The New Yorker has a notoriously strange system for picking and rejecting covers (just ask R. Crumb)—and in recent years, longtime art director Françoise Mouly has been putting some of those rejected covers online here (along with hosting several cover contests). This week, a hardcopy version of those covers is being released—so now's as good a time as any to revisit them, including the NY-centric ones above.

Mouly told The Guardian UK about the Anthony Weiner cover:

Weiner participated in his own demise by fervently denying he’d sent lewd photos of himself to various women (though it was later proven he had). The whole mess was so sordid that the media - and Barry Blitt - didn’t hesitate to indulge in “weiner jokes.” In the end though, the timing of a double issue prevented us from running a cover on that topic.

As for the Abner Louima one, The New Yorker notes:

Harry Bliss submitted this sketch in 1997 in response to Mayor Giuliani’s reluctance to investigate the police who tortured Haitian immigrant Abner Louima—but, unfortunately, the image stands the test of time and resonates clearly in the age of Trayvon Martin. When we posted it on our Blown Covers blog, it went viral and got thousands of hits.

For more insight into the covers, here's Crumb's disgruntled take on the editorial process:

Even after my stuff became popular, I continued to work completely uncensored. Then the New Yorker called, and when the New Yorker calls it’s a big thrill. It’s big-time: 2 million circulation, blah blah blah, and they pay really well. I expect certain limitations from the New Yorker; I can’t show explicit sex, foul language, or at least not too foul language. You expect these things in a mainstream publication—I can live with that.

The New Yorker has a usual policy of having artists send in rough drafts of what you want to do, and the editor can then suggest changes, and I told them right from the start: “I don’t do that, I can’t work that way. I will send you finished pieces, and you can take it or leave it, accept it as is or reject it.” They replied that they were OK with that. This was the first time they rejected something of mine. I could live with it if they gave me a reason. If not, I’m second-guessing the editor, and… Well, you know, I just don’t need the work bad enough to have to worry about what makes David Remnick like or dislike something.