Syrian President Bashar Assad is the cover man of the latest New Yorker, along with an unlikely ally – Walter White of the hit AMC drama “Breaking Bad.”
The cover, first revealed on Monday morning over Twitter and hitting newsstands the same day, depicts the Syrian dictator mixing chemicals in a lab as “Breaking Bad” protagonist/villain Walter White (played by Bryan Cranston) arrives with a shocked look on his face. The juxtaposition is an obvious reference to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in an Aug. 21 attack outside Damascus that killed more than 1,400 people.
As “Breaking Bad” rushes toward its conclusion next week, most fans of the show have only Walter White on their minds, but the New Yorker cover makes a point that real crimes can be far more horrifying than fictional ones. Cover artist Barry Blitt, who has illustrated 77 New Yorker covers over the past 19 years, says White may be the least sympathetic character on TV at this point, but his crimes are nothing compared to Assad's.
“Seems like there’s never a shortage of real-life villains to make even the most conscience-free fictional character look comic in comparison — alas,” Blitt told the New Yorker.