Late tonight I found myself shopping at my local grocery store picking up some cat litter. I grabbed it, headed to the checkout line, and had to wait behind another guy. He must also have been a fellow cat lover, as he had about a dozen or so cans of Friskies cat food on the conveyer belt.

As I waited for him to get checked out, I glanced at the magazine rack. This is something I do often, especially since I own a company that produces three excellent magazines. (Don’t believe me? Sign up for our newsletter to the right of this post and you’ll get three free digital issues to decide for yourself.)

I’m always on the lookout for good ideas about how to improve our covers, and we’ve managed to do exactly that over the course of the last two years or so. Our covers keep getting better and better thanks to a lot of creativity by our Art Director Arpit Mehta and our editorial staff for each of the magazines who inform how our covers look by helping to select cover images and writing captivating teaser text to put on those covers.

It helps me to think outside of my Splickety-shaped box to look at other magazines and see how they’re doing their covers, so I began to scan the magazines on the rack. Cosmo. Seventeen. Esquire. Newsweek.

Wait, what?

That’s–that’s a very, very similar image to something I’ve seen before. Something I’ve published before. Take a look:

Newsweek Ripoff

Yep. That’s Havok Magazine‘s third issue from July of 2014. We’ve officially been ripped off by Newsweek.

I love this. I love that Newsweek used the exact same cover image as we did, only they photoshopped it to make it more “Newsweek-Friendly.” It’s common knowledge that Newsweek largely appeals to liberal-leaning readers, and many liberals abhor guns, so it’s no surprise that the handgun in the Havok version got edited out in the Newsweek version.

Newsweek, as you may know, went out of business in 2013 and was summarily resurrected in 2014 by new ownership, and now it’s on store shelves again. Apparently, those new owners are thrifty, because Splickety paid a whopping $7.00 for Havok’s cover image from Shutterstock.com. Here it is, if you want to see it (or the others in the series of photographs like it). I’m betting Newsweek got it for around the same price.

I can’t fault Newsweek for using Shutterstock.com. They have a lot of good photos. I can, however, point to our cover and say that Splickety wore it best.

Whatever the case, I’m encouraged that Splickety is on the right track with our cover design, so much so that a giant, reputable rag like Newsweek is copying us. Maybe I should just send them our covers in advance so they don’t have to wait six months before mimicking us next time. It’s nice to see that sometimes life imitates art instead of the other way around.

Photo on 1-3-14 at 1.13 PM #2

Ben Wolf is the founder and Editor-In-Chief of Splickety Publishing Group. His debut novel, Blood for Blood
has a 5-star rating on Amazon.com. You can read the prologue to Blood for Blood for free, and then you should definitely buy a copy. Ben is also an in-demand editor with a 4-6 month waiting list for new clients. For more about Ben, visit his website, www.benwolf.com.