Logo Design: THE BLACK CAT

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All images © Marvel Characters, Inc.

Created in 1978 by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard, Felicia Hardy, The Black Cat appeared in Spider-Man comics as a somewhat reformed burglar and occasional ally of Peter Parker. In 1994 I was asked by Marvel to submit logo designs for a new mini-series featuring her, which I was happy to do. It must have been early in 1994, as I did not yet have my first Mac computer and did this logo entirely by hand.

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This first marker sketch included a story title that was ultimately not wanted in the logo. It and the character’s name were placed in decorative banners, while the open letters of THE BLACK CAT arced diagonally between them, and was meant to suggest cat claws. As I’ve often said, Marvel liked the pointy logo approach then. A black drop shadow gave the letters some depth. The letterforms are a bit odd in places and somewhat uneven in weight, but I thought it worked pretty well.

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I usually started with three designs, but am missing number 2 for this logo. Design 3 loses the arc, and puts the logo on two horizontal rows. The letterforms of this one again suggest cat claws, though the overlapping creates some strange visual disconnects to me now. I kind of like the top line being in the same style as the bottom line, but having THE tag along at the end of that first line is not great idea.

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After some feedback from Marvel I did another version of design 1. That would have been marked 1A, and I no longer have it, but I suspect it was very similar to 1B, above. Marvel liked the arced BLACK CAT, but wanted the rest of the words in smaller open letters. I made some adjustments to the letterforms of BLACK CAT, most noticeably in the L. The two A’s are still rather odd, and there are some other things that I’d do differently now, but Marvel was happy, so I inked up a final version on plastic vellum and sent it in.

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Here’s how it looked in print. They’ve tilted it a bit to the right, which works fine. Not one of my better efforts, but it does have that attractively dangerous pointiness going for it, and the curves give it some grace and energy. I don’t know if this logo was used after the mini-series ended, but a later mini-series co-featuring the character went with something else, so this logo probably didn’t see print again after the mid 1990s.

There you have it, a short cat logo tale. More logo posts are listed on my LOGO LINKS page.

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