Monday, January 31, 2011

Double Barreled

I was very pleased with art director Chip Kidd’s eerie front for Villain (Pantheon), a crime novel by Japanese author Shūichi Yoshida that appeared on U.S. bookstore shelves last year, complete with a cover photograph by Francois Robert. (See the image above on the left.) In fact, I pushed to include Villain in The Rap Sheet’s Best Crime Novel Cover of 2010 competition---and it won!

Recently, though, I spotted the teaser poster for The Mechanic (above, right), a brand-new action flick with Jason Stratham reprising the role of Arthur Bishop, a professional assassin who was portrayed in the original, 1972 version of this film by Charles Bronson. The similarities between this poster and the book cover are pretty obvious. Yes, you can quibble about the fact that the handgun in Robert’s photo is shaped from the major bones of the human body, while the image of an automatic pistol on the Mechanic one-sheet--credited to a Los Angeles audio/visual/graphics firm called Ignition Print (which also created the poster for the upcoming Matthew McConaughey picture, The Lincoln Lawyer)--is composed of assorted other guns. But the concepts are certainly analogous.

Let’s hope this is a onetime coincidence, not a design trend.


Kevin Burton Smith said...

Hmmm... actually, I sort of prefer the MECHANIC poster. But I'm not sure it was a rip-off. Coincidences happen all the time in design (and literature), and the VILLAIN cover itself was a reworking on other designs. I seem to recall an LP from the seventies that showed a guitar made of bones that was very similar.

I remember working on a magazine cover back in the eighties, using a great photo and what I thought was a brilliant combination of colour and typography to complement the photo -- only to have it appear a few days after out main competitor put out their latest issue -- with almost an identical cover design and a photo taken from almost the same angle.

D-GRRR said...

Super cover!!