THE NEW cover of the New Yorker magazine, titled “Warhead,” is a striking image that riffs off a classic image from inside the Hermit Kingdom.
The cover, by Eric Drooker, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un intriguingly cropped down to little more than his iconic haircut and brow — heightening the sense of menace and mystery.
“I came up with the concept for next week’s New Yorker cover when I realized how little I know about Kim Jong Un,” Drooker tells The Post’s Comic Riffs. “He’s an enigma. Who knows what goes on under the hood? He’s totally opaque, and, like our President Trump, prides himself on his unpredictability.
“What will happen?” continues Drooker, who has also created provocative political covers about “#OscarsNotSoWhite” and the protests in “Ferguson, Missouri” “All we can see is the tip of the iceberg — an incomplete picture.”
(The image is evocative of classic cartoons showing only a leader’s head, including the late Jeff MacNelly’s Reagan rendering for the Chicago Tribune. And the cropped view differentiates Drooker’s take from countless images of the leader as a literal warhead.)
“This idea by Drooker had the virtue of saying more with less, of being more about the unknown unknowns than about the known knowns,” Francoise Mouly, the magazine’s art editor, tells The Post.
She calls the cover a good match for the magazine’s dispatch “On the Brink” from Pyongyang, from where Evan Osnos “weighs the prospect of a devastating nuclear confrontation between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump,” the New Yorker says.
“Nuclear annihilation, the fate of the world in Kim Jung-Un’s and Trump’s hands? We’re trying our best to exhale between gasps,” Mouly says. “I’m grateful to all the artists who … overcome paralysis and still react by grabbing their pen.
“Maybe one day we’ll be able to look back on it and reflect,” she says, “but right now, we’re living through our daily lives one Twitter-made crisis at a time, trying to just make sense of it.”
The New Yorker issue goes online Sept. 11 and hits newsstands next week.