In my review of the Batman/Spirit comic and issues of The Spirit, I praised the logo, but didn’t know who had created it. Two readers thought it was Rian Hughes, so I emailed him, and they were, indeed, correct. Rian writes:
Yes, the Spirit logo is mine. It’s more of a “rationalisation” of one of Will’s logos, the one that he came to think of as the definitive Spirit logo.
Rian goes on to provide some background info from Denis Kitchen, Will Eisner’s longtime friend and business partner, which I’ll paraphrase. Kitchen says he and Eisner found the three-dimensional versions of the logo used over a thirty-year period (see A, B and C below)
had the least appeal to buyers, and the original comic-book logo from the 1940s (see D above) had the most appeal. Will subsequently lessened or dropped the telescoping (3-D effect) and used the more straight-on logo types seen in E, F and G below.
Rian was encouraged to develop a new version from one of these three, and he chose version F. Rian writes:
In my version, I’ve rationalised the serifs – some sloped out, some in (the P and the I, for example), redesigned the tail of the R to more resemble the curl on the S, angled the top serifs on the T to again follow the angles in the other serifs, nested the “the” and Will’s signature within the boundaries of the overall logo (so it can be placed on the cover with less wasted space) and made the whole thing less tall, again for a better cover fit.
The “Mystery…Adventure” lettering was redrawn using the original as a template, but altering the lower case s to a less script-derived form, then added to the main logo as a roundel into which Darwyn drops a different illustration each issue.
I have tried to keep the original flavour, and hope that it’ll be immediately recognisable as the classic logo.
As I said in my review of the books, I think Rian’s version is very well done, in fact an improvement on the Eisner original in this case. Some of the alternate versions he sent me for this and the Batman/Spirit logos were also quite interesting. Here are two:
These use headshots, in the style of the old Batman logo, and I like them quite a lot, though I think they’d be harder to use on most covers both because of the increased height, and the fact that Rian’s headshots might conflict or clash with the rest of the cover art. Too bad, because they deserve to be seen. At least you can see them here! Thanks, Rian.
Other logo studies on my LOGO LINKS page.