10 Old Telly-Related Magazine and Comic Covers

Our new favourite website ever (for this week) has to be Coverbrowser. Home to over 450,000 front covers of books, comics and magazines from years gone by, it’s a little bit like having your very own time machine. But one that is only able to visit newsstands. And only look at the front covers of the magazine, comic and book section of those newsstands, not buy any cool 1950s cigarettes or anything. In summary, it’s not that much like having a time machine after all, but anyway. Here are ten tremendous telly-related things on there:

1. GQ, November 1971: Johnny Carson

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What better way to start than with the king of talkshows? Going through the archive, is seems to be incredibly rare for a GQ cover of that era to feature anyone who wasn’t either a movie star or a male model trying to strike an everyday pose. generally one involved cupping his chin with his left hand. Only one person on television was big enough to warrant his own GQ cover. As Ed McMahon famously said so many times over the years, “Theeeeerrrrre’s Johnny!” (“Reader’s voice: “Oh dear.”)

2. Countdown, May 1971: Jon P’twee

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The site doesn’t just play host to US magazines, of course, here’s British sci-fi comic Countdown, and the dandiest of all The Doctors.

3. The All New Adventures of Bob Hope, Date Unknown

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Awkward ethnic stereotyping AND an unintended dick joke if you’re especially puerile? Bargain.

4. Star Trek, Date Unknown

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“The Hour Glass Spins… BACKWARDS!” Hour glasses don’t spin in either direction. You are doing it wrong.

5. Tales of the Unexpected, Date Unknown

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Yes, yes. It’s clearly got nothing in common with Roald Dahl’s Sunday night ITV mainstay with the terrifying title sequence, but we just love the slightly rubbish premise of “The 3-D Camera That Could Rob”, not least because the camera isn’t the one doing the stealing. Get it right! Runner up:

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Meanwhile, we do hope there was also a comic book of Peter Cook’s pisstake “Tales of the Much As We Expected”.

6. Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, August 1961

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If the makers of the Simpsons Comics had any cred, they’d make a parody cover of this issue, featuring Comic Book Guy.

7. Esquire, March 1987: Tom Hanks

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“Ah, but Tom Hanks is more of a movie star than a TV star”, you bemoan. That’s as maybe, but this cover reminds us of this brilliant bit from Arrested Development:

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8. Esquire, November 1986: David Letterman

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We’ve been asking that for years. We’ve arrived at the conclusion “because he’s less annoying than Jay Leno”.

9. The Twilight Zone, Date Unknown

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Brilliantly unscary. Only one of those cats looks even remotely angry, and even then only to a degree where it’s probably just unhappy with the ratio of dry-to-wet cat food in its bowl. The expression of terror on the face of the victim is barely above the level of “did I remember to set Top Gear to record before going out?”

10. Popular Science, March 1948

Nothing to do with television at all, but we just had to include what must be the greatest magazine cover of ALL TIME, and therefore a nice way to close this update:

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“This can happen to YOU!”

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