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12 Jaw-Dropping Bizarro Book Covers

From Ass Goblins of Auschwitz to Pickled Apocalypse of Pancake Island.

October 21, 2010

Satan Burger, Super Fetus, Shatnerquake . . . No, details.com isn't suffering from a sudden onset of Tourette's. Rather, these are the actual titles of books belonging to an upstart literary genre called Bizarro, the primary characteristic of which is, well, weirdness. Drawing on elements of David Lynch, Dr. Seuss, and H.P. Lovecraft, Bizarro is something like the literary equivalent of the cult section at a video store—sometimes comic, sometimes violent, sometimes sexually graphic (if not all of the above) and adolescently fearless to offend.

Just as Pop had Andy Warhol and Dada Tristan Tzara, the Bizarro movement has its very own P. T. Barnum-type practitioner. He's the mutton-chopped author of such books as Electric Jesus Corpse and The Menstruating Mall, the illustrator, editor, and instructor of all things Bizarro, and his name is Carlton Mellick III (or CM3, as he's known by his fans).

"I'm not the best-selling author, and I'm not the most talented, but I'm probably the one who promotes the genre the most," says CM3. "I'm generally in favor of creating a community for Bizarro writers, getting us organized. We're just trying to write exactly the kinds of books that a certain group of people will absolutely love to read."

We asked CM3 to curate a selection of the wildest Bizarro book covers and to tell us a little bit about the stories behind them.

Shatnerquake, by Jeff Burk

"The cover shows William Shatner at ShatnerCon—the first convention to revolve completely around William Shatner. When a "reality bomb" hits and all the characters that William Shatner has ever portrayed come into the real world with a mission to hunt down and kill the real William Shatner, it becomes a big bloodbath, and that's why there's an explosion. Basically, imagine Die Hard, but starring William Shatner instead of Bruce Willis. That's supposed to be the convention hall in the background. You'll also notice a flying Klingon bat'leth. It's a weapon that Klingons use. There's also a severed Vulcan head flying through the air. If you flip over to the back cover, you'd see Captain Kirk with a lightsaber, because when the reality bomb goes off, it also makes the vendors' items real."

Image courtesy of Eraserhead Press.
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