It was early 1995, I had recently begun working on my first Apple desktop computer, and was beginning to create logos on it. Marvel asked me to design one for this upcoming two-issue prestige book, and the western theme seemed like an ideal time to try out some western-style fonts created by Adobe that came with the software I’d bought from them, either Illustrator or Photoshop, I don’t recall which.
All images © Marvel Characters, Inc.
The book would revamp Marvel’s early western hero who first appeared in 1948 in his own book, continuing until 1962, but not seen much, if at all, since then. I looked at his book logo, above, which was a very vanilla, standard open block letters with a small telescoped drop shadow in black. Very similar to other Marvel (then Timely) titles at the time, and having nothing in the logo that connected to the character. Nothing for me to work off there. But that was okay, it left me free to experiment with the fonts I had.
This first design used the font Birch for the character name, open, with a thick outline. In the banner below I used the font Blackoak for the subtitle, and several ornaments from Woodtype Ornaments, all fonts recently created by Adobe designers. Don’t know what put them on the Western theme, but it was handy for me! An open drop shadow behind all helped tie it together.
The second design used the Adobe font Rosewood for the character name. One useful and clever aspect of this font is that it comes in two faces, the Regular one seen here, and a Fill face that fills in the open areas in the Regular one. In other words, if you position the Fill directly behind the Regular, aligned perfectly, and put a color in it, it fills in the open areas with that color. That’s the kind of thing I usually have to create myself when using fonts with open areas. It also had a built-in black telescoped drop-shadow similar to the one on the original Two Gun Kid logo, a nice coincidence! The banner is the same except that I cut up the round ornament to create something suggesting a sunset here, and added a thinner drop shadow.
This third design is one I was pretty sure they wouldn’t use, as it’s too whimsical for a Western really, but I had fun creating the pistols and using the Woodtype Ornaments to suggest them firing. The pistol area would have had to be over a blank space in the art, or in a box, too.
The Marvel editors liked the second version best, but wanted to also see it in a vertical format, in case that worked better with the cover art.
But, in the end, they went with version 2 as is, as seen on the cover. Even when using the computer for logo designs, I often start with a hand-drawn sketch, but in this case fonts that were, I thought, perfect for the theme of the book, worked quite well.