Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Cover: Escape from Alcatraz

The cover of Escape from Alcatraz practically presents a novel when looked at alone. The cover is literally illuminated from corner to corner, including a variety of fonts, pictures, and colors. J. Campbell Bruce, author of Escape from Alcatraz, gives no credit to another author or artist for the cover work, leaving the reader to assume that he completed the masterpiece by himself. This does not come to a large surprise with the knowledge that he was also a featured writer for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Bruce’s job as a newspaper author most likely aided him in the task of creating his own book cover. Writer’s who work with highly distinguished newspapers possess great talent in reviewing evidence and searching through the core of every story. Journalists often work closely with editors and aid the photographers, or take the photos themselves, in order to represent the work they complete the exact way they wish. With this cover in particular, the editorial talent stands quite apparent.

The font captures the reader even from the first glimpse. Escape from Alcatraz are the largest words on the page, white lettering outlined in a black box. The smaller font surrounding the photographs begs for more attention than the title. The tiny words give some mystery and ironically at the same time insight into the depths of the novel. When taking a closer look, the reader finds that the fonts only explain a brief history of Alcatraz and the attempts made to escape “the rock” and do not pay any attention to the picture of the prisoner placed between the two blocks of wording. Next, the small cursive spreads hope to the reader that maybe it is the signature of the pictured prisoner, but no, it simply declares “U.S. Penitentiary.”

The set image of fingerprints draws a few interesting conclusions, although I am no expert, it looks to me that no two fingerprints match. This means that all fingerprints taken must come from ten distinct individuals, but gives no lead as to whom they might be. J. Campbell Bruce worked to create an intriguing cover title that would not go unnoticed to the readers. It presents so many intimacies that it could be quite possible to write a novel on the cover alone.


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