Frank Miller Week: Jurassic Park Cover

"To the left, to the left" is where Beyonce is going to move all your shit when you do wrong. Why left? Most human left hands are non-dominant and religions often revere the right hand/side of the body. So, I guess the left is the less significant side. But we read from LEFT to right. This Frank Miller cover for Jurassic Park plays on our reading from left to right, but because this is such a minimal cover, I feel it's also using the left side to increase the scare-factor. When you first look at the cover, your eyes impulsively go left and follow the dinosaur body down to the human body in its mouth. Your eye hits the body last, as its not even the center point of the image. The right always gets the last word when we're reading, it's where our eyes stop or pause and this cover suggests: Dinosaurs: 1. Human Race: 0.

To texturize the skin of the dinosaur and to shade the human, Miller employs chunky, sharp-edged sections of black. This kind of sectioning-off reminds me of Miller disciple Mike Mignola's work more than Miller's own work, but it's a clever trick to the eye, as the same blocky shading/texturizing is present on the back of the dinosaur and the human (the wrinkles in his clothes are especially well-done and strange). The background is a little cheap, using a muted contrast with variations of orange and green in the dinosaur (rather than red), while also looking like a wall your mom decided to sponge-paint back in 1994. Perhaps it's the result of an old veteran like Miller having to confront digital art and computer coloring.

But the most annoying aspect of this cover is the blocking lines around the edges of the picture. These would work to better balance and improve composition of the image if they were on the right rather than on the same side as beginnings of the T-rex body. I guess the lines may be there for a textual reason on the completed cover. Like most work from Frank Miller. it's complex and conflicted, nearly schizophrenic and despite its flaws, the cover remains a success because it doesn't look traditional (which is eye grabbing) and it serves its purpose: to make the dinosaur the focus and not the humans--which is what Jurassic Park is all about.

No comments: