Wednesday, May 07, 2014

WORTH A RANT: The Needless Revamping Of Comic Logos

If there's one thing DC's doing right with Superman, post the DC52 relaunch, it's that they didn't screw with the logo. True, it is heavily patented, but that hasn't stopped comic book publishers before (and it didn't stop what DC did to the costume). While in my day-job, I make a pretty penny from designing new logos for companies new and old (amongst playing Tetris and pool), I never understand why in the rush to be taken 'seriously', comics consistently refresh brands with proven market value.

The fact that comic covers seem to want to drop classic style cover captions, speech bubbles and star bursts in order to become "respectable", is complete BS, and probably the subject of another post in future. Today we stick with logos. Look at these guys;

Sure, the logo made 'Batman' look like two words, but damn it was cool - and just a slight update on the original. Flash's showed speed and Hulk's showed size and strength, without spelling it out in brick.

A logo's job is to label the product as a home to those that are brand loyal, and provide a seal of quality to users who have experienced the product before. Making products baring it's likeness on any crowded store front stand out from it's competitors, by bearing it's likeness.

With that in mind, do you think it's coincidence that many fans feel the X-Men haven't been the same since the 90's, yet it was around the time of the first X-Men movie where the logo stopped being the masthead every fan had grown up with and psychologically connected too?

Sure, it might not when any snobby, stuck up statue or get hands clapping in the local art gallery, but damn does it get hands clapping in comic stores and schools, and that should be what is important. Your eyes know this logo, it's familiar and it's 'home' - the fact it looks more 'comic' than 'high art' just means we should embrace it more.

Action Comics and The Amazing Spider-Man host two of the best logos ever created in my opinion. Not just in comics either. Action hits flawless retro design and comic cool in one punch, and with the cobwebs still roaring large behind the classic Spidey logo on the highest profile relaunch of the year, we obliterate all arguments that a new #1 (as the 2010's love to produce), need a new masthead in order to attract fans.

Let's be proud of our comic history as we show people late to the train what they missed out on. Keeping logos that punch above their weight and earn a fan following in their own right is just one way of doing this. And it sure as hell helps your eyes scan the racks for what you know works for you too.

 What do you think? 


  1. It's probably worth mentioning that the X-Men slanted masthead was itself a product of revamping of the original, with the title's 50th issue. I also think the changes to the Captain America and Sub-Mariner mastheads were for the better and much more distinctive--though I must say that the attempts to make the original Fantastic Four lettering more contemporary didn't pan out at all.

  2. Thanks Comicsfan! I'm not saying all the original logos are gold, but I do think we shouldn't be afraid to stop when we hit one that does the job. Fantastic Four is a great example too.

  3. Totally agree. If it ain't broke, don't try to reinvent the wheel. Sure there are some exceptions, like the X-Men logo, but overall, leave em be. I miss the "cheesy" captions too and the stories they used to tell to really entice you to buy the comic.

  4. Thanks Dale - glad I'm not the only cheesy caption miss-erer!

  5. Not at all mate, not at all;)

  6. Marvel never had a very distinctive logos but i love DC's logo from the 80s it's down right iconic but from a design stand point i have to admit the logo they had going before the relaunch was pretty slick albeit a bit corporate looking. but the relaunch logo compared to the previous ones is like comparing Sal Buscema penciling to steve ditko's on the Rom spaceknight series, nuff said.

  7. Ha - nice call Dave! Me, I'm a DC Bullet guy. I still think that's the king of the castle in terms of publishers logos... actually Dark Horse would take that title.