disturbing if you ask me.
65. This issue discusses the occult revival and Satan’s return.
Okay, that looks a bit scary. I bet readers will have freak out of this. Yeah, doesn’t look good.
66. In this week’s cover from Shape Up, we cover bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Of course, don’t get in shape Arnold’s way at the time because he clearly used steroids. Also, there might be something rising in his pants.
67. In Men Today, check out how Nazis put underwear clad women in piranha pools.
Look, I know the Nazis were terrible people whose cruelty knew no bounds. But please, I’m sure none of them used piranha pools where they could put scantily clad women in. That’s just ridiculous.
68. Jennifer Lopez rules in this issue of Rolling Stone.
I’m sorry but I don’t think J.Lo fits into warrior princess mode. That just doesn’t seem like her.
69. Ricky Martin gets deep in Rolling Stone.
And here he is in a pool full of naked women. Uh, it’s kind of established that Ricky Martin likes guys. Seriously, he’s been out of the closet for a long time.
70. In Terror Tales, love goes mad.
Yes, she loves the Grim Reaper so much that she’ll walk all over the River Styx with hands trying to grab her. And here Death just rows along.
71. In this issue of Time, we go to Adolf Hitler playing his organ near his wheel of torture.
This is the one when he was Person of the Year during the 1930s. But at least they give you an idea of how evil he is.
72. At Bloomberg we talk of how Walmart’s workers love working there.
For some reason, I don’t see a happy face behind that smiley face mask. It’s pretty clear the smiley face is a facade of this Walmart greeter’s misery.
73. In this issue of Bloomberg, we talk about the hedge fund myth.
Seems like the man in this cover is in an interesting position. And it seems vaguely inappropriate how the arrows spring from his crotch.
74. This month’s Vanity Fair, we take you to Miley Cyrus.
I know this cover seemed to get a lot of flack. But she doesn’t look right in this. Not sure why.
75. In Weird Tales, creepy Asian guy wants blonde to play Wheel of Fortune.
Okay, maybe that’s not Wheel of Fortune. But this really doesn’t have a good perception on Asians. The guy looks so evil.
76. Time brings you into the world of dirty words.
So they’re talking about American pop culture containing swear words and how it’s ruining everything. Well, they can just fuck it for all I care. Because this looks fucking awful.
77. In this issue of Weird Tales, Death goes for naked women.
This magazine seems to have a lot of scantily clad women on their covers. Possibly since sex sells. Yet, this is crazy.
78. In Weird Tales, learn how to keep winged demons out of your relationship.
I guess a knife will certainly scare the creepy guy off. But I’m not sure if it will be enough.
79. In this issue of For Men Only, it’s best that you beware of the minks.
Because they will attack in droves. And even the most manly men won’t be able to stop them from eating flesh. Yes, these minks kill for your blood.
80. Sophia Loren doesn’t wear much for her Life cover.
While I can understand why she’s not wearing much, her outfit is best to be desired. Seriously, that looks atrocious.
81. Crime Detective presents blondes in bondage.
Okay, she’s more likely a skimpy clothed kidnap victim dressed to entice male readers. But you get the idea. Still, this is in very poor taste and even she’s not happy about it.
82. Time introduces you to the world of Vladimir Putin.
Here we have him in a candid pose with the title, “Hello, Comrade.” Yet, despite the friendly presentation, they say he’s anything but a nice guy from Russia.
83. Sarah Jessica Parker graces the cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
In this issue, they ask her about her life before coming to Earth. They also talk to her about how her eyes can shoot laser beams.
84. Hope you can enjoy the latest fashion from this month’s issue of Elle.
Don’t mind how one of these women seems to have a freakishly long neck. Or how she might be a vampire.
85. In Weird Tales, there’s no escape from zombies trying to get you.
I get the impression this magazine focuses a lot on the occult. Also, I don’t think a whip will save you.
86. Jerry Yang from Yahoo! surfs the net at Time.
Even in the 1990s, this looked pretty stupid. Certainly really looks outdated now. Don’t know why they thought it was a good idea.
87. Seventeen reconnects with Sarah Michelle Gellar on her life after Buffy.
Well, her head is a bit big for her body while her arms are a little rubbery. I mean this doesn’t look like Sarah Michelle Gellar in the slightest.
88. In Weird Tales, we go to India where turban guys sexually traffic white women.
And it seems that any scantily clad women in Weird Tales is seen as white. Makes me wonder if it has anything to do with Missing White Woman Syndrome.
89. In Weird Tales, bald emperor guy tries to seduce a blonde.
Yep, that’s what it looks like. And she’s being carried by women and androgynous bald servants. Also, is that a knife?
90. Time asks you whether you’re mom enough.
I’m sure that boy is way too old to breastfeed by now. Also, Time, how dare you sexualize motherhood and drag a toddler in the national spotlight. This kid will never live it down in high school.
91. Rolling Stone tells us what it’s like to be Brad Pitt.
Hmmm…so Brad Pitt is smoking a cigarette and wearing a dress. I’m sure he wouldn’t want this issue to see the light of day.
92. Gracing this issue of W is none other than Janet Jackson.
From Carolyn Collado: “The pop artist didn’t deserve such distasteful W cover with her body looking distorted. The W magazine have done everything to ruin the diva’s image including too much makeup, unbecoming outfit and awkward pose you would wonder where was Janet’s neck that time.”
93. On the cover of Vanity Fair Spain is Hilton Hotel heiress Paris Hilton.
From Carolyn Collado: “Greg Lotus image for Paris Hilton for Vanity Fair Spain in January 2012 looked stunning and perfect if only for the fact that we are kinda confused whether the magazine really tapped the hotel heiress for the cover or did they have Paris Hilton’s wax figure covered on her behalf? The excessive retouching defeated the purpose of glamour that we rather pay more attention to her cute pup.”
94. Time sits down with tech sensation and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
From Mashable: “Imagine you’re Bill Gates and you get a phone call saying, “Congratulations, you’re on the cover of ‘Time’ magazine!” and then, in the next breath, they say, “but we want you to look like a stereotypical nerd and spin a floppy disk in your hands.” In 1984, this would be reality for the future richest man on Earth.”
95. For Time, it’s 3 cheers for Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
Prince Charles looks particularly unflattering in this. Diana doesn’t look great either. Also, keep in mind that after 2 boys, they’d both cheat on each other and later divorce. Also, Diana died in a car wreck.
96. Time scares you with the horrors of children and cyber porn.
To be honest, online porn exposure in children is a very real concern in this day in age. But this cover really makes it horrifying.
97. New in Time, what doctors hate about hospitals.
This doctor seems like the hospital is a house of horrors. Well, this cover story explores medical errors.
98. According to Spy, Hillary Clinton is a dominatrix.
Or a BDSM dominatrix who should be our next president by now instead of the orange faced fuckwad president-elect we already have. Fuck you, white voters in Rust Belt states. Okay, maybe the BDSM Hillary is a little too far for 1993.
99. The New Yorker features the Obamas on their cover.
Now this looks pretty offensive and I remember when it came out. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert would later parody this.
100. Time features the golden geeks.
From Mashable: “Marc Andreessen became a BFD after Netscape went public — and part of being a BFD meant that ‘Time’ would sit him in a royal chair and make him take off his shoes. And thus, the modern mythos that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs don’t wear shoes was born.”
Pretty bizarre magazine covers! I wonder if they still publish the manly adventure magazines?
Those men’a adventure magazines are fascinating. I’ve seen some of those covers before. I want to get a hold of the one where the man is attacked by a giant otter. That would be an interesting read.
I meant to type men’s. Now I look like an idiot. Whoops.