So Wonkette recently discovered what they are calling a secret NRA graphic novel, but it is actually closer to a pamphlet or zine with really good illustrations. As you can see above, it’s called Freedom In Peril: Guarding the 2nd Amendment in the 21st Century. Click here to download the PDF. I’m not sure how secret it is any more or if it ever was, but from a design perspective, I’m pretty impressed.
Design is certainly alive in the activism tradition, but here’s an angle I don’t usually see. The NRA puts together some pretty good propaganda. Below is my favorite illustration, from an article about how New Orleans citzens had to surrender to their weapons to the National Guard while people mobbed and looted. (I don’t know much about this particular point, but it does seem problematic.)
The colors, thick borders and extensive hatching ironically remind me of protest artist Mike Flugennock. However, I think that this is artistically better. Being that there’s no publishing information or accreditation, it’s hard to find who did the illustrations, but they are pretty engaging. Since I’m an InDesign man, I decided to take a look at some of my favorite spreads in the PDF.
This large commanding illustration is a great visual element, and I like the grid structure they have established, but I’m not sure the lines separating columns are necessary, especially since they run up to the top of the page above the picture. Whoops.
Despite the comical nature of an angry lobster and pig, this is pretty well constructed. As an aside, I know plenty of girls who could be that girl in the illustration. The spread is consistent with the overall system of the pamphlet but still visually interesting and enticing. The illustration on the right is the perfect size for the page—it’s a great element to break up the full page of text. I think it’s kind of unnecessary to say the title, “Freedom In Peril” on the top of every page, but it looks fine.
Though every section/article starts off with the left page dominated by a large illustration, I think this spread works particularly well. It evokes a feeling out of “Grand Theft Auto” (the headline type) and “Road to Perdition” (rifles out of the old car) at the same time, which is very effective for what they are trying to do here. The hand-drawn, cross-like quotation symbols are a nice touch.
All in all, this is very ridiculous, but also very interesting.