Dec 08

Men.. always more interested in jarred brains than their 50's pinup girl!Click for full image

Jaouad’s Art Direction: Ok, this book is about a brain in a jar, so we’ll have a big glowing brain in a jar. With some wires and electrical discharges please, so the audience knows it’s Science. And give it evil eyesockets while you’re at it. An infinity parking lot in the background. A scientist chap. Oh, and a girl, of course. A girl in a frilly dress. With cleavage. And nailpolish.
Published 1950

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: 5.58 out of 10)

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22 Responses to “Donovan’s Brain”

  1. Phil Says:

    Come on, darling, we’ll be late for the theatre. Leave that, you can play with it later.

    Give that this IS about a guy with a brain in a jar, I think that’s quite a smart cover. I am also reassured that, with Bantam Books, every book is complete. I am further reassured that DONOVAN’S BRAIN is complete and unabridged. I do hate it when publishers leave bits out for no reason.

  2. Druaightagh Says:

    …not to mention the brain is both monstrous AND alive! You know, because a live brain in a jar is not that scary.

  3. THX 1138 Says:

    “Now to get it back inside my head!”

  4. Smith Says:

    “For the last time, Donovan, we’re not buying that novelty brain-in-a-jar biscuit barrel. Now come on, the shop’s closing. Look, the car park’s deserted!”

  5. SI Says:

    You see ladies. Fancy make-up and some frilly number. And still just wants to play with his brain in a jar! Men…

  6. Smith Says:

    Is it just that the cover is damaged, or us that woman literally smouldering?

  7. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    @Smith: she’s smouldering. Look, his left sleeve is right by the arcing electricity. I think she’s earthing him.

    He’s got kind of a Chris Barrie sneer about him, doesn’t he? As if to say, “All smeg, no head. Euch!”

  8. Espedair Says:

    Handy pen in top pocket for last minute Argos purchases or filling out betting slips following tips the brain gives him!

  9. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    When they were younger, Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus were just a tad different …

    @Dead Stuff With Big Teeth: Lord, you’re right, he looks like Arnold Rimmer!

  10. Jaouad Says:

    @Espedair: Duh, I thought it was just the phallic symbol representing his male domimance and authority in confronting life-threatening situations involving brains. No wonder she’s smouldering. (That does appear to be actual smoke, btw. The cover isn’t damaged there.)

  11. Tom Noir Says:

    “Hah, caught it!”

    “Don’t squish the brain honey. Just carry it outside and let it go!”

  12. A.R.Yngve Says:

    I love how they used those wacky comical fonts in the tagline “It Was Monstrous And Alive!
    As if the whole cover was done entirely tongue-in-cheek (and perhaps it was).

  13. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    Maybe we should have a “5+ fonts” tag.

  14. Phil Says:

    Nobody has yet commented on the delightfully jagged title font. And everyone (until now) has resisted any temptation to make mistaken-identity gags about Donovan being mistaken for someone called Brian.

  15. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Scientist: “I must have this brain. It is so……big!”

  16. Alessandra Kelley Says:

    I have to be honest. I kind of … like this.

    The old pulp covers are cheesy, but not in an offensive way. I like the earnest sincerity of this one. I can imagine the artist having his roommate pose for the scientist, but he obviously didn’t know any women who would pose, so she’s a lot more idealised.

    This is the sort of cover which invokes Thomas Dolby crying “science!”

    This cover is better than the last pulp cover to show up, Hannes Bok on a bad day:

    And it certainly has more sincerity than the ‘eighties pulp pastiche that showed up recently:

  17. Phil Says:

    Alessandra, I think you’ll find it was Dr Magnus Pyke who cried “science!” on Thomas Dolby’s behalf.

  18. Anna T. Says:

    That’s not a brain in that jar. Brains do NOT have EYES. That is clearly a LIVING ALIEN HEAD in that jar.

    Also, are they late for a Christmas party? Because there’s no other reason I can think of for why the scientist’s lady friend is wearing a “Sexy Santa” dress.

  19. A.R.Yngve Says:

    It was monstrous and alive!

  20. John Barnes Says:

    I used to do science fiction art for publication (retired) and I have seen the movie DONOVAN’S BRAIN and have the old paperback on my bookshelf. Mine has a different, less explicit cover in black and red. It features a huge bald head with brain wrinkles showing, floating over a perspective landscape similar to the one seen in the window here. The book became a classic in it’s time although both movie and book are rather banal by today’s standards. I’d like to comment that generally, the artist follows the guidelines of the publishing house art director as to what the cover will look like.

  21. Perry Armstrong Says:

    @John Barnes: I’ve also enjoyed an impressive radio dramatisation of this story, featuring the amazing voice of Orson Welles. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Orson Welles delivering 57 different line readings of: “Sure, sure, sure…”

  22. Hammy Says:

    After the success of “Donovan’s Reef”, the producers wanted to try the science fiction genre next. They couldn’t get John Wayne for the role, though….

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