All images © DC Comics, Inc. and Marvel Characters, Inc.
This time I’ll looking at the first set of six Amalgam issues published by Marvel. The design process was a little different there, with designers working with the editor of each book, and there were several, I think. If they got approval from others up the chain of command, I didn’t hear about it.
Marvel began their 1996 Amalgam issues with the above title, combining Batman with Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. The logo design by JG Roshell of Comicraft is essentially a new design, though the style used for BRUCE WAYNE is, I think, drawn from this BATMAN logo by Alex Jay:
JG found a font with similar letterforms, Albertus MT, and heavied it up for the words in BRUCE WAYNE, and also the cover lettering at the bottom. For the rest of the name, the letters came from another font, Copperplate Bold. JG’s overall design combining a bat shape with a pointy-edged shield is new, as best I can tell, and he was kind enough to share these design sketches with us:
The first two have the whole concept down, but viewed straight on. In the second one the word S.H.I.E.L.D. is emphasized more. It works well, but the proportions mean it would either have to take up a very large part of the cover, or be used quite small.
In this design the shield has been angled strongly, allowing the overall shape to better fit into the usual logo area of a cover, and that’s what they went with, but minus the three-dimensional features on the shield that probably took lots of extra time to create. I have to say I agree with that decision, as the shield is complex enough without them, and reads better as used. The drop shadow on BRUCE WAYNE stayed as in the final sketch, helping to set it apart from the shield. A good design, especially considering how long the title is!
Next up was this title combining elements of the Wonder Woman mythos with Marvel’s The Punisher. The logo is again by JG Roshell and combines the Alex Jay Wonder Woman logo shown last time with the Punisher’s skull symbol, and letterforms slightly resembling this Punisher logo:
I see a resemblance mainly in the R and the tall, narrow shapes, really. JG has also given me design sketches for this one.
Version 1 is a completely new, classy circular design combining a huge star in a circle with the Punisher skull and WW symbol, fronted by a banner with the title in the font called Birch. Great original design, and obviously following a circular theme, but again probably not chosen because of the shape, which would be hard to fit on a cover.
The other two versions are structural variants on the final design, with the second one the final. One nice touch is the line of bullet holes across the bottom banner, where the WW logo would have stars. Well done!
Next was this comic combining Marvel’s evil Magneto with DC’s Metal Men. The logo is by me, the first one that was commissioned from Marvel, and they got a good deal on it. They were planning a MAGNETO mini-series, and were able to get two logos for the price of one!
I had no problem with that. I created the MAGNETO part first to work separately, then did the rest using the same letterforms. Unfortunately the title is so long that the logo had to have the AGNETO part greatly shortened, and the tagline quite small to fit everything into the space on the cover left by the artist. I’m not happy with the result, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Here’s the way the logo looked when I turned it in:
At least it looked better, and more as intended, on the mini-series. By the way, Marvel didn’t seem interested in trying to incorporate any version of the Metal Men logo in the design. Each company tended to want their character logos to dominate. Funny how that worked.
This one is the exception to the above, as it’s a Marvel comic that features a DC-style logo. The book’s hero is a combination of The Flash, Ghost Rider and DC’s The Demon, but the logo letters are very much in the style of this FLASH one:
with flames added similar to those of the GHOST RIDER logo:
The FLASH logo was something of a team effort by DC, but the one shown was largely by Curtis King. I don’t know who created the GHOST RIDER logo, but I like it.
The SPEED DEMON logo was also the work of JG Roshell, and he’s lent me these design sketches:
The first is very different from the final, and shows JG still working that circular motif. This time he incorporates it into a more logo-shaped design above, while showing it rounded below. The font is once again Birch, and not particularly appropriate I think, but I love the emblem. Marvel wanted something else, though.
These both show the final title treatment with different flames. The final version is closer to the lower one, but with the flames going the other way. Not a bad idea, and well executed.
This is my favorite of the Amalgam logos I designed, for a character that mashed together Spider-Man and Superboy. The idea might have come from Marvel editor Tom Brevoort, as I know I worked with him on this one, to combine the classic SUPERMAN logo as revised by the Glaser studio:
with the SPIDER-MAN logo I created for Marvel in 1994, itself based on an earlier SABRETOOTH logo I’d done for them.
The combination of the classic rounded, three-point perspective telescoped letterforms with the spiky, dangerous new shapes worked in a way that surprised me.
Here’s my hand-drawn sketch for the final version, the only way I’ve ever been able to make that SUPERMAN style work. It was traced later in Adobe Illustrator. I also submitted two other ideas:
The first one is a straight-line version of the Marvel logo, no Superman influence at all. The second follows a curved arc similar to that of the original Superboy logo by Ira Schnapp:
Marvel loved the first idea, as did I, so I’m glad they went with it.
The final title from Marvel in 1996 was this one, combining Marvel’s X-MEN with DC’s DOOM PATROL, another pretty good match-up, as the original teams were always considered to be similar. The logo is completely in the style of the X-MEN logo designed by Jim Steranko, seen here:
with not a hint of any DOOM PATROL logo. That’s what Marvel asked me for, and I had fun doing it.
Again, a hand-drawn sketch was the best way to start it, as the perspective on this logo is nearly as tricky as that of Superman…nearly. (The curve on Superman adds one further complication.)
Here’s the final, after tracing the sketch in Adobe Illustrator, and then making the X bigger, probably at Marvel’s request. I also heavied up the outlines of the front faces of the letters to give them more impact.
Next time we’ll look at the six Amalgam titles released by DC in 1997.
More chapters and other logo studies on my LOGO LINKS page.