In 1996 Captain America, along with other popular Marvel characters, were “lent out” to the creators at Image Comics, who produced new series with them. Cap went to Rob Liefeld, and his series returned to this logo from the 1960s, flag stripes and all.
When that contract was up, the character returned to Marvel early in 1998 with a new relaunch, but using the same logo I had created in 1995. With the same writer and penciller, in some ways it was as if the Liefeld version had never happened, which seemed to be what the fans wanted.
A bit later in 1998 I was asked by Marvel to submit ideas for a new spinoff title, CAPTAIN AMERICA, SENTINEL OF LIBERTY, which I was happy to do.
Once again working on the computer, these first two samples began with a font of my own design. The longer title could have been a problem, but I knew the emphasis should be on the character’s name, and I treated the second line as a subtitle, running it at the bottom between the extended legs of the A’s. To help balance the composition I added a row of stars on each side. The second version, with one-point perspective receding toward the top and an optional second color area inside the letters of CAPTAIN AMERICA, is the one they ultimately chose, with one major change.
These samples used another of my own fonts, and this time put CAPTAIN AMERICA on one line, with a curved intersection allowing SENTINEL OF LIBERTY to be somewhat larger. As you can see, each of these was shown straight on, and with a similar perspective version. This one works, but the font is a little harder to read because of all the similar vertical strokes.
These samples used two common commercial fonts, Univers Extra Black for the first two lines and Copperplate Bold for the third, in a banner. I think this one works, too, and in fact is the most mainstream of the three. Kind of glad they chose one based on a font of my own, though.
This is a revised Version 2 with a box behind the subtitle, to help it read better in front of cover art. Almost what they wanted…
…but the final connected the A’s with a horizontal bar, replacing the box, instead. I don’t have a copy of this version in my files, so I think this final change was done by someone in Marvel’s production department. It works fine and is a good idea. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the way they compressed the logo horizontally here to make it fit better. It gives a slightly distorted look, especially to the stars. Some issues used the logo in correct proportions, I think.
Over in the main Cap title, the logo received this slightly different treatment, with a new outline around the letters, and the extended left leg of the capital A retracted.
This run ended with issue 50 in 2002, and the classy cover by Gene Ha used the favorite 1960s logo one more time.
I don’t usually include one-shots in these logo studies, but this one from 2001 — part of the Universe X series — I thought deserved inclusion because Alex Ross, the artist and logo designer, has distilled the name Captain America down to it’s essence in CAP, and it still works fine. The character in this alternate-reality Marvel series is a much older and war-ravaged guy, and the logo reflects that. Alex tightly pencilled the letters and I inked them digitally. Here’s the logo as I sent it in:
The horizontal version was used on a variant cover. The perspective of the telescoped drop-shadow had to be adjusted for that.
Another new Captain America series debuted in 2002, from the Marvel Knights imprint at Marvel. The first issue featured this handsome type treatment in lieu of a logo, with a slab-serif font similar to Clarendon Condensed, but not quite that.
From issue 2 onward the series used this font resembling old-fashioned handwriting for Cap’s name. There are dozens of similar commercial fonts out there. I believe this one is Voluta Script. An interesting choice, providing a completely different direction for the character’s name than any used in the past. On the plus side, it leaves lots of cover space for art. On the minus side, it’s a little hard to read, but I like it and think it was a good, creative choice. And one could almost imagine that Steve Rogers (if one follows the original continuity) who had been raised in the 1930s, might have handwriting looking something like this.
Next time we’ll conclude this logo study by wrapping up developments in the current decade.
More logo studies and other chapters on my LOGO LINKS page.