the grid and the hard black bar (that has the headline in it) save yer ass, though. without that stuff there to create the contrast, you'd only have the paper edge to act as an anchor to the image and the type. it CAN work, but you really will have to use that paper edge as an anchor instead - like those old psych posters. the designs on 60's posters were very very centralized and balanced and played viscously off the edge (unconsciously).
so, observe and learn. if it works, figger out WHY. if it doesn't work - also figger out WHY. it's all tools.
the "top" is wonky? ya really think that?
maybe it's because you used a script "drawn" typeface for the headline. it clashes with the "drawn" image. the two drawings sitting side by side cancel each other out - like two piece of camo.
try to use your head to picture a hardass block letter typeface in there instead and you'll realize how important contrasting styles are to creative visibility and impact. it's a sort of secret of graphic design.