POP Cover Of The Week: the geometric creepiness of "Descendent #2"

Descendent #2, Cover by Juan Doe, Aftershock Comics

"Descendent #2" cover by Juan Doe

Descendent is only two issues old, but it already has two fantastic covers that are beautifully designed and colored. Both have been depictions of the mysterious, religious cult that the book claims are responsible for kidnapping the young children of prominent public figures, and also the infant son of Charles Lindbergh in 1932.

Both covers also feature the weird symbol of the cult, a Venn diagram-like logo of two interlocking circles, a true-crime symbol borrowed from the one that was actually left at the Lindbergh home in 1932.

The Left-Right Symmetry of "Descendent #2"

On both covers, the significant and brilliant visual choice is that, like the cult’s logo, the covers have both been designed to be hard-lined, geometrical, and perfectly symmetrical: split down the center, with the design identical on either side. However, the symmetry is interrupted by the red hair of the woman seemingly being burned alive. The soft flames also break with the rest of the cover’s symmetry and hard-lined appearance. Do the woman’s hair and the fire represent chaos, while the otherwise perfect symmetry represents the religious cult’s desire for order? Or are these merely arbitrary design choices?

The cover artist also uses the cult’s bizarre symbol as the faces of the hooded cult figures, giving them a way-creepy, alien appearance. Is this merely a graphic device to create tension, or is it a clue to the identity of the long-lived cult? Is this why the cult always hides their faces, even in private?

The only thing that I didn’t like about this cover was the decision to split up the names of the creative team, having two at the top, and two all the way at the bottom. The bottom two seem out of place, and intrude on Juan Doe’s otherwise clean design.

Trade dress, or the graphic presentation of the comic’s title, publisher, issue number, etc., is also an important design element that can either enhance or detract from a cover’s overall feel. Aftershock’s trade dress is among the most elegantly simple and minimal I have ever seen: three elements in a solid black arc at the top of the cover. Add in the wonderfully crypto-religious masthead logo typeface (ending in a cross-like “T”), and the Descendent covers are bound to be repeat contenders for POP: Cover Of The Week in the months to come!

This week's honorable mention: Thumbs #1

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