Logo Study: THE HULK Part 3

Images © Marvel Characters, Inc.

In 1985 THE INCREDIBLE HULK gained this new logo, which is probably my least favorite for the title. The word HULK follows earlier versions in general, but is made with perfectly regular and smooth strokes with sharply squared corners. The one-point perspective telescoped drop shadow receding toward the bottom center is fine, but it all looks very mechanical and slick, which I find not a good match for this character. THE INCREDIBLE is much larger than previous versions in open block letters that are very similar to condensed sans-serif type, with the letters tight together. Nothing wrong with it, it again just seems kind of dull and inappropriate. At least the company name had receded to just the word MARVEL in the corner box, and not in a banner across the logo, so that’s an improvement.

With issue 340 in 1988 the stone block logo by Herb Trimpe from 1968 returned, still looking great to me, and a big improvement over the previous one. Perhaps editors and creators who had been fans and readers of the comic then wanted it back, I don’t know, but even though he’s barely on this cover, The Hulk is well represented by this logo.

Not that Hulk minded smashing it occasionally anyway! This time the stone block logo lasted for many years, until the end of the title’s run in 1999…

…though at some point a digital version was created and then compressed vertically to make a somewhat squashed-looking logo that left more room for cover art. Still works for me if not quite as well.

In 1988 I was freelancing full-time and began getting some work from Marvel to supplement my DC work. Editor Bobbie Chase asked me to design a new logo for She-Hulk, as a new title for her was planned. I don’t recall much about the process, and I have no sketches saved, just this final tight pencil version which was approved by Chase, and I assume writer/artist John Byrne. My approach was very much in the style of Gaspar Saladino, using wide, tightly-spaced block letters with angled stroke ends, and in a symmetrical arc, with THE SENSATIONAL topline in smaller open letters of the same style. There’s nothing very Hulkish about it, so I imagine I was told to stay away from that, and since the character took a new satirical humor direction, that may have been why. The open drop shadow with no connecting lines is also very much in the style of Gaspar, particularly in the 1970s. Below you can see my vertical centerline. The black X just below the logo is the focal point of the telescoping lines, while the lower X is the pivot point for my compass when I drew the arc lines.

Here’s the finished logo traced in ink on Denril plastic vellum with Castell TG1 technical drawing pens. I had a compass attachment for them, so would have used that on the arc lines. As I recall, everyone was quite pleased, and the book did well, always a good thing.

Here’s the cover of the first issue, with the character holding a small copy of the cover of her first solo title. Good fun, and a comic I enjoyed reading.

In 1994 this version of The Hulk joined Marvel’s 2099 futuristic line of comics. While many of the logos for the line were designed by Ken Lopez, he tells me he doesn’t think he worked on this one, so the designer remains a mystery. For the first time serifs have been used on the block letters of HULK, and points in the U probably suggest this characters pointy teeth, at least that’s my guess. I like the staggered vertical stroke lengths and the open telescoped drop-shadow. A different look for a different Hulk that I think works pretty well. I’m not fond of the 2099, which I think is from another Ken Lopez logo, but overall it’s not a bad job.

In 1998 I was asked to design a logo for a new Hulk title. I began by drawing two versions of the word HULK in pencil or marker, or perhaps both, then tracing them in Adobe Illustrator and developing the logos further on the computer, my standard method by then. Version 1 used roughened but square-cornered wide block letters in perspective, receding toward the bottom, with a heavy rough outline and staggered heights on the strokes. Version 2 used more rounded and notched letters that slanted toward the right, not in perspective. On both versions I added THE RAMPAGING using my own title fonts, a different one on each. Then I created alternates using open drop-shadows. Version 1B was the chosen winner.

On the cover the digital logo file has been stretched vertically to fit the logo space of the cover better, which in this case I think works fine. I believe this title didn’t last long, but I’m happy with the logo, which I think captures some of the energy and roughness of the character.

Next time I’ll wrap up this study with logos from the past decade. Other chapters and more logo studies can be found on my LOGO LINKS page.

2 thoughts on “Logo Study: THE HULK Part 3

  1. Jim Kosmicki

    I like the hyphen in the She-Hulk logo – the shortening and angle of the E leading into the mirror angle on the hyphen is a nice solution to the peskiness of including the hyphen in the first place.

  2. Martin Gray

    I missed that new Rampaging Hulk title completely. I’d likely have bought it on the basis of the logo’s sheer energy – it’s a winner, Todd.

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