Archive for October, 2013


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If you paid a visit to The Story Siren or The Book Smugglers yesterday, you may have already spotted this lovely little gem: But let me tell you what makes this cover particularly interesting to me. I mean, besides the fact that yeah, it does make me want to read its summary: I love the … Continue reading »


Well, well, well. What do we have here? Oh, this little beauty. Yesterday, Making The Grade did a cover reveal for Trish Doller’s upcoming Where the Stars Still Shine. And it is quite shiny indeed! Today on TCG I have two lovely and insightful interviews with none other than the author herself, as well as her fabulous cover … Continue reading »


Oh wow. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I’m back, at least for this week, and I just wanted to spread some more Eleanor & Park love. As if I didn’t spread enough of it back in August of last year, right? If you’ve posted about E&P on Twitter and I haven’t gone all YAAAAY … Continue reading »


Have you ever found yourself sitting in a room and listening intently to a discussion, then have your attention completely derailed when you become fixated on an object? Unfortunately, it happens to me all the time. Fortunately, it happened when I saw the spine of Andrew Smith’s upcoming novel, Winger. Spines don’t often get a lot … Continue reading »


It’s not often that I photograph books here on the blog, but when I do, I feel like I’m giving each book its own little fashion show. This immediately reminds me of Mindy Kaling’s character on The Office being super annoying when she chants, “Fashion show at lunch!” Today I’m rolling out the red carpet … Continue reading »


Wow, it’s been a really long time since I spread some serious cover love here. This is about to be remedied. Because not only do I have some cover love for you, but I’m happy to announce that the aforementioned cover love revolves around some brotherly love, too! And that’s a lot of love. Ahh. I … Continue reading »


St. Louis is a beauty, no? I wasn’t quite sure where to put this post, to be honest. I normally talk cover art here at TCG, my Tumblr isn’t meant for holding more than 100 words, and I sure wasn’t going to start another new personal blog. So I decided to post here. Feel free … Continue reading »


I follow the lovely Regina Roff on Twitter, a talented designer and illustrator who also happens to be a fun person to follow. She’s also getting married this coming weekend (2 days!), and she posted a photo of her wedding shower greeting card, which I promptly retweeted: Oh who am I kidding, it is the best … Continue reading »


I love finding parents for YA cover babies. It’s like the fun version of genealogy, y’all! Except without trying to figure out which people were the crazy aunts and uncles. For example, if Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 & Carrie Harris’ Bad Taste in Boys had a cryonically frozen teenage daughter, she’d look just like this!


I’m not even sure where to begin with this thing, to be honest. Here, let me just show off these two covers to momentarily distract you. Both of these UK covers were illustrated by the brilliant Debbie Powell. I blathered on about the loveliness of both the US and UK covers for E&P (and interviewed … Continue reading »

cover love | | Page 4

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CUTE COVER ALERT. While I do realize that Amanda Ashby’s novel was originally published four years ago, it certainly didn’t keep me from letting out an LOL after seeing this cover for the first time. And while I can’t say much for its type choice or treatment, I have to say kudos to the adorable … Continue reading »


In any visual medium, it’s extremely difficult to not compare trends — to avoid comparing them is simply unhealthy. Our eyes tend to view and take notice of how ideas and concepts are different, similar, unique, attention-grabbing, and just…same ol’ same ol’. Unfortunately, such is the case of the Pretty Dress/Sad Girl on a Paranormal … Continue reading »


If I could shape this week’s theme of posts around one word, that word would be “thought-provoking.” When I first saw the cover art for Gigged, I have to admit that I reacted emotionally. And to be honest, I don’t think that the team behind this cover design expected me to react any other way. … Continue reading »


A few weeks ago I Cover Love’d Kelly Oram’s Being Jamie Baker cover, and I’ve gotta admit that part of the reason why I loved the cover was because I knew it was about a superhero(ine). I mean, really, who doesn’t love superhero stories? They are extra-heroic! Cue Perry Moore’s hardcover and paperback covers for his … Continue reading »


Happy new year, folks! If it means anything to you, I almost wrote “Happy New York.” That’s how heinously busy my past month has been — I can barely focus long enough on how I want to properly greet all of you in 2011. Brain lapses aside, feast your eyes on Linda Gerber’s Death by … Continue reading »


Remember back when I featured The Kid Table for Cover Love? If so, this cover may not come as a surprise, then. Let’s talk design elements, first. As I’ve mentioned approximately 4,538 times on this blog, I love it when a cover is simple, but different. You can’t just slap some Helvetica titles over some vintage … Continue reading »


I have to admit I’ve had my eye trained on this book for a few months. Every time I venture into a bookstore, it’s almost always outward-facing. I also can’t help but be attracted to shiny objects — y’know, like a squirrel or raccoon but without the whole rabies thing. But seriously, check out the … Continue reading »


Hey there, reader. Does this look like paranormal cover art to you? While it’s not the norm for me to discuss book synopses here, I’ll tell you this much: Nina Wright’s Homefree is about a teenage girl who astral-projects. Yes, you read that right. Now take a look again at Homefree’s cover art. When I … Continue reading »


Warning! The following cover is not to be confused with the novel featuring the half-nekkid man-angel! Nor is it to be confused with the upcoming House of Night novel! Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I can say that Katie Kacvinsky’s debut novel Awaken clearly takes the cake in the cover category, regardless of its … Continue reading »


As we’re quickly approaching December, I thought it’d be fitting to show some cover love to a snow globe-like cover. Well, sort of. There is absolutely no Christmas-like quality to this cover except for the globe-ish shape, and the stark white background that almost resembles the blinding white of snow. But this cover art hits … Continue reading »

cover love |

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Wow, it’s been a really long time since I spread some serious cover love here. This is about to be remedied. Because not only do I have some cover love for you, but I’m happy to announce that the aforementioned cover love revolves around some brotherly love, too! And that’s a lot of love. Ahh. I … Continue reading »


Yep, you read the post’s title right. A joint post! Nearly two weeks ago, my friend Shanna tweeted to me about the redesign for AtU’s US paperback. As someone who generally liked the original US hardcover artwork, I was pleased at the facelift. Not pleased in a “let me sip my tea daintily and wink … Continue reading »


Nope, The Last Three Weeks isn’t an older read. Nor is it an ARC that’s going to be handed out this week at BEA. (Hi BEA friends! Hope you’re having fun!) I’ve been going 90mph in the last few weeks and haven’t had much time to investigate new goings-on in YA Cover Land, so here’s a … Continue reading »


Back in 2010 I posted an entry titled, “when movie posters remind me of book covers.” Today’s post is the reverse effect! Take the cover art for Lauren Morrill’s Meant to Be, with its lovely London landscape. No other cover here on TCG has made me immediately think such words as “bursting with vibrant romance” as this … Continue reading »


Before I go into cover-lovin’ mode, I need to give a huge shout-out and thank you to two lovely people, Risa who designed my logo/header/background for the new digs, as well as my friend Patch for coming up with a snazzy new tagline. In regards to the logo, I love that little book-face so much … Continue reading »


Oh, how I love me a typographic cover. Give me serifs, sans serifs, condensed characters, and boldfaces. Give me balance and a typeface with personality. Give me something other than a title slapped on in Neue Helvetica and I’ll give your cover another glance. And while you’re at it, make me swoon with your swash. I … Continue reading »


One of the neat things about being an author with a slew of books under your belt is that the ratio of love to hate of your own book covers is much better than if you’ve only published a few. Such is the case of author Pete Hautman, who currently has 13 YA books out … Continue reading »


I’ve rewritten this sentence about 27 times, but still can’t come up with anything clever enough to intro this cover. It’s probably because I can’t compose myself long enough to think without laughing. There isn’t anything particularly striking about the cover art besides its funny title, since it’s a parody of the original artwork. I’m … Continue reading »


Here’s something fun I never thought I’d be able to ask about YA cover art: What’s black and white and red all over? (And looks like a Rorschach test?) I’ve had my eyes on this particular cover ever since Thea from The Book Smugglers posted it as on her radar. It’d be easy for me … Continue reading »


There are people who can pick out a prominent city skyline because that’s their hometown or their favorite place in the world. City skylines like Paris, Tokyo, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. We recognize Mickey’s silhouette because of his bubbly mouse ears, or Michael Jordan because of his dunk. And then there are people … Continue reading »

cover love | | Page 3

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Earlier this month I was browsing one of my new favorite cover art blogs, Caustic Cover Critic, and discovered the gorgeous cover art to David Ward’s Between Two Ends (out next week). You guys. You guys. I promise you from the very bottom of my heart that Amulet Books is not paying me to pimp their cover art. Two covers in … Continue reading »


I wonder about a variety of issues when it comes to marketing in the publishing industry. As someone who often works alongside ad agencies, I’d like to think that I can empathize with some of their woes — the red tape, the endless amount of revisions, the neutering of the artistic soul, properly defining an … Continue reading »


You might have to do a double take when you look at this cover. This really is a young adult book, I promise. If you had pulled Tanita S. Davis’ Mare’s War from a shelf at the library or a bookstore, I would never have guessed where it came from. Maybe from adult fiction? History? … Continue reading »


I think I’ve written and re-written this post’s intro paragraph approximately 27 times. I wanted to say something witty and clever, something to make you laugh. I wanted to say that this cover art was both breathtaking and beautiful. Perhaps I could have started with my excitement about how more and more illustrated work is … Continue reading »


I’m having a little difficulty on where I should start with this cover’s dissection, but first, let me show you why: I know, right. I’ve been a fan of a few YA covers that have been published by Tor, and The Faerie Ring just so happens to be the latest addition to my collection. It … Continue reading »


As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that cover art is similar to a type of bait — art directors and marketing teams hope that it’ll hook you. But in some special cases, you don’t have to know anything about the novel’s subject matter. The cover itself simply makes you want to know more. This same … Continue reading »


When you think about silhouettes in art and design, what’s the first image that pops into your head? Is it an 18th century portrait? A movie poster? (And is it the Scarface poster — that’s what comes to my mind at least) Are silhouettes too dull and uninteresting? Are they copouts to creating a multidimensional … Continue reading »


Apparently I’ve been living under a rock, because I just now discovered that the Go Fug Yourself gals’ YA debut has a cover. I have to admit that it’s pretty difficult to maintain an air of professionalism when all you want to do is go fangirl crazy over the fact that ahem, THE GO FUG YOURSELF … Continue reading »


Problem: Apparently I’ve yet to share my love of musical instruments on covers. Solution: I think I can remedy that with some cover art eye candy — namely Cecil Castelluci’s paperback cover for Beige. You may or may not have seen a few prior posts on pink covers here and here and here. (Oh…and here) I’m … Continue reading »

Okay, folks, confession time. I’m not exactly proud of this, but I’ve never read a graphic novel.* Please don’t judge me! Because as soon as I get my grabby hands on Craig Thompson’s Blankets, that’s all going to change, I promise. This particular Cover Love post is interesting in the fact that the author is also … Continue reading »

cover love | | Page 2

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There are times when I’ve been to a gallery or art museum and I’ll stare at a piece of artwork that clears my head of all assumption. I’m just standing there, slack-jawed, leaning ever-so-slightly in to the point where I stumble just a little. I’m not just looking. I’m gawking. Whether it’s an overwhelming feeling … Continue reading »


Growing up, I was a big fan of the X-Files. I read anything by Bruce Coville (Aliens Ate My Homework, anyone?) and checked out as many books about UFOs from the library as I possibly could. And I was used to alien book covers that looked like this: It’s almost so bad it’s good, right? … Continue reading »


Okay, so I may be cheating a bit here. The following cover art work of genius has been categorized as fiction by its publisher. I’ve seen it shelved as YA on Goodreads, and have read a few reviews categorizing it as both YA and adult. Whatever. I’m categorizing it under Covers: Awesome. Before I dive … Continue reading »


Last Friday I was out on an all-day shoot for work, so I missed all the cover reveal-squealing for Veronica Roth’s second novel in her Divergent trilogy, Insurgent. When I got home late that evening, I hit up good ol’ trusty Google to experience it in its high-res glory. Hey, HarperCollins? I think you outdid … Continue reading »


When I sit down to write my Cover Love posts, I normally have one cover in mind, ready to fawn all over it criticize it respectfully. It’s rare that I dish out cover love to two pieces of cover art that remind me…of each other. I’ve had my eye on Stracher’s The Water Wars for … Continue reading »


Let me be the first to admit that I actually despise running for exercise or recreation. For those of you who are avid runners, major kudos to you, because I feel like every time a pair of running shoes and I hit the pavement or treadmill, it’s like my legs are screaming, “Why, why are … Continue reading »


Honestly, if it weren’t for the other lovely bloggers that I stalk talk to on a regular basis, I wouldn’t be so inspired to post approximately 30% of my Cover Love posts. Oh, sure, browsing Goodreads, publishers’ sites and author blogs is extremely helpful. But my fellow bloggers, when their powers combine, are like a … Continue reading »


Last fall when I started this here little blog, my first post featured the cover art for Courtney Summers’ third novel, Fall for Anything. All of the design elements flowed beautifully together. It was the kind of cover that captured a mood, an ache of sorts, with a subdued color palette, a title that held its … Continue reading »


So, let’s briefly discuss my tiny fascination with ZOMBIES. Yes, you read that right. I’m an eclectic girl with eclectic tastes, and zombies happen to be one of my interests, especially after watching Shawn of the Dead and the first season of The Walking Dead. Speaking of which, WHEN IS SEASON 2 PREMIERING? I just spent … Continue reading »


Several weeks ago I found myself clicking around on Amazon for new book finds. Not that I needed to purchase new books (wait did I really say that?), but I find the online conglomerate one of my favorite sources for discovering books outside of the YA realm. Then I happened upon the cover art for … Continue reading »

about tcg |

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First and foremost, I love to read YA literature.

I also like looking at pretty pictures, including but not limited to YA cover art. And I can be pretentious and judgmental when it comes to looking at covers. This little space on the web was just a natural fit. I’m not a designer or a photographer. (I’m actually a producer/editor.)

Because I’m terrible at talking about myself on my own blog, here are a few links to a few interviews I’ve done for a few good friends:

Persnickety Snark

Steph Su Reads


There are some covers that catch your eye simply because they’re just drop-dead gorgeous. They draw you in because they’re thought-provoking, magical, or just different. This blog is dedicated to the designers, art directors, illustrators, and photographers who put their blood, sweat and tears into creating the face of a cover you want to stare at for hours.

Got a question, comment, or suggestion? Feel free to shoot me an email. I promise I don’t bite. You can also find me on Twitter.

Last but not least — my name’s Capillya. Nice to meet you, and I hope you stay awhile.

what were YA thinkin? |

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I thought we’d already discussed this whole “no crotches on covers” thing. Because…really? Thanks (and no thanks) to Kelly for pointing out this cover. Did you think that crotchety covers were only relegated to female-focused YA artwork? Not so! Covers like the one above for Williams’ Teenage Rewrite show that both genders’ nether-regions are not safe from … Continue reading »


Riddle me this, Batman. What do you get when you mix talented photography, makeup artists, costume/set designers, and really weird direction? Ta-da. I have tried multiple times over the past ten minutes to come up with some coherent and non-rambly sentence that could adequately express my sincere confusion in regards to this cover. I keep … Continue reading »


You people are making this way too easy. When this cover art first popped up in my inbox, my initial reaction was (verbatim): “What. WHAT IS HAPPENING.” This was aside from laughing, of course. I don’t know about you, but when I think about relaxing in a tree (or falling asleep romantically in my boyfriend’s … Continue reading »


It’s about that time again, boys and girls. Another Mead novel, another email from my lovely friend Shanna with this as her subject line: Which basically translates to me demanding asking her to guest post again. Mark my words, one of these days I will read the Vampire Academy series, because I know she loves … Continue reading »


It’s a thin line between love and hate. Oh who am I (and The Persuaders) kidding, there is no thin line, especially in the sad, sad case of terrible YA covers. In such cases, it’s a thin line between “Oh my goodness, I hate this cover” and “Oh my goodness, I hate this one even … Continue reading »


I can almost guarantee you that every other What Were YA Thinkin? post will be dedicated to a cover that gives me heebie jeebies. Like this one: I’m not going even going to address the type treatment for The Waking or the fact that I can jump on the all-caps bandwagon for this cover art. … Continue reading »


When you were a teen, I’m sure you had some insecurities. Perhaps you weren’t good enough at sports. You were terrible at math. You couldn’t fill a B cup. Or perhaps, like so many teenagers (me included), you suffered through daily bouts with dreaded acne. Now imagine someone who took that insecurity just a little too … Continue reading »


I think it’s nice to have decency. Really, I do. I’m not exactly the world’s biggest prude, but I certainly have my own standards of modesty. This does not include pointing the camera at someone’s crotch, by the way. I’ve taken the liberty of editing Swimming Sweet Arrow’s cover, because apparently someone’s mother wasn’t around to … Continue reading »


I may have to start a new meme here, called Who Does This YA Cover Model Look Like? Stumped? Here’s your answer! Try not to be jealous of my Photoshop skills. Just try.


I’ve seen this cover for Ednah Walters’ Awakened floating around the internet, and at first I thought I’d keep my opinions to myself about it. Then I saw it on a blog for the billionth time and figured I’d put my two cents in. What in the world was I don’t know why Why on earth … Continue reading »

behind the design: sammy yuen & hunger |

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If you’ve missed the past two days of me gushing about Jackie Morse Kessler’s Hunger cover (oh, and she gushed too), today’s post may catch you a bit off-guard. Illustrator and designer Sammy Yuen joins me today to talk about the blood, sweat and tears that went into designing the face of Hunger, the first installation in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series.


So, the horsemen of the apocalypse with a modern twist — what were your first thoughts and reactions on how to go about designing the face of a novel like Hunger? Did you get a chance to read it before starting the design?

Whenever I get a new assignment, I always try to think about the audience and what would draw them into the book. I read the first few chapters of HUNGER, and I was fascinated with how Jackie Morse Kessler was able to merge a contemporary subject matter like anorexia with a fantastical/biblical storyline like the four horsemen. So, my first thought was: how do I create a timeless look that reflects an ancient story and a modern theme?

What were your initial ideas for the cover? Do you have some early illustrations/mockups that you can share?

Since this book deals with eating disorders, I thought it made perfect sense to include a scale. I felt like this iconic image tells the potential reader immediately what the focus of the story is. Here is a thumb nail/first sketch.


What is your normal design process after you get a working draft? What were the parts that kept getting tweaked?

When I start working on a cover, I like to do three thumbnails, each with a different concept/composition. When one concept gets approved, I start doing photo research so my comps can be as detailed and as accurate as possible. Sometimes I create an outline of the artwork using Adobe Illustrator, and from there, I import the art to Photoshop and begin adding texture, shape, and light. After I complete the art, I start the text design. I like the text to frame the art. I’d say the text design gets tweaked the most.

What were the easiest parts of the design/process? The hardest?

Every cover brings a new challenge. It’s like a puzzle—you have to put all your ideas (the pieces) together, the text design, the art, and all with the audience and story in mind. So, the toughest part is finding the right pieces /concept for the puzzle. But once you get the right concept, the execution is the easiest part. Michelangelo believed that he had to find the right piece of marble and free the art from the piece of stone. I like to take the same approach. I just chip away at the Photoshop file till I think I have a nice polished piece.


You’ve done a lot of work designing covers for other YA authors like Ellen Hopkins, Scott Westerfeld, and Holly Black. What’s been your favorite cover that you’ve designed so far for YA literature so far?

I don’t really have a favorite because I enjoy the process more than the finished product. I just want other people to enjoy looking at the cover enough that they’ll pick up the book and want to find out more about it.


You’ve also designed the cover for the second book in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, Rage. Reflecting on how Hunger’s cover art came to finalization, how did the design process for Rage fare against its predecessor? Was it easier? More difficult?

I think it was easier to design RAGE. When I get an assignment, I always ask if it’s part of a series because each individual book is part of a bigger piece. Since HUNGER is book one of four in a series, it establishes the look of the books to follow.

I recently read an article on trends in YA cover art. Do cover trends play into your ideas for designs? Also, where do you find the balance in prioritizing the message at the heart of a novel and including marketing at the same time? Or, do you feel cover art’s main focus always revolves around the art?

To me, art is about communication, and the final product is a combination of all the pieces of a puzzle. I don’t want to follow the trends; I hope I can be a part of setting them.

How did you come about your career as a designer?


I would have to say my design career began as 4-year-old kid with my first set of Mr. Sketch Scented Markers.


When I was 10 I got my first computer, an Apple 2E. At this point, I discovered McPaint. My mother told me her prediction, that I would one day create art on this computer. (Naturally, I thought she was crazy)

In high school I spent six weeks at RISD summer arts program. This really changed my life.

I went to Syracuse and majored in Illustration and spent one summer abroad in Italy studying art history. To say this experience was influential is an understatement.

A few years and a few odd jobs after college, I got my first opportunity to design books full time at Houghton Mifflin in the college text book cover division.

After a year there, I got my first job in Children’s book design with Planet Dexter, an imprint of Penguin Putnam.

Unfortunately Planet Dexter was a casualty of the .com bust and was cut from Penguin’s line up. So I was out of job, but that was the best thing to ever happen to me because I got a job at Simon & Schuster in NYC.

I worked at S&S for 10 years and really matured as an artist and a person. I just recently left Simon & Schuster to pursue a career as a freelance artist, and I’m really enjoying all the new opportunities that has come with freelancing. Now I’m illustrating and designing book covers and creating apps for publishing houses. Turns out my mother was right.

But moms are always right, aren’t they? icon_wink-7067047 Thanks for the interview, Sammy.

To see more of his design work, you can visit Sammy’s website, or become a fan of his on Facebook.

what were YA thinkin? — girl meets boy |

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You people are making this way too easy.

girlmeetsboy-6209649When this cover art first popped up in my inbox, my initial reaction was (verbatim): “What. WHAT IS HAPPENING.” This was aside from laughing, of course.

I don’t know about you, but when I think about relaxing in a tree (or falling asleep romantically in my boyfriend’s arms in a tree, for that matter), images like this one do not come to mind.

I also had many other reactions:

  1. That looks incredibly awkward.
  2. When she wakes up (if she doesn’t fall to her death), she’s going to have the world’s biggest mother of a backache.
  3. Can you imagine directing that photo? “Do you feel uncomfortable yet? I need you to feel more uncomfortable. If you’re not uncomfortable then the picture isn’t going to turn out right.”
  4. This cover feels like something Zooey Deschanel would have created à la one of her quirky characters à la one of her quirky movies.

Chronicle Books, you win The Most Awkward Cover Art award, hands down, no competition. And what’s more, you also win The Book I Most Want to Read in January 2012 award because this is what your innards are about:

GIRL MEETS BOY, a collection of “he said/she said” short stories examines the power of perception, enlisting writing duos to tell the same story from two gender opposite points of view.  Differences are clear in each controversial tale, but so are similarities, revealing the historic chasm might just be possible to bridge.

This anthology is not for the faint of heart.  Their hands free, each author — most YA stars in their own right — wrote candid, sometimes shocking accounts of love, longing, stereotypes and the hope for clarity common in the young adult realm.  These stories will have teens talking — about the book and about challenges of their own. (from Jill Corcoran Books)

A cover that makes me feel the need to blink several times in disbelief and yet excited to read the book? I feel like that deserves some kind of award, too.

what were YA thinkin? — teenage rewrite |

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I thought we’d already discussed this whole “no crotches on covers” thing.



Thanks (and no thanks) to Kelly for pointing out this cover. Did you think that crotchety covers were only relegated to female-focused YA artwork? Not so! Covers like the one above for Williams’ Teenage Rewrite show that both genders’ nether-regions are not safe from the crotchtastic cover.

Seriously, you would not believe how many times I’ve had to re-write this post to avoid penis puns. Do you know how difficult that is? I’ve never had to use a thesaurus with such frequency for such a minuscule amount of copy in my entire life.

And, just so I can re-emphasize where I stand:


Wear this badge with pride. (Not on your crotch.)