A look at the design of comic book logos & their covers

GO: COMEBACK

Sci-Fi/Crime mini series Comeback is another recent Image Comics title that, like Nowhere Men, takes its cover design from the 20th Century pulp era, especially reminiscent in places of Saul Bass’ film title work. The recurring fragmentation device works well within the context of the story and it creates a strong cohesive look across issues. The logo itself is the weakest aspect on the cover. While its very neutral and – thankfully – devoid of cheap effects and renderings its neither here or there, trying to incorporate two hooks:  the looping dots and flipping half of the word to reinforce the message, where one would have been more than enough — and would have allowed for a more interesting masthead.

GO: SNAPSHOT
Snapshot is the first new creator-owned series by Andy Diggle and Jock (of The Losers fame). The all black & white cover (the book is in B&W by the way) is, what you could call a typical (and I mean that in the best sense of the word) Jock cover where the artwork walks the thin line between illustration and a very deliberately executed design composition that constructs an iconic image. The only negative I can think of, is that the logo design is very similar to the logo for Scalped, another series where Jock was responsible for the cover and logo.But, the design fits the book like a glove — and the consistency in style and approach helps the book’s recognizability on the shelves.

GO: SNAPSHOT

Snapshot is the first new creator-owned series by Andy Diggle and Jock (of The Losers fame). The all black & white cover (the book is in B&W by the way) is, what you could call a typical (and I mean that in the best sense of the word) Jock cover where the artwork walks the thin line between illustration and a very deliberately executed design composition that constructs an iconic image. The only negative I can think of, is that the logo design is very similar to the logo for Scalped, another series where Jock was responsible for the cover and logo.
But, the design fits the book like a glove — and the consistency in style and approach helps the book’s recognizability on the shelves.

NO GO: Dark Universe and Eartha Kitt: Femme Fatale

To be honest, I could have picked any Bluewater comic for this review, but these two stood out for the glaring contrast between the design and the subject matter. First, we have Dark Universe, based on the works by William F. Nolan (who also wrote Logan’s Run). What is supposed to be a sic-fi/horror title has a logo design that has absolutely no relevance with the contents, not to mention that its faux marker felt/grunge treatment is badly executed — as is the top lockup. Surely a bit more consideration on placement wouldn’t have been out of place here — whereas Earth Kitt sits a bit better on the page, the logo is trying to pull of two moods that don’t work well. The overly cartoonish rendering of Eartha Kitt fits the artwork well enough, but the choice of running “Femme Fatale” in an extremely cursive decorative font breaks up any sense of unity that was going on in the first place. Its does’t connect with the name, and is nigh illegible from a distance. This title could have benefitted from a more confident push into full cartoon/pulp rendering to do it justice.

GO: Young Avengers #1
To be fair I’m not the biggest fan of the Young Avengers logo — or the Avengers logo for that matter. Its not bad — the A icon works very well — but there are some letter shapes that can work better (the curves on the G and S for example), and there are a few balance issues. However, the cover design takes all the strong points of the logo — the forward angle that gives the logo its momentum — and uses it as the grid for a great cover mosaic. I’m sure this type of layout is a one-off for the first issue, but its a great start by a fantastic creative team.

GO: Young Avengers #1

To be fair I’m not the biggest fan of the Young Avengers logo — or the Avengers logo for that matter. Its not bad — the A icon works very well — but there are some letter shapes that can work better (the curves on the G and S for example), and there are a few balance issues. However, the cover design takes all the strong points of the logo — the forward angle that gives the logo its momentum — and uses it as the grid for a great cover mosaic. I’m sure this type of layout is a one-off for the first issue, but its a great start by a fantastic creative team.

kickstandkids said: No question just happy you're posting these again. It's like a Christmas treat. Thank you!

Thanks, glad you like the blog! 

GO: THE BLACK BEETLE — NIGHT SHIFT
The Black Beetle is Francesco Francavilla’s love letter to the pulp fiction serials of the 30s and 40s. Francavilla is pulling out all the stops to really capture the finer points of the pulp design language, both for the cover designs and the related promo material to create a fully realised design language that is flexible but immediately recognisable.

GO: THE BLACK BEETLE — NIGHT SHIFT

The Black Beetle is Francesco Francavilla’s love letter to the pulp fiction serials of the 30s and 40s. Francavilla is pulling out all the stops to really capture the finer points of the pulp design language, both for the cover designs and the related promo material to create a fully realised design language that is flexible but immediately recognisable.

GO: WHERE IS JAKE ELLIS

The cover designs of the first volume of Jake Ellis (“Who is Jake Ellis”) where firmly rooted in 60s espionage/action movie genre. For this 2nd volume, the covers are an altogether much modern and cold affair, with giant outlined text overlaying tightly cropped closeup of the protagonists. Equally rooted in a design that echoes its spy/pulp roots. The high contrast makes sure you’re equally pulled in by the title and art. 

My only extremely tiny comment would be that I can tell the outline stroke is sitting on the outside of the type, making the edges slightly rounded instead of sharp. But thats just me. 

NO GO: ANTI
The first time I glanced at this cover I read the title as ANI or ANT. Only on closer inspection I realised the sword stands in for the T — and while its nothing new to swap a letter for an object related to the story (think Sporanos), the Anti logo is just too ornate for it to work. The logo itself is too detailed to really separate itself from the artwork, whilst the sword is too strong a departure from the neighbouring letters so it doesn’t read as one fluent word.

NO GO: ANTI

The first time I glanced at this cover I read the title as ANI or ANT. Only on closer inspection I realised the sword stands in for the T — and while its nothing new to swap a letter for an object related to the story (think Sporanos), the Anti logo is just too ornate for it to work. The logo itself is too detailed to really separate itself from the artwork, whilst the sword is too strong a departure from the neighbouring letters so it doesn’t read as one fluent word.

GO: SPAWN cover homages

I’ve always been a fan of well-executed cover homages, a staple of comic culture where artists will redraw iconic covers (usually classic number 1 issues) as a hat-tip to the originators. The current run of Spawn covers are no exception. Where most homages usually limit themselves to referencing artwork, the Spawn team have paid attention to all the details, redrawing logos, corner boxes titles, strap lines and credits. A few of my favourites here.

A nice collection of sketches showing how art and design work together nicely, and a free form approach the use and interpretation of the logo.

xombiedirge:

New Avengers #1 Prelimary Covers by Jock