1. "New York"|
The photo montage for New York's feature on prolonging youth well into adult life had us nervously examining our own lifestyle. As it turns out, we actually do know a surprising number of people who wear messenger bags because they proved their owner was still "alive."
2. "The Economist"|
It may have been the last time anyone laughed when they saw Kim Jong-il, but The Economist gets props for a great joke about a terrible situation-North Korean missile tests. The American Society of Magazine Editors gave it third place in its cover-of-the-year competition.
Not long after North Korea's missile test proved again that the U.S. can't do everything with a big stick, Time argued with this cover feature that the Bush administration's single-handed approach had effectively been stilled. ASME called it the best cover concept of 2006.
Midway through what would turn out to be the Year of Colbert, Stephen Colbert took a hacksaw to an iPod to illustrate the "How To" cover feature, which included "Be an Expert at Everything!" (by Stephen Colbert) and "How to Hack Your iPod." It looks so fun we still want to try it.
5. "Harper's Bazaar"|
We hear you: It's been done, Britney Spears is no Demi Moore and lots of you gagged when you saw this one. Well, sorry, haters. When most covers are products of focus groups or online panels, God bless Harper's Bazaar for putting out something no one expected.
Here's the other way to use the pregnant-nude theme. Swindle, the Los Angeles-based pop-culture and lifestyle magazine, announced its feature on street artist Banksy to great effect with its own twist on the Demi cover. Speaking of choice cover quality, Swindle is available both hardbound and soft.
7. "The New Yorker"|
Even those who don't remember Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center feel this void. A second cover, behind the first, filled in the white space with the footprints of the towers. "Soaring Spirit," by John Mavroudis and Owen Smith, tugged us upward without forgetting the fall.
You don't get many fetching historical figures peering out at you from the newsstand. So Vogue's crucial September issue succeeded in provoking and setting itself apart by using Kirsten Dunst in full "Marie Antoinette" regalia. That it was shot by Annie Leibovitz only helped.
9. "Conde Nast Traveler" |
Naomi Watts doesn't look so happy, standing in bare feet atop the Chrysler Building so Jonas Karlsson can get a killer shot for his portfolio. But we couldn't look away. And we like to think the cover line "Hello, Gorgeous!" was meant at least as much for New York as it was for Ms. Watts.
Speaking of looking miserable, this is not the face anyone expected on the winner of the 2006 Tour de France, especially on the cover of Bicycling. But the shot gets it right, as does the text: "We Can't Believe It -- Did Floyd Landis Cheat, or Was He Cheated? Either Way, We Lose."