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The 10 Most Awesomely Terrible Sci Fi/Fantasy Paperback Covers

If nothing else, a lifetime of reading comic books has given us an incredible appreciation for art depicting things that in any other context would seem completely insane. It’s not just limited to comics, either, which is why we were thrilled to stumble across GoodShowSir.co.uk, which — in addition to having the classiest URL of all time — features a showcase of “only the worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy book covers”…

…if by “worst” you mean the best things ever. Seriously, these things rival even our favorite VHS covers for the sheer combination of awesomeness and ineptitude. The proprietors of Good Show Sir are performing an incredible public service with their archive and it’s quickly become one of ComicsAlliance’s favorite Internet time-wasters, but we couldn’t resist pulling out a few of our favorites for commentary here.I’m not sure what sort of qualifications a man who used to be a color-changing lizard could bring to an investigation of “multiple humanoid homicide” and what appears to be a lycanthropic Jack Palance, but who am I to argue with something this amazing?

This is what everyone thought every game of Shadowrun was going to be like before they got bored halfway through rolling up a character and decided to play D&D instead: Just hot dagger-wielding girls in leather straight up magicking wild boars at you:

I have genuine hopes that “Asprin” was this author’s actual last name, and not just a recommendation on how to solve the inevitable headache that comes from reading a pun this elaborately bad:

This pun, on the other hand, is one that I have to grudgingly respect, especially since the defense in question appears to be standing on a hill shouting “G’wan, get outta here Unicorn! Shoo!”

REVEALED AT LAST: THE TERRIFYING TRUE FACE OF KE$HA!

Say what you want about the new TSA regulations, but I say if it keeps one naked time traveling gladiator from attempting to fight an airplane with his sword, it’s worth it. They only have to be lucky once.

This one had me at Ketchup Ninjas vs. Mustard Monks. Throwing in a sexy Red Sonja knockoff being apprehended by Kenny Powers just makes it even better.

Hey, you guys remember The Princess Bride, right? Of course you do. Well then surely you remember that scene where Buttercup stripped naked except for a bird that she wore on her head and then had sex with a snake, right? Right.

This next one may in fact be the most amazingly beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, if only for the fact that every square inch of this cover not taken up by a mermaid and her mermaid pony is occupied by a rainbow. This is how Lisa Frank sees the world.

My absolute favorite one, though, is this:

When I showed this one to ComicsAlliance editor-in-chief Laura Hudson, we were so intrigued by what the hell could possibly be going on here that we ended up looking for more information about it. Not only did we find the book’s Wikipedia page, which describes a dystopian post-apocalyptic future society set in — where else? — New Jersey, we also found a glowing five-star review on Amazon that included this truly magical sentence:

From there on action rage without respite allowing the reader to get in touch with a nightmarish world.

And that, my friends, is a cover that definitely promises action rage without respite.

Check out more paperback radness at GoodShowSir! Belive me, these ten just scratch the surface of the beautiful insanity they’ve got going on there.

(Thanks to Andrew Weiss)

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