KEZ WILSON’S DC LOGOS Part 2

glemeralddawn1_1989

All images © DC Comics, Inc.

In 1989 the Green Lantern franchise began a relaunch with this title. While the top line is the familiar Ira Schnapp design from the 1960s, EMERALD DAWN was newly designed by Kez. The contrast between the two words is vast and visually striking, with DAWN dominating, but behind, giving balance. Everything about the two words is opposite, with EMERALD being thin, rounded, almost art deco, and DAWN being extremely bold, square and blocky. The fact that it still works so well is a tribute to the design skills of Kez Wilson.

greenlantern1_1990

In 1990 a new monthly GL title also featured a logo by Kez. This one does not work as well for me. LANTERN has a larger L that overlaps too much of the A, and the rest of the letterforms are not as bold and blocky as DAWN in the one above. GREEN follows the general shape of EMERALD above, but I don’t find the style as appealing. The flames around it are a good idea, tying into previous logos. Despite what I think, DC loved this design, and it stayed on the book for 50 issues, quite a long run.

glcorpsquarterly1_1992

This spinoff title from 1992 incorporates Kez’s GL logo, but Kez tells me he didn’t design the new part, so that may have been added by Curtis King, or someone else.

doompatrol26_1989

In 1989, DOOM PATROL was being written by Grant Morrison, in a wildly different version from what had gone before. This striking new cover design began with issue 26.

doompatrol27_1989

The word DOOM was changed further on issue 27, giving the double O a unique bounce, and a blended shape that suggests the infinity symbol.

doompatrollogo

Here’s the original of that piece from the DC files, showing a lot more of the D than appeared on the covers. Kez says, “I can’t remember if I was responsible for the design, or if I heavily art directed it.” My guess is that Kez did this hand-drawn part, and assembled the rest of the type on the logo area as well from a commercial font. The unusual shape of the logo area, dividing the cover vertically, was a real attention-getter, and one that remains fresh today. In a way it predicted the kind of unique design approaches DC would use in their Vertigo line in coming years. This logo stayed on the book until issue 49.

flash36_1990

On issue 36, in 1990, a new logo appeared on FLASH. This one was a collaborative effort. Steve Bové, one of the designers, remembers it this way:

A new editorial team was set to take over FLASH with issue #36. DC Art Director Richard Bruning showed me a few sketches done for a new logo. He asked if I had any ideas. I only had one but it was a good one! I considered Steranko’s X-Men design, added a lightning underscore and showed the design to Keith “Kez” Wilson (Assistant Art Director), who asked if he could tweak it. What he and Bruning did was essentially redesign the piece and that created a logo that could be used in many different ways.

The new logo broke the mold in one major way: it slanted to the left, or backwards, but the long lightning bolt coming off the H, and the triangular points representing the old speed lines still allowed the logo to have the appearance of forward motion. Notice how there are both positive points, as at the top of the F, and negative or open points, as under the horizontal strokes. The F is the largest letter, and the space above the others is filled with a condensed tag line, THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE! A little hard to read, but at least it gives the logo a horizontal top line with no awkward space left open. The letter forms have an art deco feel, especially the S, but are modernized by the points and lightning bolt for an overall pleasing result. While a collaborative effort, Kez apparently had an important role in this design.

blackcanary1_1991

Another collaboration between Steve Bové and Kez Wilson was this logo from 1991. I found out from DC that Steve was paid for the design, and assumed it was all his, but Steve set me right, saying it was Kez’s design, adding:

If you notice, the logo plays off of Keith’s Batman and Detective logos with the bird graphic. I did a lot of work like this where I just did the final rendering.

blackcanarylogo

Here’s the original from the DC files. I’ve always liked this logo on every level: the contrast between the words, the graphic use of black in the word BLACK, the artful shape of CANARY in upper and lower case, combining rounded and pointed forms, and the bird shape behind, pulling it all together and separating the logo from the cover art. Yes, it’s nothing like a canary, but who cares, it works! Particularly interesting is the way the strokes of the R and Y meet, another unique design element by Kez. Really well done!

justicesociety1_1991

The Justice Society resurfaced after a long absence in this mini-series of 1991. Based on the style and the time period, I suspected Kez might have designed it, and he agreed, saying, “I do recall having something to do with that logo.” So, perhaps Kez did the initial design and it was rendered by someone else, as happened with the Bové logos above. The same logo, without the box behind, was used when the team returned in a monthly title in 1992.

robin1_1991

This ROBIN logo from 1991 was a collaborative effort by several designers, including me, and I’ve written extensively about that HERE. Essentially, though, the primary design, including the R symbol used on the costume, is by Kez. (I’ve just updated the Robin logo study linked here with new information from Kez.) This logo had one of the longest runs of any DC logo from 1990 to the present, and is still popular.

Next time we’ll wrap up this study, beginning with Kez’s largest logo design assignment, the IMPACT line of 1991. Other chapters and more logo studies can be found on my LOGO LINKS page.

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