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I'm a big fan of minimalist movie posters. This one, Ibrahim Youssef's Kill Bill Vol. 2 is flat-out amazing, don't you think? Yeah, you need to have seen the film to really get the reference, but if you hadn't seen the film, wouldn't those five footsteps make you curious?

Two different artists recently took a crack at giving a similar treatment to the poster for Thor, a superhero movie about the Norse god of thunder and his badass hammer, Mjolnir First up, Dave Williams:


And next, Olly Moss, whose effort actually went to the cast and crew of the film (but not, for some reason, to movie theaters everywhere):


What do you think? As a straight-up visual experience, I prefer the Moss, but I think something about the Williams captures a bit more of the movie's cheerfully heroic vibe. Thor is a rambunctious kid who fights with his family, learns a valuable lesson, and meets a great girl to boot. (Reader review here.) Good times. At any rate, they're both better than the real thing:


UPDATE: There has been some (understandable) question as to whether or not the image in the Williams poster resembles a hammer. It does at least resemble Thor's hammer, as depicted in both comic book and film:


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Altius May 9, 2011 @ 2:43 p.m.

The Williams looks like something my 7-year-old could have drawn overlayed over a blue-filtered photo of a cracked sidewalk. Plus, the hammer looks like an attribution bubble, or whatever the hell they're called, from a comic book. I kept thinking the text somehow didn't make it through cyberspace.

Olly Moss's is better, but still... the hammer isn't hammer-ish enough. It could be a picket sign at a Wisconsin pro-union demonstration. The style of the artwork looks borrowed, too.

The Kill Bill 2 poster only makes sense post facto, as you say. And again, it's all so borrowed looking. Footprints? Red on black? That's all you've got Ibrahim?

I'm starting to think this kind of graphic design is a field for those who admire art but aren't original enough to be artists.


CurtainCall May 9, 2011 @ 3:02 p.m.

I agree with Altius... but only to a point. Youssef's kill Bill is a bit derivative, yes. But I find it hard NOT to look at. It's engaging to the mind -- why only 5 footprints? Is Bill being tracked? What's behind all that darkness? Are those bloody footprints?

The first Thor effort, the one with the big white hammer, truly is dung. The god of thunder can't be happy about that. Might explain the s**tty weather we're having today.

The Moss poster is, like Youssef's not terribly original, in terms of its look. But, again like Youssef's, I couldn't stop looking at it. There's so much going on in those little panels. Why is one dude wearing a suit? What do the letter S and M at the base of the handle mean? What's going on in the top right corner. However, the background color is worse than uninteresting, it's plain ugly. And the type at the top is too small and too boring.


Matthew Lickona May 9, 2011 @ 3:09 p.m.

Hey Altius, thanks for commenting. The Williams does indeed have a kiddie vibe to it - not entirely inappropriate for a comic book movie, I think. And the hammer looks like...Thor's hammer.

The lack of text is sort of the point of these minimalist efforts. Hammer. Lightning. Heavenly blue. Not a bad visual for The God of Thunder, I think.

Ibrahim actually has several takes on Kill Bill, so no, it's not all he's got. But again, these are supposed to be minimal, so I'm not sure "is that all there is" is a telling criticism. Yes, it only makes sense post-facto. Sort of like the famous poster for Vertigo?


Altius May 9, 2011 @ 4:21 p.m.

I'm all for minimalism when it's done well. But Williams' poster looks like it was done in 15 minutes by a 12-year-old using the MS Word draw feature.

It's a very simple primary yellow lightning bolt -- simple and minimalist are not the same thing -- capped by a big block of background white. I'm sorry, it doesn't look like a hammer. It looks like a yard sign, or a bubble above a comic strip figure, except without words. The white part also looks like the profile of one of those things tortillas come in at Mexican restaurants.

Now I'm hungry.


Matthew Lickona May 9, 2011 @ 6:07 p.m.

Yum! It really does look like the top of Thor's hammer, too. See, it's supposed to be a cloud, from which the lightning bolt is striking downward, and it's also supposed to be the top of Thor's hammer, which is shaped just like that in both comic and movie. Granted, simple and minimalist are not the same thing. I thought the simplicity here served the overall boyish feel of the movie.


Joaquin_de_la_Mesa May 10, 2011 @ 10:25 a.m.

Maybe Williams is making the point that this movie is a childish piece of nonsense.


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