Getting Lost in the Covers
By Jonathan Poet
Hand me a map — any map will do, really — and I could stare at it for an hour. It's an addiction. And it turns out I have the same sort of sad addiction to old magazine covers. Thankfully, where there's an addiction, there's a website.
Cover Browser began primarily as a repository of comic book covers and now includes magazine, book and DVD covers. I wasted half a recent afternoon perusing only a few hundred of its more than 450,000 covers. I think I could spend an entire week looking at the more than 3,000 covers for The New Yorker. Week two would probably be spent on old car magazines like Car and Driver predecessor Sports Car Illustrated, Road & Track and Porsche Panorama. I would then move onto fashion (GQ, Vogue), pulp (Amazing Stories, For Men Only, Stag) and finally the never-ending array of old technology titles.
What's really striking to me is how boring and homogenized our magazine covers have become, with only a few exceptions. Nowadays each cover seems to be a pretty face and tantalizing blurbs. They probably work better as newsstand fodder, but that doesn't mean they're better.