"WACKO JACKO BACKO," proclaimed a New York Post headline published beside a picture of Michael Jackson rehearsing in 1995.

"WACKO JACKO BACKO," proclaimed a New York Post headline published beside a picture of Michael Jackson rehearsing in 1995.

"Gloved One makes big comeback tonight," a second headline on the tabloid's front page explained.

The headlines were culled by the staff of the New York Post and included in the book "HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR." The book is a collection of pages from the Post that illustrate the best of the newspaper's sensational headlines.

"There are common threads throughout these pages," notes Robert Walsh of the Post's copy desk in the book's introduction. "At its best, a Post headline has attitude and guts. And it certainly doesn't hesitate to employ humor if the story calls for it (and sometimes, as some critics assert, when it doesn't)."

"CONAN THE AMERICAN," is how a headline in the Post identified Arnold Schwarzenegger after he spoke at the Republican Convention in 2004.

"GREAT WHITE CHOKE," a headline nicknamed light-haired Greg Norman after the golfer blew a 6-shot lead in the 1996 Masters golf tournament to winner Nick Faldo.

Some other examples

"NO NUDES IS GOOD NUDES," the newspaper's headline said about a Supreme Court ruling banning topless bars in 1991.

"BITE OF THE CENTURY," said a headline over a story about boxer Mike Tyson biting fighter Evander Hollyfield's ear in 1997.

"THE BUCK SHOTS HERE," claimed a headline about Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting incident in 2006.

"LUST IN SPACE," described a headline with a story reporting on the astronaut love triangle in 2007. A second headline called one of those involved an "Astro-nut."

You'll no doubt notice that headlines in the newspaper in which this column appears are pretty tame in comparison. We have headline standards here.

The New York Post, apparently, is a little more lax on those.

"Does it fit on the page and will it help sell the newspaper," noted Chris Shaw, vice president of digital media for the Post in a question-and-answer portion of publicity material for "HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR" ($14.95, HarperEntertainment). "... We're not picky ..."

Rich assortment

Many of the headlines are blaring ones taken from the Post's familiar front and back pages.

"There is a group of editors who often bounce different ideas/suggestions off each other in searching for the right 'wood' (what the front/back headline and story is referred to in the newsroom)," explained Shaw. "This process can be as short as two minutes when someone nails it immediately, or can take several painstaking hours."

The result is such headlines as "CHIP TATOR" published by the Post with a 2005 story about Saddam Hussein's favorite snacks behind bars, and "GOOD NOOSE," published on the day in 2006 that the man the newspaper called "The Butcher of Bagdad" was sentenced to hang.

Reach Repository Living Section Editor Gary Brown at (330) 580-8303 or e-mail gary.brown@cantonrep.com.