Pulled From My Files #52: THE VISION LOGO

This and all images © Marvel.

In 1994 I was asked by Marvel editor Ralph Macchio to design a logo for a Vision miniseries. I submitted three marker sketches, but only two of them remain in my files. At the time Marvel had been stretching out some of my logos vertically, so I decided to design this one already very tall, with the V and N intended to run off the top edge. There are some notes on this sketch (hard to read in this scan) about curving the S more, and opening up space between I, O and N as well as the space inside the O. These were probably notes from Ralph. Continue reading

And Then I Read: WONDER WOMAN #12

Image © DC Comics.

Even-numbered issue, Wonder Woman Year One storyline. Diana has stopped terrorists attacking a San Diego mall, bringing her to the attention of the media and the world. Her military handlers and friends, including Steve Trevor, Lieutenant Candy, and Doctor Minerva are still trying to figure out what exactly her powers are, as is Diana herself. It seems they appear when she most needs them, unexpectedly. Steve has her out in the desert training when he learns that she cannot return home, a sacrifice made for him that he didn’t recognize before. Later, she tries to help interrogate the terrorists she captured using her magic lasso with very surprising results, see the image above. Great writing by Greg Rucka, lovely art by Nicola Scott. I’m still finding this storyline a more fun and appealing than the present-day one running in the odd-numbered issues, though I like that too.

Recommended.

Listening To: RINGWORLD by Larry Niven

This is the third complete science fiction novel I’ve enjoyed listening to on Audible, included as part of Amazon Prime. I own the book, but hadn’t read it since it came out in the 1970s, also true of many other Larry Niven books. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy his writing.

The Ringworld concept is a huge one, and a fascinating idea: an artificial world in the shape of a ring orbiting a star. The ring is so huge that if the surface of our own world were made flat, many thousands (perhaps millions?) of them could fit on the surface. It rotates enough to provide gravity, and there are very high walls on the edges to contain atmosphere. Four explorers crash-land on the surface, their ship shot down by automatic anti-meteorite weapons, and most of the book involves them trying to find a way to repair their ship and get it to the edge of the ring so they can escape Ringworld.

Two are from Earth. Louis Wu is a man just celebrating his 200th birthday, but in fine physical shape due to longevity drugs. He’s done and seen it all on Earth, and in Niven’s “known space,” comprising a number of inhabited worlds and competing civilizations. The very dangerous expedition to Ringworld appeals to him as something new and different. Teela Brown, a beautiful young woman, has been chosen in an unlikely way by the leader of the group not because she and Louis are having an affair, but something more scientific (at least in this book). She is extremely lucky. The other two members are non-human. Speaker-to-Animals is a Kzin, a tiger-like humanoid whose warlike race has fought and been defeated by humans and others, and is now learning the ways of civilized diplomacy. Speaker is the ambassador of the Kzin on Earth. Finally, the leader of the group, at least initially, is Nessus, a non-humanoid of the species Pierson’s Puppeteer. He has two heads, and other unusual anatomy, and his overriding personality trait, like all his species, is cowardice. The fact that he is even willing to go on this dangerous expedition suggests he may be insane by Puppeteer standards.

There’s plenty more plot leading up to the launch of the spacecraft “Lying Bastard” from the Puppeteer homeworld to Ringworld, which they have discovered, giving plenty of time for the reader (or listener) to get to know the characters and for them to learn about each other, all on a fascinating idea-filled backdrop of Niven’s “known space,” but once they arrive on Ringworld itself, the plot becomes one of exploration of unknown wonders, survival of unexpected dangers, and communication with the few other intelligent beings with some knowledge of Ringworld they can find. Most of the place has reverted to very primitive societies who understand little or nothing about where they live, and who worship the unseen Ringworld engineers as gods.

It’s a big book full of big ideas, entertaining characters, and exciting adventures. I have to find time to reread more of the Ringworld books now. Highly recommended.

And Then I Read: HAL JORDAN AND THE GL CORPS 9

Image © DC Comics.

Writer Robert Venditti is bringing out the big DCU space villains. Up first is Starro the Conqueror, that starfish-shaped creature who takes over minds with his face-hugger children, as seen above. But the real threat is Brainiac, who has led the Corps into a trap and into one of his “bottles.” Meanwhile, Hal Jordan, presumed dead, has a fascinating encounter with the very first Green Lantern he ever met, and Sinestro’s daughter, Soranik, is trying to help the people of Xudar, where things are happening, with her group of Yellow Lanterns. Lots going on, all of it interesting, and both John Stewart and Guy Gardner have enjoyable moments. Nice art by Rafa Sandoval and Jordi Tarragona, too.

Recommended.

Incoming: BLACK HAMMER SECRET ORIGINS (Vol. 1)

The first collection of the BLACK HAMMER series just arrived, containing issues 1 to 6. I believe this is the only continuing series I’ve ever lettered for Dark Horse, and I signed on because I liked the creative team and the proposal I got, and thought it would be fun to work on. It is, and I’m enjoying the stories and art immensely. If you haven’t given this title a try, here’s a great way to do it. Jeff Lemire describes it as a mix of old-school superhero comics and his own work on titles like ESSEX COUNTY and SWEET TOOTH. I’d say that’s about right. Each issue here contains an origin story of sorts, with characters that will seem somewhat familiar but with an overlay of weirdness that permeates the entire series. It has what I think are some brilliant moments, and Dean Ormston’s art has never looked better, in my opinion. Dark Horse’s website says it’s on sale March 29th.