[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/{{Phalanx}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Phalanx_SNES_2996.jpg]] ]]
[[caption-width-right:350:The rootin'-tootin' banjo-pickin' high-flyin' cosmic adventure! [[ShootEmUp Except not.]]]]

->'''Monster in the Darkness:''' Wait-- The scene on the cover didn't happen that way.\\
'''Demon-Roach:''' Welcome to show business, kid.
-->-- TheStinger, ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick: Recap/StartOfDarkness''

Don't judge a book by its cover - no, [[StealthPun literally]]. Nor a video, a comic, or even a record. The cover is an essential part of the marketing plan. As is common in [[AdvertisingTropes marketing]], it can be an entirely inaccurate representation. It's not just the artwork that's misleading, either. The Blurb on the back may be even more disconnected from the story.

Popular characters who appear in little more than a [[TheCameo cameo]] on the inside can be larger than the main character on the cover. A quiet, contemplative issue can be made to seem like an action-packed frag-fest, and vice-versa. The cover can push for an entirely different {{demographic|s}} than the rest of the work. This is often done intentionally so customers will purchase the product assuming that it relates to their interests in [[CopycatCover a visual version]] of FollowTheLeader, as commonly found in TheMockbuster.

FilmPosters and video packaging are particularly likely to mislead if it's an independent film, or a film in a genre that the marketing people assume most people are unlikely to appreciate. For example, an intelligently-written mystery for the whole family may have a cover that implies it's a comedy, or a family film that happens to have a dog in it may emphasize the dog on the cover. See also NeverTrustATrailer.

In non-graphic literature, it is not uncommon for a female character to be portrayed in a {{Stripperiffic}} outfit when they would wear nothing of the sort in the story. Also, virtually any Speculative Fiction book will have either a rocket or an alien of some sort on the cover, and [[InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons dragons are commonly used]] on Fantasy, HighFantasy and SwordAndSorcery books, even if there is no dragon in the story at all. (Creator/FrankFrazetta and Creator/BorisVallejo are particularly noteworthy as artists whose paintings make great book covers, but only occasionally actually relate to the contents of the books.)

This trope also applies to [[{{Music}} album covers]], especially singles, which often get their own album art, for one or two songs.

A related subtrope is the practice of creating the cover ''first'', and writing the story based on that. This was common practice for comic books, especially at DC, during UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks under editor Julius Schwartz, and was responsible for some of the weirdest stories of the time. However, it would sometimes result in a story that went off in a totally different direction and disposed of the cover situation in a panel or two. The website Website/{{Superdickery}} features many strange, silly and inane covers [[SuperDickery of this kind]].

This has occasionally gotten {{lampshade h|anging}}ung on it, as evidenced [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Robin64.jpg here]], [[https://thedailysuperman.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/daily-planet-cover-week-this-scene-probably-doesnt-appear-in-this-issue here]] and [[http://www.thewotch.com/index.php?arcid=31 here]].

Many of these overlap with SexyPackaging and ContemptibleCover, and often feature LadyNotAppearingInThisGame. Compare with NeverTrustATrailer, WolverinePublicity, BaitAndSwitchCredits and SuperDickery, and enjoy [[http://io9.com/5409579/cheesiest-book-covers/ this i09 gallery]].

For cover illustrations that whiten dark-skinned characters, see RaceLift. For in-book illustrations, see UnreliableIllustrator. For magazines that sometimes put a bit of skin on their cover even though the interior is about gaming, sports, or whatever, see FanserviceCover.

InvertedTrope of SpoilerCover, where the cover is so accurate that it gives away important points.

'''Note:''' Covers lie a LOT. It happens all the time, even if only to prevent spoilers. So only put really interesting examples here now, not every cover that tells a little fib.


* CoversAlwaysLie/AnimeAndManga
* CoversAlwaysLie/ComicBooks
* CoversAlwaysLie/AnimatedFilm
* CoversAlwaysLie/LiveActionFilm
* CoversAlwaysLie/{{Literature}}
* CoversAlwaysLie/LiveActionTV
* CoversAlwaysLie/{{Music}}
* CoversAlwaysLie/VideoGames
* CoversAlwaysLie/WesternAnimation


[[folder:Media in General]]
* [[http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/artwork/guess-the-film-plus-tips-on-using-film-posters-in-your-home-094768 Polish and Czech film posters of well known Hollywood films]] tend to be so infamously abstract that they often bear no clear connection at all to the themes and content of the film in question because the designers usually have almost no idea what the films are about. The posters are highly collectible, mostly because they [[TropesAreNotBad tend to be pretty awesome looking]]. [[http://wellmedicated.com/inspiration/50-incredible-film-posters-from-poland/ A few more Polish posters can be seen here]] and [[http://horror.about.com/od/horrorthemelists/ig/Foreign-Horror-Movie-Posters/Alien_polish.htm here]].
* Due to BillingDisplacement or RetroactiveRecognition, well-known actors are often placed prominently on covers for films in which they have only small roles.

[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* The fanfiction [[https://m.fanfiction.net/s/7290687/1/ Pataki Magi Helga Magica]] (a crossover between [[WesternAnimation/HeyArnold Hey! Arnold]] and [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Puella Magi Madoka Magica]]), judging by the title name, many people would expect Helga [[ActionGirl to become an awesome Puella Magi]] [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower who fights for love and justice]]. [[spoiler:Not only she never become an active Puella Magi at all, she eventually make a wish to Kyubey so that [[RetGone she would never exist in that world]] to undo all the bad things that had already happened.]]
* The cover art for a crossover fanfiction [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7981588/1/Wishes-of-a-Different-Sort Wishes Of A Different Sort]] features [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Homura Akemi]] and [[Anime/DragonBallZ Frieza]]. While Homura is the main protagonist of the story and Frieza plays important roles as a threatening villain, [[spoiler:[[TheDreaded Ultimate Kriemhild Gretchen]] is the true BigBad of the story, making Frieza [[EvilerThanThou pale in comparison]]. And guess what, Homura is not the one who seal Gretchen away.]]
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': One chapter is titled "The Death of Asuka Langley Sohryu". No, it does not come to pass.
* The header for ''Fanfic/KnowledgeIsPower'' says "Humor/Romance", but there's not much of either.
* The cover for a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSecretOfNIMH Secret of NIMH]]'' fanfic, ''Secret of the Stone'', depicts Mrs. Brisby wearing her iconic amulet. [[spoiler:Not only does she never use the amulet in the story, she is not even the main character.]]
* The cover art for ''Fanfic/TealovesSteamyAdventure'' was deliberately made to be ''sort of'' accurate, but in a misleading way. For instance, a cave troll features in the story, while the cover includes [[Webcomic/{{Homestuck}} Nepeta]], who is a troll girl who lives in a cave, but otherwise has absolutely nothing to do with the story. Similarly, the cover of the "sequel", ''Fanfic/DiamondAndSilversExcellentAdventure'' contains nothing that actually appears in the story other than the two eponymous protagonists and implications of time travel.
* The fan fiction ''Fanfic/MobileFighterEvangelion'' was inspired by this occurrence: WordOfGod is that the author, when he was a kid, saw a poster of ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' and assumed things [[HotBlooded about]] [[GenkiGirl the]] [[{{Determinator}} Children]] (and the series as a whole) [[DysfunctionJunction that was]] ''[[DarkerAndEdgier way]]'' [[{{Deconstruction}} different from the real thing]]. He then decided to endeavor to make a story ''worthy'' of the poster.
* The promo art for the WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse fanfic ''Fanfic/SelaginellaLepidophylla'' has Rose Quartz hilariously carrying numerous tubs of ice cream and making a "cool" pun. But in context, this scene leads to one of the most heart wrenching scenes of the story so far.
* The cover for the ''Manga/KOn'' Palcomix comic ''On This Day'' has Rio and Mitsu posing very suggestively and looking at the camera. But the sex actually isn't [[TearJerker the]] [[HappilyMarried big]] [[{{WAFF}} thing in]] [[GrowOldWithMe the story.]]

* Things like recipe books and food packaging have plenty of examples of this, featuring pictures of food made by professionals, presented to be as photogenic and appetizing as possible. Some food examples [[http://shopping.yahoo.com/news/photos-from-food-ads-vs--the-real-thing.html here.]]
* TFANA's production of Shakespeare's ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', directed by Julie Taymor, featured [[http://imgur.com/EiHZTNP a poster]] that made it look more like a psychological horror movie than... you know... ''one of the world's most beloved romantic comedies''.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* The VHS release of ''[[Wrestling/{{WCW}} Slamboree 2000]]'' sports a big picture of Wrestling/JeffJarrett and Wrestling/{{D|iamondDallasPage}}DP. Fair enough. Strangely absent is the most important man on the show, Dave Arquette.
* Posters and DVD covers will often feature one of valets (or {{Faux Action Girl}}s) holding a prop that ''symbolically'' has something to do with the theme of the show, but is otherwise irrelevant; the woman in question is often [[BillingDisplacement barely in the show, if at all]]. Even if a male wrestler's image is used, he might be shown wearing a silly themed costume (suggesting that the show will be laugh-a-minute) or depicted with inappropriate iconography. Famously, the poster for ''No Mercy'' in October 2007 showed Wrestling/RandyOrton holding a white dove on the cover, implying that he was about to [[HeelFaceTurn turn face]]. (He didn't.) If he ''had'' turned {{face}}, that would have been the creepiest foreshadowing ever. Yeah, he was holding a dove, but his ''face!''

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The box for ''Space Crusade'' (''[=HeroQuest=]'' set in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' universe) depicts an elderly squad commander in entirely white armor with a gold emblem on his left shoulder plate. Not only does this character not exist in the game, the color scheme and emblem are not used by any chapter of the Legions Astartes.
** To be fair, he could be a Star Phantom (though they didn't exist in fluff until many years later), or a Marines Errant apothecary.
* The old boxed sets for the Basic version of the Dungeons & Dragons game invariably showed a party of heroes engaged in glorious battle with a dragon of some description. The Basic D&D rules only provided information for advancement up to 3rd level, meaning that if your Basic-level adventurer met up with a dragon of any sort, the resulting CurbStompBattle would wipe you out within a round or two.
* Rhe original cover of TabletopGame/{{Rifts}} depicts a Splugorth Slaver and the Altara Warrior Women. The Splugorth only got a brief mention from Erin Tarn and the Slaver+women didn't get stats published until sourcebook 1 / world book 2.
** CB2 Pantheons shows a technological Thor who is never mentioned in the book.
** DB2 Phase World shows a giant monster attacking Centre. The creature was never mentioned nor statted.
** WB10 Juicer Uprising makes it seem like there is a way to shoot a hole through helmets without destroying them.
** WB20 Canada shows the Tundra Rangers being part of the Coalition States, tthe book doesn't describe them working together.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]

* The title of ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors'' is a big lie: [[spoiler:there are 11 relevant characters in the game and three doors with a 9, making it 11 doors]].
* {{Inverted|Trope}} with the cover of ''VisualNovel/VirtuesLastReward'', which has Sigma with grey-ish hair and a shining right eye instead of black hair and a normal-looking eye. [[spoiler:This foreshadows the fact that you're playing as his 67-year-old self, a major reveal of the plot.]]


* ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'''s book covers ([[http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1593074441/ref=sib_dp_pop_fc?ie=UTF8&p=S001 1]], [[http://web.archive.org/web/20060526105834/http://www.penny-arcade.com/docs/gabe/pabook2.jpg 2]], [[http://images.darkhorse.com/covers/400/13/13979.jpg 3]]) all feature the two main characters, but that's about it. On the other hand, this may as good a way as any to represent [[GagSeries the comic]].
* Banner ads for ''Webcomic/MenageA3'' do a thorough job of explaining that the comic features a lot of sex based jokes. Most of these ads are either LesYay, or [[MsFanservice DiDi's "[=DDs=]"]]. There is no indication that most of the comic is actually HoYay.
* ''Webcomic/DomainTnemrot'''s [[http://www.tnemrot.com/?p=57 chapter two cover]] is much LighterAndSofter than the contents.
* The second ''Webcomic/ElectricWonderland'' comic has a cover page with Aerynn exclaiming, "[[Film/TheBigCountry I said I would shoot, but you didn't believe me!]] [[WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow Why didn't you believe me??]]" She doesn't actually shoot anyone in that comic.
* ''Fanfic/HowIBecameYours'' not only has scenes that don't happen on the cover, but it also has several fabricated positive reviews.
* Being an InteractiveComic, there's no way that the author of ''Webcomic/AwfulHospital'' would be able to perfectly predict the direction the story would take from the get-go. Regardless, the events taking place on the [[http://www.bogleech.com/awfulhospital/poster.png cover page]] are vastly different from the actual story, the most notable difference being the presence of a character who wouldn't be met until over '''600 pages''' in.
* ''Webcomic/BoundAdventures'' has a story where Princess Irina is captured by pirates. In the actual story she's just on the ship as it carries her to an enemy castle. The cover pages make it look as though Irina is forced to walk the plank, and then gobbled up by a shark.
* Banner ads for ''Webcomic/SandraAndWoo'' often display Zoey Irwin and reference that she's gay, suggesting the comic has LGBTQ themes. However, Zoey is a minor character who only shows up in a handful of strips, and is the only gay character in the comic.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Lampshaded during [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ470zHEhDI this review]] for '' VideoGame/MasterOfMagic'' one of the reviews states "I knew it was a total flop, one could tell that just by looking at the box". Before the end of the video that same reviewer falls in love with the game.
* The autographed cast picture where everyone was in their costumes was the first spoiler for ''WebVideo/ToBoldlyFlee'', and taking the cue from ''WebVideo/{{Kickassia}}'' and ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights'', fans wondered how Doug was going to emote at all with a giant Film/JudgeDredd helmet covering half his face. In reality, he was only in the Dredd costume for ten minutes, so he was free to PuppyDogEyes[=/=]ManlyTears away the rest of the time.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick's "Top 10 'Hottest' Animated Guys" bumper art shows her surrounded by WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}, [[{{Disney/Hercules}} Hades]], [[Franchise/XMen Nightcrawler]] and [[Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast the Beast]], all dressed as ChippendalesDancers. While those are all characters ''she'' admits to liking, the actual list was constructed from a poll of her female viewers, and all but one of those characters ([[spoiler:the Beast]]) failed to place.
* Website/YouTube allows you to upload a photo of just about whatever you want if you decide not to use a still from the video for its thumbnail. This has extremely predictable results.
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'' has a very deliberate example - the pre-intro scene of episode 31 suggests that the series WILL be adapting the Garlic Jr arc, a much maligned filler arc; the intro for the episode even uses scenes from said arc. [[spoiler: The majority of said episode focuses on Krillin and his girlfriend. Garlic Jr literally lasts less than a minute before being assimilated by Mr Popo]].


[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'', mirroring the earlier ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', was spun off in [[ComicBookAdaptation its own comic book series]]. While the covers of both titles rarely showed scenes or concepts from the stories inside, the first Pinky and the Brain cover was notable for following the guidelines at the top of this page explicitly, with the Brain pronouncing 'This is the way to make it big in the comic business!'. The cover featured Pinky, the Brain, superheroine costumes, and a box of Kleenex. And it followed the one-inch-from-centre rule.
* Parodied in an issue of ''ComicBook/{{Excalibur}}'' where Franchise/SpiderMan guest-starred. The cover prominently displays our web-headed hero, who brags about how he's taking over this comic book, even though he already has four series of his own. None of the members of Excalibur themselves are depicted except for Captain Britain, who is shoved into the background.
** Another Excalibur issue had an incredibly ''boring'' cover that certainly didn't happen inside the comic, with a morose-looking little man sweeping the floor and telling us that the usual comic-book cover stuff - muscular heroes fighting dastardly villains, and girls with big tits - is actually ''inside'' the comic book, and we should stop bothering ''him''.
* Played with in an early issue of ''Comicbook/{{Thunderbolts}}'', which guest starred Archangel of the X-Men and featured him prominently on the cover with the headline: "Will Archangel join the Thunderbolts?" And then, at the bottom and in only slightly smaller text: "Nah, he's only a guest star... but doesn't he look cool on this cover?"
* In a Franchise/{{Superman}} comic where the cover says Lobo will make a one page cameo, Lobo [[MediumAwareness responds by swearing at the fact he only gets one page]].
* As seen on the page image for WolverinePublicity, there existed an alternate cover for an Literature/AnitaBlake comic Marvel was putting out at the time featuring Wolverine and Anita, with a small caption reading "Wolverine does not actually appear in this issue".
* Discussed and parodied in the GoldenAge ''Magazine/{{Mad}}'' feature "Movie... Ads!" A gritty WarIsHell picture devoid of female characters except for a scene where "for two seconds, a girl jumps out and kisses a soldier" is advertised as a torrid love story, with [[LadyNotAppearingInThisGame the woman's face and ballooning bust plastered all over the advertisement]]. An ad for an adventure movie depicts scenes taking place in different parts of the world edited together, with quotes from critics' negative reviews [[QuoteMine just as misleadingly spliced]].
* This was fairly common in the late-nineties-early-2000s, making fun of earlier covers that played it straight. For example an issue of ''[[Franchise/TheFlash Impulse]]'' with a villain beating up Max Mercury while Bart [[PassThePopcorn ate popcorn]] declared "In This Issue ... absolutely ''nothing'' like this happens!"
** On a cover of ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]]'':
--> '''Flash''': "We can't possibly escape this!"
--> '''Robin''': "Yeah. Good thing nothing like this happens in the comic."
* One of the most common fake-out covers is the image of all the heroes lying dead in a pile while the issue's villains stand triumphant. A Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica issue spoofs this by having one of the villains say to the reader, "We don't ''really'' beat them...but it's a heck of a cover, isn't it?"
* This is played for laughs on the cover of the ''Impossible Man'' one-shot comic book, where the title character is sunning himself on a beach surrounded by practically every major Marvel hero buried up to their necks in the sand, with Impy making a threat to Doctor Doom (who's behind him) that implies he beat them up and did that because they were blocking his sun. There's nothing like this inside he comic, but given the humor-themed stories that are, it was clearly meant as a joke.
* ''Comicbook/SheHulk'' had some fun with this. One particular issue had Punisher, Wolverine, and Spider-Man featured prominently on the cover, while She-Hulk tells the readers that they only appear ''on'' the book, not ''in'' it.
* Lampshaded with the cover to Star Brand #12. The cover has the X-Men, but the bottom left-hand corner has a caption saying ''The X-Men in the New Universe? Not bloody likely!''
* Comicbook/{{Cerebus|TheAardvark}} did a parody of this phenomenon by introducing a character named Wolveroach, an obvious spoof of Wolverine. Wolveroach showed up on three consecutive covers of Cerebus, in various badass action poses...while inside the comic itself, he spent all three issues in a coma. After he woke up, he stopped appearing on the covers.

* The cover image for ''Fanfic/TealovesSteamyAdventure'' was deliberately made to be technically accurate (if you tilt your head and squint) but completely misleading. For example, there's a cave troll in the story. The cover pic features Nepeta from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', who is also a troll and lives in a cave, but is otherwise nothing like the cave troll from the story. The picture is full of nonsense along those lines.

* A spoof of this trope in ''[[Film/BillAndTed Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey]]'' when the title characters find themselves in Hell used to provide the page quote.
-->'''Ted "Theodore" Logan''': This isn't what I expected this place to look like at all.
-->'''Bill S. Preston Esquire''': We were totally lied to by our album covers, man.
* The ''Film/ScaryMovie'' series did it twice: [[http://www.impawards.com/2000/scary_movie.html the poster for the first movie]] makes it appear as though Creator/ShannonElizabeth is the star (not [[SirNotAppearingInThisTrailer Anna Faris]] - the DVD cover [[http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5123WET5P4L._SS500_.jpg adds her]] for justice). [[http://impawards.com/2006/scary_movie_four_ver4.html The fourth]] has Film/KingKong, who doesn't appear in the movie (a spoof).
* The cover of the similar horror spoof ''Film/ShriekIfYouKnowWhatIDidLastFridayTheThirteenth'' intentionally makes it seem like Tiffanni Thiesen plays the main character and the killer. She isn't.
* ''Film/NationalLampoonsVacation'' has a cover that parodies ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982'', with the family patriarch presented as a Creator/FrankFrazetta beefcake who is [[StabTheSky stabbing the sky]] with a tennis racket and has [[LegCling leg clinging bimbos]].

* Terry Pratchett's ''[[Literature/JohnnyMaxwellTrilogy Only You Can Save Mankind]]'' parodies this wonderfully with the advertising material for the eponymous game: "Actual games shots taken from a version you haven't bought".
* Parodied in ''Literature/TheAreasOfMyExpertise'', a book of fake trivia:.
-->If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that it was reported as "UNSOLD AND DESTROYED" to the Publisher and is stolen property. Also, you should be aware that the cover was awesome. It featured a painting of a metallic silver dragon flying up either to rescue or eat a beautiful, nearly nude sword maiden as she falls off a cliff. All of this is overseen by the bitter glare of the ever-uncaring Triple Suns. Plus, a very flattering portrait of the Author appeared within the Main Sun.
** For the record, the book's real cover looks nothing like this. Although the dragon cover is printed on the inside of the cover of the paperback edition.
* There's a FilkSong that parodies the phenomenon: "There's a bimbo on the cover of my book".
-->She is blonde and she is sexy\\
She is nowhere in the text, she\\
Is the bimbo on the cover of the book
* Parodied in ''Literature/BimbosOfTheDeathSun''. Engineering professor Jay Omega once wrote a novel about sunspots wrecking electronics and reducing the intelligence of women worldwide; the novel is well-written [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness Hard Sci-Fi]] and not the least bit misogynistic. Unfortunately, the third-rate publishing house saddles it with a Creator/FrankFrazetta-style ContemptibleCover, featuring a FurBikini-clad barbarian woman [[LegCling clinging to the leg]] of a muscle-bound scientist with a clipboard and computer, as well as the title ''Bimbos of the Death Sun''. As a result, people assume both book and author are much more lurid than they really are, and Jay does his best to make sure as few people as possible know he wrote it.
** For extra recursion points, the ''actual'' ''Literature/BimbosOfTheDeathSun'' was given a [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bimbos_of_the_death_sun_1888.jpg comparable cover;]] the novel itself is a fairly tame (if funny) murder-mystery set at a sci-fi convention.
* In ''Literature/DiaryOfAWimpyKidDogDays'', Greg's mom puts the kibosh on his book club selection because she doesn't like the scantily clad warrior woman on the cover. Greg notes that there are no women in the book's entire series and wonders if the cover artist even read the book.
* The first edition of ''Literature/BoredOfTheRings'' included a rather erotic "excerpt" from the book as part of the front material. Naturally, nothing even remotely resembling the excerpt can be found in the actual text.
* Alan Coren packaged a collection of humorous short stories and essays into a book titled ''Golfing for Cats'', with a huge Nazi swastika on the cover. The reasoning, as stated in the foreword, is that people are interested in golf, cats, and the Third Reich, so putting them all together would be superb marketing.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Ernie Kovacs parodied this trope with a series of "more sex and violence" book covers, showing ''Little Women'' as ladies of ill repute, ''Peter Rabbit'' as a gangster, and a Webster's unabridged dictionary with a picture of a silhouette of a lady behind a window blind, with blurbs all over the cover such as "Unexpurgated!", "Four Letter Words!", and "Nothing Left Out!".
* In ''Series/AsTimeGoesBy'', Lionel's extremely dull autobiography about planting coffee in Kenya is given a "pick-me-up-and-buy-me" cover (as his publisher Alastair puts it). What this translates to is a buxom blonde in half-open safari gear clinging to Lionel's legs while he holds a rifle against a jungle background, which infuriates Lionel and amuses Jean greatly.

* Music/TheMelvins, a [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly progressive psychedelic grunge/punk/metal]] band, use this as a RunningGag.
** This was inspired by the Music/ButtholeSurfers's ''Locust Abortion Technician''. An album that looks like [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/46/ButtholeSurfersLocustAbortionTechnician.jpg this]] and sounds like [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3E_2A1fEoM this]].
* The cover (and title) of Throbbing Gristle's ''[[http://brainwashed.com/common/images/covers/ir0008.jpg 20 Jazz Funk Greats]]'' says it all.
* ''Music/TroutMaskReplica'' by Music/CaptainBeefheart: Beefheart wears a carp's head on the album cover, not a trout's one.
* ''Music/WereOnlyInItForTheMoney'' by Music/FrankZappa: From judging the album cover and the art work within you might expect this album to be an entire musical and lyrical parody of Music/TheBeatles' ''Music/SgtPeppersLonelyHeartsClubBand'', but it's not. The only real similarity is that "The Chrome Plated Megaphone Of Destiny", just like "A Day In The Life", are both the closing track, both closing on one note slowly fading out at the end.
* ''[[Music/{{Squeeze1973}} Squeeze]]'' is announced as a Music/VelvetUnderground album on the cover, but is actually more a solo album by band member Doug Yule. Today it has been written out of canon and is unavailable since the 1980s.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Capcom designed [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/MegaMan9BoxArt.jpg the box art]] for the {{Retraux}} ''VideoGame/MegaMan9'' in the style of the original covers. [[http://www.mobygames.com/game/mega-man-10/cover-art/gameCoverId,181282/ The trend continued]] with ''VideoGame/MegaMan10''.
** The box art was mocked even before that in ''VideoGame/MegaManZX Advent'', where it was a part of side quest where a boy wanted cool pictures of heroes: upon seeing it, he immediately dismisses it as lame and lets you keep it. Upon looking it in your menu, the game states that "this "legendary hero" looks more like some sort of a colorful coal miner".
* The title screen for the ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' mod [[http://forum.zdoom.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=21681&sid=fea63f4436bf8dcf447bcdca8ad9356d "Psychic"]] is a deliberately-bad drawing of a man in a red coat and hat lifting up a cooked chicken with psychic powers, with said psychic powers shown as [[UnsoundEffect the word "BRITAIN" pasted all over]]. The actual mod is very well-done, playing like a cross between ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' and ''VideoGame/SystemShock''.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** The prequel book ''Recap/StartOfDarkness'' ends with the Monster in the Darkness [[LampshadeHanging complaining that the picture on the front of the book didn't actually happen like that]]. Ironically it's not all that inaccurate, though; it just amalgamates different parts of the story into one scene for a general overview.
** In ''The Order of the Stick'' board game, one of the cards is [[CoverDrop "Dragon from the front of the box."]]
* ''Webcomic/TheWotch'' lampshades the practice in [[http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2006-11-28 this cover]].
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'':
** [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/d/20040912.html One strip]] refers to the trope, although the cover of the book it'll be in ([[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/archive.html #6]]) remains to be seen.
** Referencing that strip, the artist ''intentionally'' invokes this trope for the actual cover for that book. It features numerous characters who never met in-story, all crammed together, [[GratuitousNinja and a ninja]], watching while Kevyn does something science-y.
* [[http://www.collectedcurios.com/sequentialart.php?s=557 This]] ''Webcomic/SequentialArt'' strip.
* Deliberately used by Justin Pierce for the last published chapter of ''Killroy And Tina''. The chapter is about Brandon gaining a magic glove that grants him SuperSpeed, but eventually having to relinquish it. [[http://www.graphicsmash.com/comics/killroyandtina.php?view=archive&chapter=13177&mpe=0 The cover image]] featured Brandon with gorilla arms, panicking over the fact that prom was scheduled to start in an hour. Pierce said that he went with a completely non-indicative [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks Silver Age]]-homage because his original cover idea gave away ''too much'' of the plot.
* Sven's book in ''Will Write for Chocolate'' is about [[http://inkygirl.com/wwfc/2006/6/14/eva-sympathizes.html an all-male exploratory mission in outer space]], but the book cover features [[http://inkygirl.com/wwfc/2006/7/12/svens-book-signing.html a slinky blond in a leopard-skin bikini]].
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/TheNoob''. The squid people are the prominent feature of the game's expansion, but the PointyHairedBoss demanded it be replaced with a pair of boobs. 3D boobs.
-->''[[HarmfulToMinors "Billy, have you decided what game you want?"]]''
* ''Webcomic/NanasEverydayLife'' has every single strip start with a panel in which [[HopeSpot Nana is cheerfully waving at the readers with a blue sky and a nice little suburb-ish house in the background]]. Nana's Everyday Life is the most horrific BlackComedy[=/=]BlackComedyRape webcomic that can be found. Except, it eventually {{deconstruct|edTrope}}s BlackComedy as a whole and [[TearJerker stops pretending to be funny]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'': In one episode, Candace immediately dismisses books based on their covers; when Linda, her mom, says not to judge a book by its cover, Candace argues that books have covers to capture people's interest, and then asks why she picked these books. Linda begrudgingly admits that it was because they looked interesting, and leaves.
* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'': In the episode "Death Punchies", Mordecai and Rigby are playing a video game called Dig Champs and say that the graphics in the game look just like the cover illustration.