Category Archives: Logo Studies

A Milestone

TriumphKlein

Image © DC Comics.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, I have a series of posts and photo albums there called “Logo of the Day.” Above is the one I posted today, with this comment:

Logo of the Day #1310: TRIUMPH designed by Todd Klein for the first issue dated June 1995. Photocopy of original logo from my files, image © DC Comics. I consider it a minor triumph to have reached age 65 today while still doing the work in comics I enjoy!

It does seem odd to me that I’ve managed to find a career in comics, or even in art at all, when that seemed so unlikely to me when I was growing up. It wasn’t even on my radar, to be honest. As a kid I loved to read, draw, play music, and lots of other things. If I looked ahead to a career back then, I thought I might possibly become a writer, but couldn’t foresee that as a secure living. In grade school, a vocational test decided I should become a forest ranger. I thought that sounded okay, I loved the outdoors. In grade school I did well in math and science, but less well in high school with more competition. I didn’t head in the Art direction until senior year when I finally realized art class was my favorite, and had been all four years. I went to art school for two years, then ran out of money and had to get a mundane job to support myself. I worked at several paperwork jobs, and at one was able to use some of my art training to design air conditioner user manuals.

In 1977, on a whim, I put together an art portfolio and applied for jobs at Marvel and DC. The Marvel job was for Art Director in the magazine division, and I wasn’t close to being qualified for it. At DC, my portfolio was looked at by Vince Colletta, who told me I didn’t have the skills to draw comics, but he must have seen something in those air conditioner manual paste-ups. He introduced me to the Production Manager, Jack Adler. Jack liked my portfolio, and he needed someone to fill in for a vacationing production staffer for two weeks. I was thrilled to accept! I took those two weeks as vacation from my current job, and had a wonderful time working at DC with people like John Workman, Bob LeRose and Bob Rozakis. At the end of the two weeks, the vacationing employee gave notice, he’d taken another job, so I was offered the position. I took it, and have been in comics ever since.

And here I am at 65, and still doing it! What a strange and wonderful thing.

Logo Study: DC Comics Cover Logos 1939-1949 Part 3

1947_ADateWithJudyAll images © DC Comics

In 1947 National Comics started a new licensed title that was a teen humor book based on a popular radio show. The logo style definitely says “humor,” and the word JUDY is large and well-designed. A DATE WITH is not so good, having uneven shapes and strokes, but maybe that was intentional, to make it more fun and jazzy. Continue reading

Logo Study: DC Comics Cover Logos 1939-1949 Part 2

1941_AllFlashQuarterly_AAAll images © DC Comics.

FLASH COMICS had been a success for All-American Comics, one of two sister companies under the DC symbol along with National Comics, and in 1941 they began a new title for the character. Officially ALL-FLASH, the QUARTERLY was short-lived as the title soon became more frequent. This is one of my favorite logos from the All-American roster. ALL-FLASH is beautifully rendered in a dynamic brush style that looks appealing and fresh, though it was probably not rendered in single brush strokes as it appears. QUARTERLY is equally masterful square-ended letters, and the entire logo is in “show-card” style, meaning the kind of hand-lettering then very common in many places, from movie-theater lobbies to department stores to advertising in magazines. I have no idea who designed it, it looks unlike any other logos from the company, but it’s tempting to think it could have been designed by veteran letterer/designer Ira Schnapp, who had done plenty of show-card lettering in the past. We have no way of knowing if Ira worked on any All-American logos, but he could have. The logo was slightly redrawn a few times for later issues, but always followed this model closely. Continue reading

Logo Study: DC Comics Cover Logos 1939-1949 Part 1

1939_Superman1-2All Images © DC Comics. SUPERMAN 1 and 2, 1939.

In a previous blog post, “DC’S EARLIEST LOGOS,” I considered who might have designed the logos from the beginnings of the company in 1935 starting with NEW FUN and continuing through titles like NEW COMICS, MORE FUN, the landmark DETECTIVE COMICS in 1937, ACTION COMICS in 1938 and a revamped ADVENTURE COMICS the same year. This series of articles continues that study for another 11 years, during which time only 50 new titles began. That seems a small number today, but for the first half of the 40s, World War Two kept paper in short supply, and launching new titles was difficult. Growth at the company known in the 1940s as National Comics was slow, and many of the new titles were actually put out by a sister company, All-American Comics, begun in 1939. And before you ask, I’ve decided to run all the logos in grayscale, as I think it allows one to focus better on the design elements. Continue reading

Logo Design: COMIC-CON PREVIEW

ComicConPreview1BlogImages © Entertainment Weekly

On June 10th I received an email from Jennie Chang, the managing art director of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY magazine, asking if I was available to do a logo for their upcoming Comic-Con Preview insert. We talked terms and price, and I agreed to do it. She told me her design director had found my website, and they loved the logo samples I have up there. They were thinking they wanted something similar to my NEW TEEN TITANS logo: Continue reading