For issue 280, October, 1981, DC wanted a new logo to celebrate the return of Superboy to the book, and probably also to replace my previous version which, because of the backward slant of the letters, didn’t go well with cover lettering above it. I designed this logo around the large L, which was a legion symbol at the time — in fact, you can see it on their headquarters and flag in the background.
Here’s the logo from the DC files. Since the L had serifs, I also gave the S and H serifs, but kept the rest of the letters sans-serif, in a square style with some rounded corners, not too different from the previous one. It’s a very long name, and I was happy with the way I got everything tucked in together, though I never liked having THE in the L. Behind the letters is a very deep telescoped drop shadow receding to a single perspective point below. I went the full telescoping route, drawing in all the connecting lines from all the corners. The result is too busy, but if colored well, that was less obvious. (Wasn’t colored well on that first cover…). This logo lasted for a few years.
When artist Keith Giffen was drawing the book, he created this giant embattled logo for issue 293. Pretty cool, and I’m glad I didn’t have to design that one!
And for the final issue of this run, Keith asked for a special logo to fit into the art down lower on the cover. Keith is always thinking of something different to try, and it’s kind of surprising that he was allowed to do this one, since the title of the book was usually required to be at the top in those days, but perhaps having Paul Levitz as his writing partner helped him sell it. Gaspar Saladino lettered the logo on this one.
The book didn’t cease publication, though, it just changed names, and I lettered the new topline, TALES OF THE to the existing logo. This added two more words to an already long title, but it fit in well, and at least I finally got that THE out of the L. While TALES OF continued with new stories for its first year, after that it was a reprint book.
I’m adding this logo in this spot thanks to information supplied by Lee Carey, who told me it was used in advertising for the new Legion book on higher grade paper that was about to be released (see below). The logo is by Gaspar Saladino, and it’s a handsome one, if rather tall. It was done for a house ad, an in-house DC advertisement for one of their own books. Lee writes, “No actual image was used, just a comics shaped rectangle featuring the above logo and the DC Bullet, being overlapped by a black and white copy of the cover of issue 313 to advertise a subscription for the two new titles.” Thanks, Lee, you’ve solved the mystery of this logo. It was done just for that ad, but someone put it in the logo file in case it was ever wanted again, where it lay, forgotten, until I unearthed it on my recent trip to scour the DC logo files.
Launched that same month, August 1984, was a new Legion title printed on better paper, and with higher production values overall, one of DC’s line of offset comics designed to appeal to fans and sell through comics shops rather than on newsstands. I designed this logo as well, though it doesn’t show up very well on this scan because it was printed in silver ink on the first issue.
Here’s the original logo, drawn in ink on Denril plastic vellum, and angled to just fit on the small size vellum page I used. I was asked for a solid black logo at first, and I went with a very geometric type-like design, quite different from most comics logos of the time. Little did I know that comics logos would later evolve away from the hand-drawn look and toward type in the coming years. Perhaps this was an effort to suggest a more mainstream and adult approach for this comic, though the flamboyant costumes kind of works against that. Hard to see, but the letters SUP are a pasted-on photostat. I guess the spacing between the P and the E needed to be smaller, and that was the easiest way to do it in those non-computer days.
Once they saw the solid logo in print, DC quickly asked for an outline version, to read better against Giffen’s often-busy cover art.
I did two versions, one with a heavier outline. These were probably just traced over the solid version on vellum.
Here’s that heavier outline on a very effective cover by Steve Lightle.
In 1985 this hilarious one-shot made fun of the entire Legion concept in the way only Keith Giffen could have done. My logo got an edit from someone, probably Gaspar.
The Legion was selling well, and very popular with fans, so in early 1986 DC put out this miniseries featuring the three original Legionnaires from that first appearance in 1958. I believe the logo is by Gaspar Saladino, a very creative design that makes great use of the L, incorporating a lightning effect, and tying it into the giant 3.
Here’s the original logo from the DC files. The letterforms are sans-serif, but using rounded shapes effectively for contrast, and I love the angles on the NN, which echo those on the stroke below. The open drop shadow helped pop the main letters off the cover and made room for a second color. Well done.
Also in 1986, another cool cover by Steve Lightle required a special logo version, a shattered one. Still pre-computer, the only way to get there was to have someone draw it, and I was asked to do that.
Here’s the shattered logo from the DC files. I probably worked from Lightle’s layout. Kind of fun to trash something you designed for once…
At the end of 1986, another Legion mini-series spun out of the LEGENDS event. I believe Gaspar also designed this logo, this time using more square block letters and having a great time with those giant C’s at each end. Another very creative and interesting design, and the one point perspective adds to the symmetry, while a small, subtle black drop shadow gives the letters enough weight to read well against the art.
There was one more Legion spinoff before the end of the 1980s, an ongoing series this time. We’ll continue with that in the next part of this study.
Other chapters and more logo studies can be found on my LOGO LINKS page.