Logo Design: TIME COP

Images © Dark Horse and the respective copyright holders

In 1992 I was contacted by Dark Horse editor Jerry Prosser and asked to design a logo for a new feature, “Time Cop,” being prepared for their new anthology title, DARK HORSE COMICS. I’d done about a half dozen logos for the company previously, but always cover logos. This one would only appear on the stories, but I was told they wanted to put some extra effort into it because they planned to try to market the property to Hollywood. I was happy to comply. Jerry explained it was a science fictional police story, and I believe he sent me the character symbol seen in place of the O in the sketch above, done with markers on typing paper. I used that as my style guide, giving all the letters angled corners to match the angles of the emblem (which I realize now is the same shape as Superman’s chest symbol, I must have noticed that then, too). That symbol, by the way, cleverly includes a stylized sand dial in white while also suggesting a somewhat robotic head. I haven’t seen the original stories in many years, so I can’t say what the character or his costume looked like. But I felt pretty confident that this approach would sell the idea well. The double open drop shadow gave it another somewhat futuristic touch, I thought, and would give an option for two additional colors if wanted. Incidentally, the drop shadow is not in perspective. Instead it drops down vertically in an isometric projection. One sketch is all I did, and Jerry must have liked it and given me the okay to go to final.

Here’s the original final logo from my files, which means Dark Horse was kind enough to send the original back to me, something that doesn’t happen often. It was inked on Denril plastic vellum over the sketch with no changes as far as I can see, then taped onto a piece of illustration board and given a paper vellum flap for protection (folded up here). One of those rare easy logo jobs where everyone is on the same page and it sails right through.

The story appeared in the first three issues of DARK HORSE COMICS in 1992. I understand that’s the character’s head, third one down with the red goggles. If I had those issues, they’re long gone, and I haven’t found any examples online. If anyone has them and would like to send me a scan of the title page with the logo on it, I’ll drop it in here with a thank you credit.

Dark Horse did indeed succeed in selling the property as a film vehicle for Claude Van Damme, and it did quite well. I was curious to see if my logo would show up there, but as you can see, they went another way, and also condensed the name into one word.

Dark Horse did the comics adaptation of the film, of course, and used the movie logo. I see that the character emblem here is the same shape as the one I was given, but is filled two different ways on the chest and belt. Later the character appeared on a short-lived TV show as well, but as far as I know the logo I did never resurfaced.

There you go, a very short logo story! Lots more on my LOGO LINKS page.

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