Luca Raffaelli Luca Raffaelli

Is This The Ugliest Animation Book Cover?

Luca Raffaelli’s Le anime disegnate: Il pensiero nei cartoon da Disney ai giapponesi e oltre may be a very good book, but this cover for its new edition is something else. Share your nominations for ugliest animation book covers in the comments.

  • Irving Mendez


  • Jim Engel

    That Danny Perry anthology of articles—-the one with the yellow cover and hideous Woody Woodpecker on an even more hideous tree ranks pretty high for me.

    • That’s the very first one that instantly occurred to me, B’rer Jimbo!

  • SKent.

    Maybe it’s ugly. But I think it’s pretty cool.

    • I agree. It’s pretty neat to see just how iconic the various aspects are that they’re still recognizable out of context. The only thing I can’t place immediately is the eye on the right (i.e. the one that isn’t from Family Guy).

      • m(_ _)m

        Looks Japanese to me. But I wouldn’t be able to put it to any specific character.

      • Ardford Ray

        Sailor Moon.

  • KitKat

    Kill it with fire!

    • Rich Tom

      Kill it with unoriginal criticisms!

  • It may be the ugliest, and I like it a lot

  • GeneRasputinHole
  • Jon

    I’m sorry Jerry, but…

    • Ursaring93

      Yikes, need time you link to material like, put an NSFW label on dat snitch.

  • SKent.

    Jerry’s book with the cheesy font and the giant eye in some awful red photoshoppy swirl on the cover:

    For some reason the reflection on the eye is a still from Shrek.

    I never liked it.

    • That book is the very definition of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The cover may be ugly, but the inside is gorgeous.

    • Jorge Garrido

      I thought of that, too!

    • Val

      Yes, this was exactly what I thought of!

      • will

        YEP! The second I saw the headline for this article, I KNEW no book cover could beat the sheer ugliness of Jerry’s Animation Art. One of the most outstanding compendiums of Animation history ever, and probably my favourite book on my bookshelf, if not for the utterly horrible cover. Makes it look like a “how to draw stuff” book for primary school children.

    • I agree with all of you!

      Note they changed the cover in later editions:
      animation art

      • DonaldC

        …Is it better?

      • Ryan

        Give me the eyeball over all that Shrekky-Ice Age Scooby-Doo stuff anyday! I hated the new cover so much I ended up paying around £15 more for the eyeball cover.

    • Came to post this much more sarcastically :(

  • If this was an Ottawa Festival poster, it’d be genius, though, no?

    • The Gee

      You’d think that, wouldn’t ya?

      As much as I have liked the Bill Wray cover referenced below since I first saw it years ago, there is still the possibility of doing a portrait, a close up, that looks cobbled together and is better done than the featured book cover. And, a festival poster or a convention poster would be places you’d find that kind of thinking.

      Dave Cooper, what are ya waiting for? Get on it! Ape this cover!

  • Not a book cover, but a promo poster for a play, and it takes the concept to even greater, eye-gouging extremes:

  • Jorge Garrido

    I think it’s pretty cool. But where is the shirt sleeve from.

    • Keegan

      Snow White.

    • Val

      Snow White, I think

  • I think it’s totally graphic and awesome. It’s like the cartoon version of Silence of the Lambs, with Hucklberry Hound wearing a carved up Bart Simpson skin. Classy!

  • I’m diggin’ it.

  • Inkan1969

    Yeah, that’s one ugly cover. Take an uninspired idea: let’s make a collage of various characters, and then put the parts together with no regard at all for balance or color combination.

  • Don’t judge a book for it’s cover. Raffaelli’s book is a good book, I read it. Good title too for an animation book: “Drawn Souls”

    • Dabadie

      I agree, for the cover’s ugliness ; but I disagree : frankly, it’s not a good book. It has been translated and published in France long ago ; and, in comparison, there are dozens of books of the same kind that are far more subtle and interesting than that one.

  • It’s great!! The graphic who did it deserves a standing ovation! And I wouldn’t say that it is ugly, but kitch!

  • Gerry

    It’s an example of using copyrighted character designs in a manner that won’t get anyone sued yet in which every reference is instantly recognizable. It is a testament to the power of animated star characters that they still get attention even when only parts of them are used in a scrambled composition. This cover may be ugly but it’s also smart.

  • Andy Prinsey

    It’s ART, some like cubism, pop art and dada! Or a great way for not paying the copyrights for the mixed characters!

  • I spotted this book at Barnes and Noble one time… I personally have not found an uglier book cover to date:

  • Bill Wray painted a fine cover for Allan Neuwirth’s 2003 book on animation… It May have spawned the creepy trend where we see characters pieced together from a bunch of other characters.

    ps: “FIRE *BAD*!!!”

    • The Gee

      Perhaps you are correct in that it inspired the current trend (if there is a trend)

      I could swear doing a collage portrait, even using established cartoon characters, goes back further than 2004. Heck, it wouldn’t surprise me if it were actually cut and pasted collage and not hand-drawn collage.

      There were a lot of fanzines and there’s been a lot of “underground” publishing that would use that kind of art. Not to mention, decades of magazines that would use something like that. Though, for the life of me I can recall where I’ve specifically seen a portrait.

    • Jorge Garrido

      Beautiful cover!

    • Bill Wray’s mash up is beautifully painted and put together. Not like this copy-paste abomination.

  • This doesn’t win because it is meant to be ugly. My vote is this one though

  • It’s like the gods of the cartoon universe ate a really bad meal of cartoon characters and barfed up this cover…

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    I kinda like it. Basically it’s Bart Simpson with Huckleberry Hound’s muzzle and an anime eye, among other things. It gets the point across about the diversity of animation styles and it works as a joke.

  • Jennifer

    You know, you’ll never publish this but, this is the kind of thing that makes me not like Cartoonbrew: you put down things that are safe to put down.
    If I were to say the cover of “Full Steam Ahead!” was blah would you let readers give their opinion?

  • I dunno, I thought the cover got its point across. Joke all you want about it, but the character on the cover is supposed to be an “artsy” amalgam of all popular animation styles (Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Japanese animation, Matt Groening, etc.). It’s not that bad to me, but I’ve seen worse… :)

  • I dig it, but I would have done it as a 3/4 front view and swapped out Huck Hound’s muzzle for Droopy’s (or the Wolf’s), replaced Bart’s torso with Charlie Brown’s (complete with the jagged striped on the shirt) and added Bugs Bunny’s ears and Bullwinkle’s antlers and Fred Flintstone’s hair over Bart’s “nine points”.

    • The Gee

      Yeah. A big part of the problem is that it is mainly Bart Simpson.

      And, to be quite frank, there really isn’t too many more elements to it.
      If it were like the one you describe, it might have looked much more awesome, awe-inspired…acceptable.

  • iseewhatyoudidthere

    It’s very….Dadaist, isn’t it?

    But it definitely catches the eye. Heck, I would pick it up for a read just out of curiosity.

  • E. Nygma

    Isn’t it supposed to look bad on purpose?

  • Chris Matie

    Somehow it looks like they were trying to rip off the front page cover of RAW, the comics magazine that was founded by Art Spiegelman, who also did the autobiographical graphic novel MAUS. Anyways, there’s a small pic of the front cover on the back flap in MAUS which shows a character with Donald Duck’s bill, Popeye’s pipe, Annie’s eyes, and Nancy’s hairdo.

    lol Pretty wild and ingenious on the latter two, hideous rip-off here of Disney, Hanna-Barbera, and Bart Simpson here, though.