Random RPG Thoughts #4: why cover art may be important after all

Look what caught my eye while clearing the living room of debris, after a playmobil playing session of my daughters and friends. See the semblance?

For those of you who are not versed in Dutch: the left book is a comic by Vandersteen, of the Suske & Wiske series. You might know them as Willy and Wanda, or Spike and Suzy. It's a very successful longstanding series, running in the hundreds. Which is outstanding for non-superhero stuff.

The right book you should all recognize. Or if not, it is the Moldvay Basic Dungeons & Dragons book, which drew in many players during the early 1980's.

Now why are the cover layouts so similar? And why, perhaps, is the success also similar?

Red is a color which alerts men more, at least when women dresses are concerned. Want to have better chances at seducing or alerting a man? Wear red. Maybe the same thing goes for book covers. Draw attention? Wear red! These two do.

And look at the boxed in comic style drawing! Both have an action scene - but by no means ultra-realistic.
Even the lettering has similar color and size. Both have a series number in a white roundel in the left had corner.

Go figure. I never noticed until I just mistook the left book for the right in the half dark.
Could it mean that prospective players might have been attracted because they thought they saw a new Suske & Wiske on the shelves, and had to have a look when they found out it was not?

That might open perspectives if you really really want to draw attention... Newsweek style covers, for example, or fave women' zine fronts. For an RPG.

I'm not sure what this means, but there's something here...

1 comment:

  1. Great post this, though you forget another unifying feature of both books: alliteration!

    I think that a young Suske en Wiske reader would rather like D&D... provided s/he can read English or has cool parents... And coincidentally, I found your pic in google images while researching for a blogpost on vandersteen comics and (Weird) Fantasy RPG's!

    I think there's lots of material you can delve from Suske en Wiske for scenario inspiration.