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COMICS 101

By Scott Tipton
Scott Tiptons Comics 101

2011-04-20 – FIRST, YOU HAVE TO GET THEIR ATTENTION

Here's something we haven't talked about: logos

Creating a truly great comic-book logo is something of a lost art, if you ask me. A lot of the new ones you see today look overly slick and overthought, and lack the real punch and impact of some of the best of the Golden and Silver Ages. Let's take a look at some of the best, and worst, shall we?

SupermanTitle.jpg

Ahh, the classics. There's a reason SUPERMAN hasn't changed its logo in decades. Large, blocky and powerful, with the elegantly curved arc suggesting flight. The comic-book logo all logos aspire to.

70sdetectivecomics.jpg

This one is, I'm sure, not many people's first choice for DETECTIVE COMICS, but I've always had a soft spot for it. The billowing cape immediately communicates "Batman," and the title itself is in a simple block font that reaches right out and grabs you. I think it's a winner.

AvengersLogo.jpg

A lot of Marvel purists will probably prefer the original, more dynamic 1960s AVENGERS logo, but I prefer this sleek '70s model. It's got a real subtly futuristic vibe to it, and I've always dug that arrow that forms the cross-bar of the "A." Expect to see this logo on movie posters in about six months, is my prediction.

Fantastic_Four_Logo.jpg

Sometimes the original is still the best. Something about the 1961 FANTASTIC FOUR logo communicates high adventure and unpredictability, and it's got a real vitality to it.

airboy,jpg

I think Mark Gruenwald used to say that his definition of a good logo was that you were able to read it from across the street. Hillman Publications must have had that idea among the crowded newsstands of the 1940s, because there was certainly no missing the AIRBOY logo. Simple? Sure, but it got your attention.

thor_logo.jpg

When Walt Simonson took over THOR in the '80s, it soon began bearing a new, more Norse-influenced logo that fit the series to a T. As much as I liked the old-school logo with that chunk bitten out of the "O" in "Thor," I had to admit this was much better.

batman-logo.jpg

Once again, it's hard to beat the classics. Instantly understandable, iconic, it strikes the mood and you can read it from across the room. Plus, I have to confess to liking logos with faces...

Tales_of_the_Crypt_3.jpg

One thing you can say about EC Comics: They knew what made for a good logo, and they knew how to treat it: give it one-third of the cover and leave it alone. All of EC's horror and crime comics sported great logos, but TALES OF THE CRYPT was the best of the best.

Nova_1_(1976).jpg

Here's one that seemed to follow all the rules, but never quite made the grade. What's the problem? The odd spacing in the middle of the work to accommodate the starburst design feature has the unfortunate effect of splitting the title in two. I can't be the only one who read it as "No Va" when I was a kid, right?

captain_america_logo_marvel_comics_retro_poster-p228392720747733029t5wm_400.jpg

Another old-school 1970s favorite; simple, but effective in immediately communicating the character. Plus, it worked well as a duo, to boot:

falcon.jpg

I have to admit: the first CAP comic I ever bought bore this logo, and to this day it still looks odd to me without "and the Falcon" tacked onto it.

Rom.jpg

Remember what I said about being able to read the title from across the street? Bingo. We have a winner.

Scott Tipton has big plans for the column as we head into the summer movie season, so stay tuned. Any great logos we missed? We'd love to hear 'em. Send it here.


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