Sep 20

Lucky for me... octopuses don't know how to sword fight! hiyaaaaa! Or do they... oh crap...Click for full image

Art Direction: Man in a thong sword fighting an octopus while two half naked babes watch. My only regret is that only the French people will see this glorious work of art. Maybe someday… someone… somewhere will show this to the masses so they might all say, “Good Show Sir. Good Show!”
Published 1985

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: 8.93 out of 10)

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33 Responses to “L’Hydre Acphale (Headless Hydra)”

  1. bincat23 Says:

    Always nice to see something completely unexpected. And this truly is.

  2. Herm Says:

    That’s not acéphale, that’s a cephalopod… and Thong Chap there is seconds away from being hamstrung, tripped and spanked like a child. You can see its expression; it’s not even breaking an inksweat.

    Oh, and its pupil is the wrong way around. Octopuses (N.B. not octopi) have horizontal pupil-slits.

  3. THX 1138 Says:

    Something like that could really damage the test- er, tentacles.

  4. Dave Rogers Says:

    This is not the only book to have this cover; I’ve seen it before on Fritz Leiber’s “Swords in the Mist”. It’s an illustration based on the story “When the Sea-King’s Away”, in which Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser battle sea-monsters to enjoy the favours of the Sea-King’s wife and concubine. These are, of course, the two half-naked babes seen in the top right, and the man in the thong is quite obviously Fafhrd. Unless Leiber saw the picture first, and based the story on it, which is unlikely given that “Swords in the Mist” was published in 1960.

  5. Smith Says:

    How bored do the two women look?

    Or is one saying to the other “I don’t fancy yours much?”

  6. SI Says:

    That octopus looks like he isn’t attacking… more trying to get away from the incoming loincloth bulge!

  7. Scott B Says:

    This is one where I would really like to know the story behind the cover choice, especially with Dave’s information that it’s a re-use. Is it really a case of “hydra, octopus, eh, close enough”? “And never mind that ‘headless’ thing…”

  8. A.R.Yngve Says:

    Suddenly, a peeved Frenchman intrudes on Good Show Sir:

    Zut alors! How dare you mock ze great French Science de Fiction? Do you not see ze ennui, ze Sartrean drama in ze picture? Silly English persons, I burst my pimples at you!

  9. Joachim Says:

    “And when the monstrous cephalopod was momentarily distracted by his thong he slammed his sword home — hard, true, relentless…”

  10. Tom Noir Says:

    Thong wedgie. YOWCH!

  11. Phil Says:

    Bon spectacle, monsieur! Or something like that.

    This is probably the first octo-TING! opportunity we’ve seen here… and yet there’s barely a TING! to be seen. A thong, yes; a TING, no.

    Actually, I count only six limbs, so this is either a sextopus(!) or the artist took inspiration from Ray Harryhausen’s IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA which featured a similarly tentacly-deficient cephalopod:

  12. Adam Roberts Says:

    Bon spectacle, Monsieur!

  13. Don Hilliard Says:

    Actually, I count only six limbs, so this is either a sextopus(!) or the artist took inspiration from Ray Harryhausen’s IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA which featured a similarly tentacly-deficient cephalopod

    We’ll be charitable and assume Buttfloss the Barbarian lopped off a couple of limbs prior to this scene.

    Although “Sextopus” sounds like something that belongs either on SyFy or the Playboy Channel, not sure which…

  14. Tom Noir Says:

    “Sextopus” was the name of War Thong’s second album.

  15. SI Says:

    Tom noir – as soon as I get home. That is the band I am starting and the song I will begin to craft!!

  16. A.R.Yngve Says:

    “OW! MY BALLS!”

    [Shameless IDIOCRACY reference]

  17. PeterJ Says:

    Dave Rogers is right; I used to have this cover pic (mirror-reversed) on Leiber’s Swords in the Mist, in a paperback edition published in the late 70s. The illustration’s apparently by Peter Elson.

    Here’s some pictorial evidence –[email protected]/1084908098/

  18. Tom Noir Says:

    First we had crabs wielding spears, now we have sword-fighting octopi. We need a new tag for Animals With Weapons.

  19. Dave Rogers Says:

    I found my copy of Swords in the Mist yesterday, and as PeterJ says, I see it’s been reversed. I can’t help wondering why. Maybe making Fafhrd left-handed was just more… gallic?

  20. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    You can tell the swordsman is holding back some serious gas by squeezing his buttocks ever so tightly. It must have been the chilli he had the night before…boy is he going to look embarrassed when the loincloth blows outward in front of the ladies he’s trying to impress.

  21. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    @Tom Noir we could call it “Sea Creatures With Swords”. But then, I guess if we came across a lion with a sword we would have to create another category…So let’s call it “Land and Sea Creatures With Swords”. Yup, that works!

  22. NGpm Says:

    Possibly the greatest duel ever …

    Thong-boy: I find that Thibault cancels out Capa Ferro. Don’t you?
    Squidward: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa… which I have.

  23. Lauren Says:

    I wish I could vote this a perfect ten more times than once. I want this tapestry sized and on my wall.

  24. Phil Says:

    Lauren, don’t tell anyone but you can vote more than once…if you do it from a different computer. (Or from a different IP address. Or something.)

    Not that I would ever stoop so low myself, I hasten to add.

  25. FeârofMüsïc Says:

    Wasn’t that a song by the Who?

    “Now it’s there upon my floor,
    Fighting naked men with swords,
    The women they just want to see,
    Octopi or octopee…

    Headless the Hydra.. “

  26. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    To the Tag Thaumaturge: Tentacle tag time!


  27. rev Says:

    Fleuve Noir. My favourite genre.
    If I was in a french metal band, we would play true french fleuve noir metal. It would be flag wavingly glorious. And just a little bit cheesy.*

    *very cheesy, and garlicky, with hairy armpits.

  28. A.R.Yngve Says:

    L’Editeur Acéphale

    POW!! Bon Show, Monsieur!

  29. Tag Wizard Says:

    Superlative cephalopod spotting! Thanks chums.

  30. Anna T. Says:

    I see some serious flaws with Thong-Chap’s decision to fight a Land Octopus in such a serious state of undress. The Damsels in the corner probably won’t be particularly impressed when he ends up horribly, horribly injured from the Land Octopus’ poison suckers.

  31. anon Says:

    @Phil: “Sextopus” does explain the scantily clad women.

  32. A.R.Yngve Says:


  33. Anna T. Says:

    Regardless of the fact that this cover has been reused from another book, first of all that swordsman should not be wearing a thong (or Speedo). It doesn’t suit him. Second, WHERE ARE HIS HIPS?

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