preload
Apr 28

pfffft! No one goes into battle in their pajama bottoms!Click for full image

Don’s Art Direction: Sorry, we can’t afford live models for this one. You’ll have to make do with the, “Barbarian Barbie & Ken With Stunned Horse” play-set.
Published 1991

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 6.47 out of 10)
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28 Responses to “By The Sword”

  1. SI Says:

    I wonder if that horse is fireproof!

    And excellent choice of black colour for the blurb. So easy to read, at least in this photo!

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    I didn’t know they made My Little Pony that big.

  3. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Action figures sold separately.

  4. Action Kate Says:

    Kerowyn has a few unnecessary details (her hair might be in a ponytail, but it’s not that long; her armor doesn’t have those ridiculous shoulder spikes; and she doesn’t wear a scarf belt) but other than that, this is relatively accurate to the characters.

    Also,this is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors, so I’m a bit biased. 🙂 I’m so used to this cover that I was a little surprised to see it here.

  5. Bibliotropic Says:

    I’ve never been entirely sure why Kerowyn’s wearing pajama pants in this image…

  6. Brian B Says:

    I imagine the novel itself is fine–I have enjoyed several of Mercedes Lackey’s works–which is why I’m so amused/appalled to see such terrible cover art. It looks like it was painted by a first year university art student. The awkward body language, the lack of texture, the flatness of the hair, the ridiculous expressions on the action figures–er I mean models, all speak of someone who was probably the best artist in her high school art class and continues to believe she has nothing left to learn.

    N.B. Don I award you 1000 internets for having a copy of Men at Arms peaking around the edge 🙂 One of my favorite Pratchett novels.

  7. fred Says:

    Looks like the heroine is a big fan of Captain Marvel, judging by the lightning bolt on her chainmail.

  8. Zycrow Says:

    …and no one seems to have commented on the distinct lavender pants. Is that canon as well?

  9. [dave] Says:

    @4: Yeah, cosign, its so true to the characters that I don’t mind it that much … ML uses pretty much the same artist for all her covers and you can always tell that she actually reads them before doing them.

    But, yeah, in retrospect, it is a bit Herald Barbie.

  10. Whitney Says:

    All three look like they stepped out of a Michael Jackson music video.

  11. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Billy Jean is not my savior
    She’s just a girl who thinks that she is The One
    but Billy Jean is not my knight…
    (Ooo-oo!)

  12. Adam Roberts Says:

    I’m surprised and disappointed that Good Show Sir would stoop to subliminal advertising. That said, I’m just off out now to our local sword shop to buy the sword.

  13. benny Says:

    The 80’s called and they want there look back.

  14. Harry Payne Says:

    I recall that Misty authorised patterns for Herald costumes to fit Ken and Barbie at one point. No, I will not do your research; go and look it up yourselves.

  15. A.R.Yngve Says:

    But which one has the Kung-Fu Grip?

  16. BohicaSnafu. Says:

    Not sure about stunned horse but stoned horse works.

  17. Dalton H. Says:

    Way to dress up in your pajama pants, Barbie. Way to dress to impress.

  18. lucy synk Says:

    I was very surprised to find this book on the list. Of course, I am distressed to find that this website finds so much enjoyment in mocking artists and writers.

    This artist, Jody A. Lee, is best known for her illustrations of works by Mercedes Lackey. She received the Chesley Award for Best Paperback Cover in 1988.

    Her style is deliberately “stylized”. Art Nouveau, for instance, has a very distinct and instantly recognizable style. (Do any of you even know what that is?) Just because you don’t like the style doesn’t mean it isn’t good art.

  19. SI Says:

    I know someone who hasn’t read the about section! 😀

  20. Phil Says:

    There is a bit of mockery of artists and authors, but I’ve always felt that most of the mockery – direct or implied – is of the marketing folk who feed misleading information about a book to an artist in order to generate imagery that will (in their view) sell the book regardless of whether the imagery is in any way appropriate or relevant.

    Who said we don’t like the art on here? I love most of it!

  21. Carolyn Says:

    If you’ve read and of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar Novels, you immediately understand that the guy in white is a Herald, and that’s his Companion (the magical being that looks like a horse, but is bigger, has silver hoofs & blue eyes, and speaks telepathically).

    The girl, Kerowyn, however would never wear something that ridiculous. She’s a mercenary who always dresses for the elements and something that’s easy to hide in. She however is blonde, and has a magical sword.

    I will say that I personally love Jody A. Lee’s art style. And her Mercedes Lackey covers are awesome. Usually she’s very accurate at depicting the characters. My only guess is that because “By the Sword” is a standalone, instead of a trilogy, she decided to “spice it up”.

  22. FearofMusic Says:

    Always amazes me when someone gets offended because an author or artist they like shows up here. As has been pointed out repeatedly, a book cover (artwork, title,blurb) is aimed at getting people who have not read the book to buy it. Accurate portrayal of a part of the book is rather pointless if the uninitiated reader looks at it and goes “Mech, I think not.”
    And ripping on people who don’t like ‘Your Artist”‘s style, well, you are presuming you actually have good taste and judgement that is better than the rest of us. Millions of people own velvet Elvis paintings. Think about it.

  23. RachelJ Says:

    @FearofMusic. True, but in this particular case, I think some of the criticisms are a bit off the mark- at least one commenter simply didn’t seem to realise the illustration is deliberately stylised- which it clearly is. This doesn’t say “first year art student” to me, it says “competent professional having a serious lapse of taste”.

  24. B. Durbin Says:

    Take a wild guess at when this book was published. Just take a guess.

    Did you choose 1991? Aw, man, how’d you guess?

    (Jody Lee usually does fantastic cover art, but everyone has their off days.)

  25. Tag Wizard Says:

    Hey FöM, can you send in a photo of your velvet Elvis painting for our Christmas special? Cheers! 😀

  26. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    ‘Stylized’, eh? I suppose that explains the headbands, the pommel on the sword, the silly expressions and the sillier armour spikes…

    ..but it does not explain the tears on his sleeve. WTF?

    On the other hand, this is the first time that the lady is in full battle dress clothing and the gentleman’s shirt is ripped in a ridiculous fashion. Phoarr! 😉

  27. Anna T. Says:

    Kerowyn and Eldan would both crack up completely at the sight of Kero’s “Eighties Dance Party” outfit that she’s wearing on this cover. Having read this book, I can say with absolute certainty that absolutely no clothing or armour of this description is anywhere in this book, because no one in it would ever embarrass themselves by wearing any such thing.

  28. Anna T. Says:

    @Dead Stuff With Big Teeth: Eldan’s shirt is ripped because Kero just rescued him from bad guys who were going to kill him.

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