Beginning in 1996, and following on the success of the Batman Animated series of cartoons, Superman Animated aired on TV sporting the logo above, created, I believe, by someone involved with the animation studio. The logo was obviously inspired by the Alex Jay logo first seen on THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #425, in part 5 of this logo study series, but it has a more extreme curve and perspective, and deeper telescoping.
Not long after I was asked to do a comic book logo for a new series by DC based on the animated show. Basically, I had to create the word ADVENTURES to match the curve and perspective of SUPERMAN. I recall it being rather difficult because the perspective on SUPERMAN wasn’t consistent, but I got there eventually.
The regular Superman titles got a striking new trade dress and logo treatment in 2002. Here are two of them:
These were created by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios, more famous now for creating the new DC symbol that debuted in 2005, also seen in an earlier chapter of this logo study. Beatman’s Superman cover treatments used the previous logos in a new way, with the addition of a large three-dimensional S symbol. I thought they were quite striking and attractive, though at times the colors made them a little hard to read, as in the ACTION COMICS sample above. That’s not the fault of the designer, though.
As happens with ever-increasing rapidity these days, Beatman’s logo treatments were put aside, and some new ones were commissioned. I was asked to take another shot at THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. This time I suggested dropping “THE” altogether, as I think it’s implied, and I made ADVENTURES as large as possible, giving it nearly the same weight as SUPERMAN, with OF small in script, following the style often used by Ira Schnapp. The telescoping on this ADVENTURES is the deepest so far, and I think the logo works quite well.
I was also asked to redo the ACTION COMICS logo once again. This time the editor and art director wanted to go back to the original Ira Schnapp logo from the book’s beginning, but with a few small changes. The first thing I did was to recreate Schnapp’s logo on the computer, but as if it had been freshly drawn, with all the corners sharp, all the line weights even and consistent:
The main change wanted was to downplay the word COMICS, placing the emphasis on ACTION. I created three versions for them to consider:
Of these, they liked the first one best (also my favorite), and went with it, though for the final logo, they asked for the outlines on ACTION to be even thicker, something which was easy to do on the computer. Here’s the printed version:
I’m very happy with the way this turned out. It goes full circle, returning to the first very successful logo design from 1938 by Ira Schnapp, with just enough contemporary input from me to make it work for today, I think.
For issue 828 in 2005, the logo got a temporary new topline just for this issue, but more importantly, ACTION was given a new drop-shadow to give the word more weight and better readability. I like that change.
And it remains thus to the present day. There aren’t many comics logos that are strong enough to remain appealing for over 70 years, but this is one of them!
One more recent Superman logo to consider, this one for ALL STAR SUPERMAN, created by award-winning designer Chip Kidd. The most surprising thing to me about this design is the placement and size of ALL STAR, just below the DC logo. I think most readers would miss the fact that it’s part of the title, and I only confirmed it by checking the indicia inside! But Kidd places the emphasis on SUPERMAN, where it belongs, with a very three-dimensional scroll-away reminiscent of the opening text on the Star Wars films. Certainly eye-catching, and though “MAN” is rather small, I doubt there are many readers who wouldn’t find it easy to read.
That’s it for this logo study, hope you’ve enjoyed it. More chapters and other logo studies on my LOGO LINKS page.