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Cover Drop

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...What? It was the Silver Age.

A scene that gives meaning to the image depicted with the title of something, such as the cover art of a book, or the title screen or main menu of a video game. Basically, the graphical version of Title Drop.

Some title screens or covers simply have no alternate meanings to interpret, such as a splash screen or a portrait of the main character. Not this one. This one shows something mind screwy and/or nightmarish that has no discernible meaning to the premise of the series. Or perhaps it depicts something like a weird character or object we haven't seen yet, or a scene that's highly unlikely to happen.

Of course, each time we pick up the book or boot up the game, we see these images, and it becomes burned into our subconscious so much so that we're constantly waiting for it to actually happen and wondering what it means.

...and then comes the Cover Drop, and suddenly it all makes sense. We finally get to see and understand the (usually) profound meaning of the title screen.

This must be executed exactly like a Title Drop. Meaning:

  • The cover art is not readily understandable. It has to be more than just a cast picture or a collage, unless it depicts something unusual.
  • The meaning or identity of the cover art is suddenly made clear in a moment of revelation.

In comics, this was very commonly done (and still pops up) when Superdickery appeared to be afoot, with the cover showing our hero doing something unusually wrong, and something in the story explained it.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chainsaw Man:
    • The cover of volume 9 includes Aki as a child holding a snowball, like in his earlier flashback to his family's death. It's what Aki see in his Dying Dream.
    • Volume 10 has Makima standing in a door, pointing a Finger Gun at the reader. This reflects the POV of Power as Makima kills her.
    • Volume 11 shows Denji wearing his uniform's suit, instead of just the dress shirt, something he puts on in-series for the first time to blend in while Playing Possum in a pile of dead agents.
    • Volume 13 has Yuko in front of an upside-down background, foretelling her last scene in the volume where her decapitated body is hoisted up by the leg.
  • The very last scene of The Stinger of Symphogear XV shows Hibiki and Miku holding hands while watching the night sky. It was also the main poster of that season.

    Comic Books 
  • The cover of Watchmen displays a close up of an image which repeats throughout the story, the Comedian's bloodstained smiley, although it is not readily apparent that this is what is being shown until it appears in the novel.
    • In fact, every cover of the original comics (seen as the chapter screens in the graphic novel) are a close-up of an object featured in the first panel of each respective chapter.
    • The cover of The Multiversity: Pax Americana does the same trick with a burning flag with a peace symbol on it, for the Peacemaker.
  • Subverted in the Blake and Mortimer story "The Necklace Affair", which shows Olrik admiring the necklace while holding it up with both hands. The scene happens later with the exact same pose and facial expression, but with a dishonest jeweler instead of Olrik.

  • The green apple on the disc for Stranger Than Fiction. The ending to Eiffel's story is inspired by one.
  • The poster art for Jeepers Creepers is taken from the last shot in the movie, when the Creeper peers through a hole in Darry's head
  • The poster for Jeepers Creepers 2 has a the imprint of a face on something membranous; it shows up in the film when the Creeper's wing wraps around a guy and decapitates him.
  • The film adaptation of Twilight (2005) has a scene in which Edward catches an apple in both hands, mirroring the novel's cover.
  • As weird as this poster for a Brazilian film is, it actually happens (It's a Long Story, but involves the protagonist going back in time to his prom, which is a costume party, dressed as an astronaut).
  • The VHS cover for The Quiet Earth is a shot from the very end of the movie.
  • Quarantine (2008) has on its poster the very last scene of the movie.
  • Some DVD copies of Requiem for a Dream have a picture of TV color bars on the disc. They're only onscreen before the beginning of "Winter."
  • The Carry On film posters sort of did this. Occasionally the illustrator of the poster would draw a tiny picture of a brief scene that appears in the movie, as well as a photoshopped (or, 1960s' photoshop) of an actor's face from one of the film's scenes, or just a full photograph. For example, the poster for Carry On Jack has the images of the actors' heads from some of the scenes and a drawing at the bottom of someone getting whipped against a wall, much like Bernard Cribbins' character in the film.
  • The earliest teaser posters for Spectre feature cracks in glass which form the octopus logo for Spectre. It pops up in the movie itself when James Bond shoots at thick glass separating him from Blofeld.
  • The poster for The Equalizer features Robert McCall, played by Denzel Washington, armed with a nail gun and standing in the middle of rain. This happens in the climax of the movie, when McCall finishes off Teddy with a nail gun.
  • The poster for The Devil Inside depicts a spooky-looking nun with milky white eyes. She appears for two seconds and has no overall significance except a.) looking creepy and b.) providing a creepy-looking movie poster.
  • In Jurassic World Dominion, right before the final battle with the Giganotosaurus, Rexy ends up dropping the cover of not just the movie, but the entire Jurassic Park franchise itself, when she sticks her head through a circle.

  • The Inheritance Cycle novel Eldest has a red dragon on the cover. Those who were eager to see it found that it didn't appear until the third-to-last chapter in the book, accompanied by some crazy twists and cliffhangers (some a little too crazy...).
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby has a cover image featuring a disembodied woman's face floating above an urban skyline, created by Francis Cugat. It was completed before the novel was, and Fitzgerald liked it so much that he wrote it into the novel, referring to the face of the character Daisy Buchanan.
  • The novel Manhattan Transfer shows the titular city encased in a dome and being lifted into the sky. Turns out this quite literally happens around chapter two.
  • The covers of all of Lisanne Norman's Sholan Alliance novels are based on a scene from the book.
  • Known Space:
    • The cover of Man-Kzin Wars III is very nicely based on a scene from one of the stories inside.
    • The cover of Inconstant Star is based almost exactly on the opening scene of the book.
  • A notable aversion: Douglas Adams was going to put "a Brockian Ultra-Walrus with an embarrassing past" in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, pretty much purely because the cover had already been comissioned and it had a walrus on it, but he couldn't get it to work.
  • Each of the covers for The Wheel of Time series depicts a specific scene from the book. But early covers went so amiss with the details that they were barely recognisable.
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles: From Fire Star onwards, a dragon matching the cover art is described somewhere in each book.
  • Most of the covers in the Belgariad and Mallorean connect to a scene from the book they're on. King of the Murgos, for example, shows Polgara talking to a giant snake - that snake is Salmarissa, the queen of the Nyissians.
  • Isaac Asimov:
  • Most Animorphs books show the protagonist morphing into an animal, and rarely repeat one from another cover. #45 shows Marco changing into an ant, even though it's only one morph out of several that he uses to reveal his power to his father and he doesn't even complete it before demorphing. Given that Marco hates morphing into an ant, this seems to have been written in just because he doesn't do any new or interesting morphs to put on the cover instead.
    • #44 creates a contrived story where Cassie accidentally winds up in Australia. As the review blog Cinnamon Bunzuh! put it, "Let's talk about the cover, since the only reason this book was written was so [artist David] Mattingly could draw a kangaroo."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The opening of The X-Files shows Mulder and Scully entering an apartment frame-by-frame. This scene shows up in the episode "Squeeze".

  • The lyric "return to sender" from Annie's "Anthonio" appears as a stamp on the limited edition single cover.
  • The cover art from Aurora's All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend is described in the post-chorus of the song "Home": "Wrapped inside a cocoon made of flesh and bones".
  • Beastie Boys' "Body Movin" drops the line "packed like sardines in the tin", referencing the album art of Hello Nasty which shows the band packed inside a sardine tin.
  • The full cover for Dwellings by Cormorant is really awesome. What's just as cool is that just about each piece of it is in reference to at least one song (the wire-walker for "Funambulist", the giants creating humanity from "The First Man", the Tower of Babel itself for "Confusion of Tongues", to name but a few).
  • The first verse of "Oceania" by The Birthday Massacre describes the cover of its album, Superstition.
    From the ocean, we were washed up on the other shore.
    We didn't know where we'd been, or who we were before.
    We were two brothers and a sister with three poisoned hearts,
    We walked so close together, but our souls were always far apart.
  • The title track of Funkadelic's Maggot Brain: "For I knew I had to rise above it all, or drown in my own shit."
  • The Ten Thousand Fists album by Disturbed with the song of the same name. "You will remember the night you were struck by / the sight of / Ten Thousand Fists in the air!". The image also depicts a scene from the music video for the band's cover of "Land of Confusion" (originally by Genesis), from the same album.
  • The album cover of Genesis' Selling England by the Pound consisted of art of a man resting on a park bench with a lawnmower at his side, with a group of people appearing to gossip in the background. In the second track "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)":
    When the sun beats down, and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk.
    Me? I'm just a lawn mower. You can tell me by the way I walk.
  • The cover for A Great Big World's Is There Anybody Out There? comes from a line in the song "Rockstar": "There's a girl in the tree top looking at the stars, waiting for a touchdown comin' in from Mars, thinkin', 'Is there anybody out there?'"
  • Green Day's American Idiot, "She's A Rebel": "She's a symbol of resistance, and she's holding on my heart like a hand grenade".
  • Only applicable to the original cover, but the opening track to Modest Mouse's The Moon & Antarctica features the line "When you get to the promised land, you're gonna shake that eye's hand". The cover shows two people in the clouds, shaking hands.
  • Nightwish's ''Imaginaerum album: The song "Last Ride of the Day" contains the lines, "Scent of fresh-mown grass in the morning sun/Open theme park gates waiting for."
  • The cover art of Pink Floyd's 1987 record, A Momentary Lapse of Reason, comes from the line "a vision of an empty bed" from the song "Yet Another Movie".
  • Project 86's music video for "Spy Hunter" involves the lead singer getting shot with a cannon, leaving him with a gaping (yet surprisingly bloodless) hole all the way through his torso. At the very end, he grabs a knife and holds it behind his back, so it's still visible through his torso hole—recreating the pose from the Songs to Burn Your Bridges By album cover art.

    Music Video 
  • Much of Phil Collins' video for "In The Air Tonight" is a tight close-up of his face, like the cover of his first solo album, Face Value.
  • Green Day's music video for "21 Guns" builds up to the kiss that is on the album cover of 21st Century Breakdown.
  • The cover image of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream appears in the video to "California Gurls".
  • The video for Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" shows the flying curved man from the Continued Silence EP cover art.
  • Dire Straits:
    • Near the end of the video for "So Far Away", there is a partial dissolve to a shot of a dobro in the sky like the one featured on the cover of Brothers in Arms.
    • The alternate video for "Tunnel Of Love" shows copies of their first three records floating in the canal.
  • The title track of The Doors' Strange Days record begins the video with one, and focuses on three of the circus performers on the cover (the dwarf, the juggler and the acrobat) as they explore New York.
  • Kiss' video for "Sure Know Something" features the band members arranged as they are on the cover of the Dynasty album.
    • It could also be argued that the individual shots of the band members right before it are Cover Drops to their respective 1978 solo albums.
  • In the video for "After The Fire", Roger Daltrey lights a match at the end of the first chorus, echoing the cover of his solo album, Under A Raging Moon.
  • The cover image of Sheryl Crow's Wildflower is shown at the climax of the "Good is Good" video.
  • The cover art for Queen's album Innuendo makes a brief appearance near the beginning of the video for the track of the same name, fully animated and all; the remainder of the video takes place in a bizarre theater with imagery more than likely inspired by the cover art as well. Interesting, considering that the image itself was merely a colourized Grandville illustration, "Juggler Of Universes" to be specific.
    • The opening, closing and "opera section" (I see a little silhouette of a man, now ...) of "Bohemian Rhapsody" have the group arranged in the same pose as the cover of the album, Queen II, even though the song is from A Night At The Opera.
  • ZZ Top's videos from the Eliminator album have the car from the front cover appearing prominently.
    • The videos from the follow-up record, Afterburner, feature "the Eliminator car as a spaceship" from the album cover, with the video for "Sleeping Bag" showing the transformation.
  • Donald Fagen's video for "New Frontier" has the cover of the album The Nightfly on the wall of the bomb shelter where the video takes place.
  • In the Scorpions video for "No One Like You", guitarist Rudolf Schenker appears as "the man with forks in his eyes" from the cover of the album, Blackout.
  • The "bee girl" from the cover of Blind Melon's Self-Titled Album plays an important role in the music video for "No Rain".
  • The dummy on the cover of The Bats' album, Daddy's Highway, is seen in the "Block of Wood" music video.
  • The music video for Fatboy Slim's Right Here Right Now goes through the evolution of man, ending on an early human putting on some clothes and turning into the fat guy on the cover of You've Come A Long, Baby.
  • "Body Movin'" by the Beastie Boys goes "MCA, where have you been, Packed like sardines in the tin".
  • The cover of Party Rock by LMFAO is a freeze-frame of a scene from the "I'm in Miami Trick" music video.
  • Nirvana
    • A swimming baby chasing a dollar bill on a fishhook, similar to the picture on the cover of Nevermind, shows up in the video for "Come as You Are".
    • The music video for "Heart Shaped Box" features a woman dressed as the anatomical statue angel seen on the cover of In Utero.
  • The first official Youtube teaser for Muse's ninth studio album Will Of The People doubles as both the album cover reveal and a spoiler for the Title Track's music video. Both feature massive demolished statues of the band's faces in the desert, surrounded by mobs of masked hooded people (an image which recurs throughout this era's visuals).

    Tabletop Games 

  • It wasn't until after the poster art for 1776 was created that "The Egg" was written and added to the show.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 2. The game's title screen depicts a swirling red vortex surrounded by what appears to be scattered debris. Near the end of the game, it's revealed that this is the galactic core, only accessible through the Omega-4 relay.
  • The arcade game Monster Eye shows the eye of some gigantic reptilian monster peering through the "O" in Monster from the title logo, and is even depicted on the back of the arcade machines. In the game it's lifted from the battle against it's Final Boss, a massive Not Zilla who peers an eye into a ruined building you're hiding in at one point. And yes, you'll need to shoot it's eye.
  • Spore. The main menu screen depicts a galaxy from which you can select planets to play on, giving it the appearance of just a cool-looking file select screen. However, when you get to the space stage, you will find that the galaxy is very real; you've been playing in it the entire time, and it really is that big!
    • Which file you select actually changes what planet you start on.
  • Metroid Prime. The title screen depicts something that looks like some kind of cancerous, tentacle-sprouting growth floating in a bloodstream. Then, at the very end of the game, you find out that it's the inside of the final boss's brain.
  • And again with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. The Main Menu screen depicts something like a freaky-looking microscopic organism floating in blue plasma. On the final level of the game, you find out that it's the baby form of a Leviathan, which are the huge meteor-like creatures which have been crashing into planets and infecting them with Phazon for the past three games. Also, the shiny blue planet on the title screen is Phaaze, a living planet that is the source of all Phazon, which is also the final level.
  • The title screen of Metal Gear Solid 4 depicted the beginning of the final end-of-game cutscene. Snake stands in front of Big Boss's grave, then he puts a gun in his mouth, ready to kill himself in order to eradicate the degraded and soon-to-become-a-global-epidemic FOXDIE virus inside him.
  • Final Fantasy does this a lot:
    • Final Fantasy VI's logo shows a figure riding Magitek Armor, shown during the opening scene to be the female protagonist. The logo is also red and when the game begins descends among thunderclouds and rises up in flames. That should be your first clue the game's first half does not end well.
    • Final Fantasy VII's logo show Meteor streaming down to hit the planet with the Black Materia in its wake.
    • Final Fantasy VIII shows Squall and Rinoa embracing which occurs once Squall rescues Rinoa from imprisonment late in the game. The broad brush strokes also slightly resemble wings, Rinoa's thematic icon and a reference to her Sorceress powers.
    • Final Fantasy IX has a glowing crystal in its logo which appears in the final dungeon as the source of all life in the world.
    • Final Fantasy X's logo shows Yuna performing the Sending, a ritual seen throughout the game. The title screen also shows the party camping in the ruins of Zanarkand, due to the first 2/3s of the game or so being told in a How We Got Here fashion.
    • Final Fantasy XI's is a bit nebulous, but a good interpretation is that it depicts a full alliance in combat, which many long-time players will tell you is a definite Moment of Awesome.
    • Final Fantasy XII's logo shows Gabranth with his head thrown back and his swords held out to the side. Though the scene doesn't appear in-game exactly, Dissidia Final Fantasy has Gabranth assuming the pose at the end of his EX Burst as a Mythology Gag.
      • A similar thing occurred with Final Fantasy II. The original Nintendo logo had Firion holding his Blood Sword in front of his face. This never appeared in the game, but during his final confrontation against the Emperor in Dissidia, he assumes this exact same stance.
    • Final Fantasy XIII's logo shows the ending, a destroyed Cocoon suspended in free-fall stopped by pillars of crystal consisting of Vanille, Fang and Ragnarok. It shows up even earlier, too, in the form of the pendant Snow gives Serah.
    • Final Fantasy XIV's original logo and the one for A Realm Reborn depicts what appears to be a party of adventurers heading out, similar to FFXI's. But come 5.3 and it becomes something of a in-series Mythology Gag when a cutscene in the final trial, the Seat of Sacrifice, more or less depicts the logo with Elidibus and his summoned Warriors of Light.
  • The title screen of Super Mario World showed an Attract Mode demo of "Groovy", a super-secret optional level that's difficult to get to.
  • Variation: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow's game-over screen is an exact match to one of the paintings in the castle.
  • All three Xenosaga games show confusing images during the attract loop. The first one turns out to be the Zohar. The second one shows the E.S. Asher being built. The third shows the titular Zarathustra.
  • The cover of Kingdom Hearts shows a heart-shaped moon in the background with the main characters sitting atop a tower. The significance of the moon doesn't become apparent until the third game, where it is revealed to be the entity "Kingdom Hearts". The city also resembles the World That Never Was, the world in which the Kingdom Hearts moon is seen.
  • In Hitman: Blood Money, the main menu shows Agent 47 lying in statee in a church, apparently dead. This turns out to be the last mission of the game.
  • The title and Game Over screens of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger display an odd seal that seems to be a fusion of Ragna's seal and Nu's. Why such a seal would appear on the Game Over screen becomes obvious after clearing Ragna's story. But it's not until Ragna activates his Azure Grimoire in the true ending that its exact meaning is revealed.
  • When released on the SNES, Chrono Trigger had a cover that did not at all reflect the game's content for a few reasons. It has Crono, Frog, and Marle batting the Heckran on top of Death Peak. The problem is that the Heckran is fought in a cave at a time when Frog is not in your party, Marle is shooting a fireball (when she is An Ice Person), and Crono is dead when you go to Death Peak. In the DS re-release, however, there is an added snow area much like Death Peak, and a Heckran recolor can be found and fought there. The party in question's Triple Tech will let Marle use something similar in appearance to fire... and does 1 damage against said enemy.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne depicts the Demi-Fiend in front of an army of silhouetted demons in the title screen. In the True Demon ending, the game ends with that same shot as the Demi-Fiend leads his army of demons to war against God.
  • The first three God of War games did this. In the first two, the title screens turn out to be the first frame of the opening cutscenes, and in the third one, it shows Kratos silhouetted against the world after it's been plunged into eternal chaos, which just so happens to be the last cutscene of the game.
  • The box art for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves shows Nathan Drake bleeding, beaten, and dangling by his fingertips from a derailed train that's gone off a cliff. Guess what happens to him halfway through the game.
    • The box art of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception shows Nathan in a desert holding a assault rifle, with behind him a crashed plane still on fire. the same scene happens around around the last few chapters of the game. The game's title screen is an assault rifle sticking of the desert, which is the same assault rifle that Nathan is holding in the box art and picks up in the same scene of the game.
  • Seen very briefly for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, the photo on the cover can be found later when you go back to your own house. It's not frozen over, however.
  • Banjo-Tooie has an example where both the opening scene and the opening menu have an extremely similar depiction. The opening menu has the camera panning down the sky and Grunty's former lair before eventually slowly focusing on a struggling Klungo's attempts to move Grunty's boulder, and the opening cutscene has this as well. The only difference between the two (besides the obvious fact that Klungo talks as it starts focusing on him, or the text backstory/game logos) is that the opening menu has it being sunny out, whereas the opening cutscene has it raining.
  • The title screen for RosenkreuzStilette depicts the dawning sun over a golden cloud-filled sky as feathers of light float by. This is the background for the final battle. Spiritia and Iris rise into the sky as they fight, eventually reaching that scenery when Iris is at half of her health.
  • Sonic Colors features the cast of Wisp aliens circling a running Sonic at the title screen. That's how they look like upon combining themselves into a "Final Color Blaster" to destroy Dr. Eggman's ultimate machine at the end.
  • The Talos Principle: If you find the easter egg that releases the cat, Talos will pick it up at the end of the game and carry it as shown.

  • The Sluggy Freelance storyline "bROKEN" has a cover that shows a silhouette of the main character Torg, standing over another character bent over on the ground. That pose crops up subtly at least four times with different characters in the role. The image's importance turns out to be that it's part of a memory Torg is repressing to cope with the deaths of his friends.
  • A few Gunnerkrigg Court chapter covers. The face on Chapter 9 belongs to a statue in Eglamore's office. The wall from Chapter 16 is from Annie's old bedroom at the hospital.
    • In a combination with Title Drop, the chapter title "Fire Spike" depicted only a stylised symbol of fire, leaving its exact meaning unclear until it turned out to be a symbol for her ancestor, the fire elemental.
  • The El Goonish Shive arc Sister II begins with a cover that has a shadowed crouching figure with angel wings behind it. In the second storyline the figure is revealed to be Abraham encased in stone and in the ninth storyline the wings are revealed to belong to Nanase using her, just acquired, Guardian Angel spell.
  • Played for Laughs in The Order of the Stick board game: one of the cards that you can draw is "Dragon from the front of the box."

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


How Dare I... -> Willow Farm

The previous acts of this Rock Opera were rather somber, cynical, or both. While this animatic plays with color contrasts and shifts throughout, this instance is the most notable: to mark the bizarre turn of events, the illustrations turn from black and white (which it had been for the past three segments) to bright color to mark the sudden whimsical, surreal atmosphere.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MonochromeToColor

Media sources: