(Just a Few of) the Worst Mag Covers of All Time!

Here Are Media Guy's Nominees; Send Him Yours

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Right now, possibly the very minute you're reading this, a bunch of magazine editors and executives are sitting in windowless conference rooms at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix. They're slowly losing the will to


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live as they silently wish that the doofuses sitting on the panel at the front of the room would wrap it up already. Yes, it's time again for the annual American Magazine Conference! Yee-haw! Let's everybody compare notes about just how clinically depressed everyone is! (Except, of course, for guest speaker Rachael Ray.)

Last year the festivities were punched up a bit by the American Society of Magazine Editors' announcement of the "Top 40 Magazine Covers of the Last 40 Years" (that famous Annie Leibovitz Rolling Stone shot of a naked John Lennon curled around Yoko Ono was No. 1). This year ASME's kicking off a new thing: its first Best Cover Contest. Yawn.

That's simply not good enough for me. I want something epic, sweeping, historical. Which is why I'm kicking off my own competition: Media Guy's Top 41 Worst Magazine Covers of the Last 41 Years. To get things going, I'm presenting a starter list of nominees from my own personal cabinet of horrors. These are all from just the past six years, so I'm particularly eager to hear from readers -- any art directors out there with decades worth of atrocities? -- who have favorite deliciously bad covers dating as far back as 1965. Let the competition ... begin.

Rosie, July 2001
"Staph is no laugh!" with the subhead "Rosie writes about the nasty infection that could have killer her"
To this day I'm thankful Rosie didn't have, like, a really bad yeast infection.

Wallpaper, June 2004
"The portion control issue," with the headline "Size matters: What should be big, what should be small"
In 1992, Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg produced an autobiographical photo book with this inscription up front: "I wanna dedicate this book to my d***." For most of its earliest years, hyper-homoerotic Wallpaper should have had an inscription reading: "We want to dedicate this magazine to male models' d***s." The cringe-inducing June 2004 cover was only one in a series of obsessively crotch-centric covers.

Martha Stewart, Holiday Special Issue, 2000
Wait, why is Cyndi Lauper on the cover of this magazine? What? That's Martha Stewart in drag? Isn't that redundant?

Vanity Fair, March 2006
"Tom Ford's Hollywood"
As the esteemed British cultural commentator Mark Simpson put it to me: "I suspect that Tom Ford hoped he'd look like a sexy gay vampire sniffing necks. Instead, he looks like a mortician's makeup artist checking his handiwork."

Us Weekly, May 29, 2000
"The Real Mel: Lover, Prankster, Deeply Moral Man"
For the love of God, can you believe it actually said that? This was the pre-Bonnie Fuller era, when Us Weekly owner Jann Wenner thought readers were still interested in watching him give celebrities full-body massages, with happy endings.

Talk, February 2001
"Heather Graham: On age, parents, and being THE GIRL"
Sure, we were interested in all that -- but what about Heather Graham also talking about giving birth and/or defecating on the cover of a (doomed) national magazine? And doing breast origami?

Star, Nov. 29, 2004
"260 lb Kirstie: TOO FAT FOR SEX!"
A deranged Kirstie Alley flips the paparazzi a double birdie. But wait, there's more! Kirstie's flanked by a "DUMPED!" Lindsay Lohan, Star "BRIDEZILLA!" Jones, and eight-weeks-preggers Britney. You know, on second thought, maybe this belongs on the best-ever list. I'm petitioning ASME for a recount.

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Send any and all nominations for Media Guy's Top 41 Worst Magazine Covers of the Last 41 Years to [email protected]
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