I'm a crap photographer and I know it. There isn't a single picture I've ever taken that isn't improved by cavalier use of Instagram filters. So as a self-confessed crap photographer I can see when the original pic has been badly composed and then is cropped to buggery(*) to try and salvage something from it. And I'm not proud to admit that my first sight of the new D&D covers was accompanied by an immediate feeling of being baffled as to why these pics have been so badly cropped that the resulting layouts are all dreadful.
What weapon is bottom right man swinging in his left hand? Actually I'm assuming he is swinging a weapon but he could be doing anything. Is he on is own? Is their a party of accomplices lurking off in the dead zone off the cover. Who knows? The whole composition is cropped too tight.
(Also, if you are going to do a homage to not only the Red Box but the ultimate Purple Box printing of Cyclopedia-era Basic why go green and not red?)
What is the weird mace-head thing bottom left? In this age of Photoshop if you absolutely have to crop to this sort of level why not just p'shop the distracting cruft away from the edge of the printed area? I'm assuming there was a head on that lightning-bolt-smacked statue on the left but it has been lost to the crop.
Why is one of Tiamat's heads vanishing off the left hand side? Why is there no "quiet" area where the title is to go leading to the lettering completely obscuring another dragon head? Why is the wizard at the bottom so badly cut off? Why doesn't Tiamat's claw fit in? Who cropped this?
Is there anything interesting or noteworthy on the end of that staff? Again, why is no real quiet area such that the Frost Giant's right hand is under the title? Why is the weapon vanishing out of the bottom. Why are there so many southpaws in these covers? Have they been mirrored from the original artwork?
What is happening bottom left corner? At least this one has a quiet area for the title if not the red-backed splash in the bottom left.
These aren't attempts in the 1980s to license a piece of art from somewhere else and try and make it fit a White Dwarf or Dragon cover - presumably these have been produced under a very tight brief. Yet none of them fit. Very odd.
Also, and unrelated to above, I had a Fighting Fantasy related dream last night - I bought a copy of Masks of Mayhem with the cover ripped off for £9 because it was some rare anthology printing with two books in one binding. I then felt massive buyer's remorse when I remembered that I already owned a copy. This reminded me that I periodically have dreams about finding bookshops with caches of green spine FF books (it's always green spines) that I have never heard of and feel the urge to buy all of them.
Later on the dream developed into time travelling back to the 1950s where an ex-work colleague smoked a pipe while tuning in a crystal wireless set so that we could listen to Richard Burton reading poetry on the BBC.
(*) Always a splendid evening's entertainment that.