18 March 2011

[art, design] Portland Mercury's Japanese Tsunami Cover: Best. Damn. Alt. Weekly. Cover. Ever.

2585.One main reason I enjoy the Portland Mercury so much is why many other people don't; they don't take themselves seriously. You'll find good solid news in ther - the PMerc's City Hall coverage is good, if brief, and when they do do news they take a straight approach, but an atmosphere of whimsy pretty much pervades the publication.

The best part is the cover. Sometimes odd, somtimes sublime, sometimes WTF-inducing, the cover art always engages the eye. The thing about the cover art is that it doesn't always have much of anything to do with the stuff inside - but it does catch the eye. At least half the reason I seek out PMerc each week is to see what they were audacious enough to put on the cover.

This week, though, the best expression of the most important event of the year so far was found on the cover of the PMerc. Typically they have headlines laid down with the same whimsy the rest of the publication enjoys, complete with a sarcastic or goofy tagline. This week, here's what we have:

PMerc Tsunami Picture

A black wave about to engulf the Rising Sun. No slapstick and the URL of the Red Cross instead of a one-liner tag line. The thing is, it caught me by (no joke intended) surprise. The practice of non-sequitur cover-art had become something of a learned-response to me - absorb the cover art without giving it too much meaning. So, the expression of sheer minimalism and simplicity snuck up on me. Because it had the drop on me, it made much more of an impression than if it had been something I expected to see.

Well done, PMerc, well done.

I hope you don't mind me showing this little bit of brilliance off.

Here's the archive page for this issue: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/IssueArchives?issue=3654819

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