Jeffro Johnson – [trump speak]great guy, very thoughtful, I’m a big fan of his, big fan [trump speak] – posted a simple question on G+: “What’s missing on [this cover]?“
|Have to judge it by something, and
the cover is all we got.
It may have been a rhetorical question, but it deserved a proper response. If for nothing else, then for everyone sitting in the cheap seats. My short story answer is available through the link, but it deserves a much longer response.
|Action! Conflict! Drama!
You know, the sorts of things you find in…stories?
A wizard on the high seas burning sailors alive from inside an arcane construct. You’ve got motion, conflict, wizardry. You know what’s inside the magazine, and if you like action and drama, you’ll like this magazine. You should give up your hard earned money in exchange for this magazine.
What’s on the tin tells you what’s in the tin.
You can’t directly translate the writing maxim, “Show, don’t tell,” over to art, because art is a visual medium where “showing” is literally the only thing the artist can do; however, the underlying principle still applies. An artist can’t just show the audience a character and expect the audience to understand that the character is a badass unless you show that character actually doing badass things. The guys who make the moving pictures understand this intuitively – in our first introduction to Indiana Jones he disarms a man with a gun using a bullwhip. We are shown that Indy is a badass before we even see his face. Spielberg doesn’t tell us Indy is a badass by having him stand against a tree with a jaunty look in his eye, he shows us Indy is a badass by having him bitch slap a backstabbing coward in a badass way.
That might seem like a mistake, but it’s only a mistake if you think the people producing Uncanny are trying to sell stories to people who like stories.
Uncanny is trying to sell an image to people who like images.
|You stand there, girl. You stand
there so HARD.
As above, so below.
That’s not to say that this is bad art. It’s just to say that the art doesn’t sell the stories, it sells an image. It sells the same sort of wish fulfillment to women that Playboy covers sell to men. And that’s fine, so long as you understand what they are doing, and what they are selling. If you want stories, look elsewhere. If you want female wish fulfillment wrapped in a fantasy/sci-fi veneer, this is the magazine for you.
|You can fulfill my wish any time, baby.|
Teaser alert! It just so happens that there is a whole category of books for which this artwork is perfect, and we’ll delve into those in my next post.