Monday, August 25, 2008

Cover Up: Enigma #3

Duncan Fegredo's cover to Enigma #3 always catches me off-guard with the way it manages to be both pretty and ugly at the same time.

The "ugliness" is on purpose, combining a painted image with a stark and sketchy style that ties in directly to the characterization of Envelope Girl, the lovely psychotic featured in the smaller portrait. (Hey, we've all been there, right, guys? Amirite, huh? Huh?)

The smaller image also works as a nice contrast to the larger one of the Enigma himself, who seems particularly otherworldly compared to the almost violently physical derangement of Envelope Girl. The Enigma might be mysterious there in the shadowy background, but his nemesis is in your face and solidly anchoring the whole thing.

This theme of contrasts is carried through on all the covers, delivered by the picture-within-a-picture idea (and when I think about it, the theme of "difference" — along with identity — runs pretty strongly through this eight-issue mini-series). But while the design is consistent, it's also fluid enough to take on the tone of the overall story and that particular issue at the same time. And yeah, the postage stamp idea might seem a little obvious once you're familiar with the character, but I think the cover is still kinda clever.

Like I said, this cover — and the rest, to one degree or another — always grabs my attention with its ability to be both delicate and brutal, magical and grounded, and yeah, ugly and pretty all at the same time.

In this case, the cover reflects the story inside perfectly.

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