The album is often known as Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps), in keeping with the song title.
However, the border of the album’s front cover just contains David Bowie’s name and the words “Scary Monsters….” On the back cover are the words “..and Super Creeps“.
The spine and the label both list the title as simply Scary Monsters.
The title, incidentally, was reportedly inspired by a promotional campaign run for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, which offered toys described as “Scary Monsters and Super Heroes”.
The photo session for the Scary Monsters cover took place in May 1980. Bowie wore the Pierrot costume he had used in the ‘Ashes To Ashes’ video.
On this day in 1980 @DavidBowieReal released Scary Monsters. These previously unseen test Polaroid’s were taken during Duffy’s fifth and final shoot with #Bowie. It was shot in Chris Duffy’s studio who took press shots. Learn more here: https://t.co/o3YaHq5MSj #otd #duffy #unseen pic.twitter.com/PyT8WXEfsg
— Duffy Archive (@duffy_archive) September 12, 2018
Duffy’s photographs were combined with paintings by artist Edward Bell, who gave the cover a whitewashed look. On the rear sleeve, Bell incorporated renderings of Bowie’s portraits from Low, “Heroes” and Lodger, the latter combining Bowie’s upper body with his lower half from the Aladdin Sane inner gatefold.
Yeah, the cover was again a collaboration between a photographer that I’ve worked with a number of times, Brian Duffy, the excellent painter Thomas Bell [sic], who’s a new young painter in England, and myself, to again produce some kind of… the can of worms contained inside the beautiful everyman. The falling apart of what seems like purity.
The David Bowie Interview promo album
Bowie told me, ‘I don’t care what you do as long as I have red hair, because in America I’m known as the red-haired bisexual.’ I actually reversed the transparency that I painted from for the cover, so that his eyes were the wrong way round on the album sleeve. The interesting thing was that when Bowie saw the finished painting with his face in reverse, he didn’t notice anything wrong with the picture. I asked him to look closely, and in the end I had to point it out to him. Of course he was used to seeing his face that way round in the mirror.
David Bowie: The Golden Years, Roger Griffin
Brian Duffy was reportedly displeased by the artwork, which he felt marginalised his photography. Bowie, however, was pleased enough by Bell’s work to include another of his portraits, again based on one of Duffy’s Scary Monsters shots, for a 1982 David Bowie calendar. The artwork, of the singer running his hands through his hair, was titled Glamour.
Edward Bell worked again with Bowie in the early 1990s, designing the sleeve for the album Tin Machine II.