Invasion of the Cover Clones

surrealityI love seeing something like this in the checkout line. It’s not exactly a secret that celebrity magazines ape each other’s content from week to week, or even that their covers tend to be carbon copies in big weeks (“Kate Gosselin having Jennifer Aniston’s baby!”). But this caught me off guard.


I wasn't paying attention at the time, but what is that on the endcap? Chocolate syrup? Motor oil?

There they were, stacked neatly one above the other: Three entirely separate titles and three entirely separate cover stories, each with the exact same layout.

– Star: “THE END” for Tom and Katie
– OK!: “SPLIT” for Robert Pattinson and what’s her name
– Examiner: “Shocking Battle” for Garth (Brooks?) and Trisha

Notice if you will the subtle differences in the head-to-head photo structure. Tom and Katie are seemingly taken from an actual photograph of the two, whereas Garth and Trisha are a collage where Brooks appears to be launching into a tirade against his wife (?). The Twilight couple cover gets the most points for the addition of a “tear” line between the two – because they’re SPLIT.

Is this a common cover structure? Should I not be surprised? I’ll have to start paying closer attention because now I’m curious how great a visual range exists in the checkout line. My grandmother, who called these “scandal sheets,” would be proud to know I’m taking an interest.