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Half a century of covers
by Asa Butcher
2008-01-13 10:23:45
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Here at Ovi we love numbers, especially landmarks, and today we have another perfect opportunity to showcase material from our archive. Today marks the 500th cover made by the Ovi Team and there was no chance we would miss this chance to take you back through 499 individual covers to the very first one with those three wooden men used by artists trying to meet a deadline.

Don't worry, I am not about to describe each and every cover in minute detail, but I can give you a statistical overview - don't whoop in delight just yet - and have a bit of fun - now you can whoop! As I painstakingly made today's cover with each of our past covers I noticed a number of recurring themes that inspire both Thanos and I as we decide just what to do with the blank 0000_00_08.psd file on our desktop.

There's a famous saying in Hollywood that warns against working with animals and children, well, just like Disney, here at Ovi we prefer working with the virtual kind that don't make a mess or run about screaming. In the course of 500 covers we have used either an animal or a child on the cover more times than any other subject, yet it is the animals that have appeared the most.

Our cartoon series Showbizz has appeared on the cover, which included its cast of dog, cat, rooster, cow and tortoise, plus we have had three cats, three dogs, two moose, goats, sheep, flying reindeer, dolphins, a lion, crocodiles, a wolf, a tiger, a horse, a shark, an elephant, a skunk, a hedgehog, a cartoon toucan, Matti the Magpie, bacteria, fish, blue tits, a dragon and, Thanos' pet hate, a mouse.

However, on a serious note, the situation of the world's children has been our greatest focus as we continually fight to bring attention to the devastating fact of 30,000 children dying of preventable causes every day. Out of 500 covers perhaps we should have had more than 25 covers highlighting their plight, but we have certainly written more articles than there have been covers.

Returning to the light-hearted nature of the article, I ask is it reasonable that Thanos and I have appeared on eight covers, either together or individually? Yes, one was of me in the sauna, another just showed my boxer shorts for No Pants Day and a third had me kissing my wife under mistletoe, so just be thankful it wasn't Thanos in the sauna, dressed in only his boxers or kissing my wife!

Ovi has been described by some as 'political', although we have no idea why some would think that! When you look at the political figures to have appeared on our cover the argument does gain some strength and it is not surprising to discover that President George W. Bush has the record with eight covers. Hilary Clinton and President Putin have both been on four, Tony Blair and Nicolas Sarkozy have been on three, Gordon Brown on two and, unbelievably, Iran's Clown President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has only been seen once, albeit with a metrosexual haircut.

To look at Thanos and I doesn't conjure images of athleticism, yet we have been dedicated to featuring sport and games on our covers, with chess taking three covers in just 500 moves - cricket, rugby, LEET, baseball, football and golf are among the rest. Movies, music, fashion, the environment and so many more have all influenced their own covers, yet money has managed to creep on to seven different covers, as has Finland and its most famous resident Santa Claus.

Just who and what will appear on the next 500 is unknown, although just who and what will appear on tomorrow's cover is also currently unknown. I do know that it is not only world events that inspire our covers it is also the contributions sent in by our Team, so keep up the inspiring work, guys and gals.

Visit our Covers Gallery, here >>>
See a PDF version (2.2mb) of the front cover, here >>>
Watch a YouTube video of our covers, here >>>

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Emanuel Paparella2008-01-13 14:51:43
To pick up on the idea of the political in literature hinted above, if the political encompasses everything we write and say, then of course all publications, including Ovi, are political. On the other hand, there is such a thing as a publication which is able to remain unbiased toward all points of views and can therefore legitimatly identify itself as a magazine of opinion.
To my mind, that is the root cause for Ovi’s continued success. As long as it remains unbiased it will appeal to many.

There is however a stumbling block and a philosophical problem in any magazine of opinion. It arises the moment the debate subtly shifts from debating X and whether it is true or false to debating who is the best and most competent arbiter of whether X is true or false. Then the debate risks becoming personal because what is now being debated is no longer the truth value of X but one’s personal ability and competence in judging the truth value of X. At that level the evidence is no longer about X but about personal biases in looking at X. Therein lies one of the potential pitfalls of a magazine of opinion. This is something that editors, authors and readers ought to be aware of.

Jeremy Sherman,one of my colleagues at Global Spiral (of the Metanexus Institutue), who like me writes a weekly column for said publication, has posted an intriguing and interesting column on this very subject of opinions that all too easily become bones of contentions and even negative and debasing vituperations in a debate, thus detracting from its conviviality. Any reader interested in reading it should open the following link:


From Metanexus proceed to Global Spiral and then to “columns” to the latest contribution of Jeremy Sherman.

Asa2008-01-14 09:35:23
Errrr, I just realised that my brain wasn't working when choosing the title!

Isn't half a century 50? Hahhahah!

Oh well, nobody else spotted my mistake!

uker2008-01-14 12:12:53
awesome website. I love the non-politician cover.

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