Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Suspense in the "Reveal" cover

Hello everyone!

This week I'm going to discuss the "reveal" cover. I've played through some mental issues, (specific covers in my mind, for clarity), and remembered these illustrations that struck a chord.

Green Lantern #69: Cover Illustration by Gil Kane

Rule #1: Target subconsciously an emotion for what you're revealing.

Red can mean danger. Blue = calming. Green means, well you get the picture. . . High camera angle suggests dominance, low camera angle suggests being submissive. The first thing that attacks my subconscious is the cover features a predominant crimson red. We're immediately on alert.

Rule #2: Text usually pulls primary focus against most images. (In other words, it's best when the text is not giving everything away.)
In this case it helps deliver "THE SETUP". The first actual conscious "story reveal".
Visually we're cued by the foreground woman's sinister glance and bad dental work.

This by itself is a strong visual story. Our eyes jump to Green Lantern's expression, LEAD by the girl's eyes. His REACTION supports what we're thinking, the "reveal-deal" is sealed and a moment of suspense is captured. You feel a chill in this instance. This brings me to my third point:

Rule #3: Visually lead the viewer.
This cover engages you to investigate further. To look for more clues about the situation, to maybe even want to read the book. This can be done by composition, color, balance, size, and lighting to just name a few techniques.

Finally Rule #4: If the cover features a hero, allow your hero to be empathized by the audience.
Green Lantern is reacting how most of us would react to this situation. Our hero connects with us and we fear for him which helps build the suspense.

The best reveal covers surprise you with the reward of discovery.

This cover would fly off the shelf had I been around to catch it in the spinner rack. If you've never read the book, I suggest you let the cover speak for itself.

Here is another great example of a reveal cover:

Animal Man #5: Cover by: Brian Bolland

The same principles can be applied to this cover and a fresh perspective is achieved. This cover does feature an event that actually happens in the book, but it's been speculated to as the timing and meaning.

Obviously these are just a few points based on my experience and there are many more ways to make an enticing cover using the reveal.

Please feel free to submit ideas comic suggestions to discuss to my e-mail.

In the meantime, the next subject I'm going to cover is "Face to Face". A discussion on the formula of a hero directly facing the villains of the book, literally face to face.

Until then, ENJOY!