Images © DC Comics, Inc.
By the end of its run, STRANGE ADVENTURES was a design mess. The Gaspar Saladino logo, fine in itself, was placed below an ugly barbell topline that did not go with it well at all, while the cover art was in a separate square box below all that. The art is reprinted from an issue edited by Julius Schwartz in the magazine’s best period, and I’d guess the stories are all reprints as well. This trade dress (all the type and logo material at the top) was typical for most DC titles at the time, which I call the dark days of design at DC.
After the book had been cancelled, the title made one last appearance…sort of…on the cover of this issue of SUPER DC GIANT. The logo, by Gaspar Saladino, inserts FLYING SAUCERS into the title in a visually entertaining way, at least to me, and the letterforms are classic Gaspar with lots of energy and style, even if the shape doesn’t really look all that much like a flying saucer. Clearly the stories were all reprints from the Julie Schwartz era of the magazine. And that was it for STRANGE ADVENTURES for quite a while, though the stories did sometimes show up in reprints here and there.
In 1999 DC’s Vertigo imprint brought back the title for a four-issue miniseries with a new logo by Comicraft’s JG Roshell. The word STRANGE seems based on an Ira Schnapp design we saw in part 3 of this study, here it is again:
There are some style differences, but the relationship seems clear to me. JG told me when he was assigned the logo design DC sent him reference from past logos, which he no longer has, and I bet this was one of them. I’m happy to say, JG’s design is much better than Schnapp’s in this case, with letterforms that are more consistent, and joined in an attractive way on STRANGE, and a nice multilayered dropshadow. the word ADVENTURES is also attractive and stylish, and also joined in ways I like. There’s even some shading on the narrow telescoped dropshadow of the word that look like the ones on the original SA logo from 1950, a cool touch. The larger S and A drop down to frame the word ADVENTURES nicely, and each word is in a different two-point perspective, as if on two walls meeting at a corner, an arrangement you rarely see, and one that works well here. It’s a fine logo, and looks great on this cover art by Brian Bolland.
In 2009 DC brought the title back again for an eight-issue series, featuring some of the science fiction characters from the original run of the title, among others. The logo design is by John J. Hill, and it takes a very modern science fictional approach, with great emphasis on STRANGE, and ADVENTURES a small subtitle. The letterforms employ strong, wide verticals (though slanted to the right to add interest) and narrower horizontals, a combination I think usually works well, and the stroke ends combine squared, curved and serif points in a nice mixture. A very heavy outline ties it all together, while a very thin black drop shadow behind the inner letterforms helps give the logo some depth. Nice job.
John has been kind enough to share some other versions he worked up when designing the logo. He wrote: The direction was light…basically just to do an updated logo for an old title, and that it was a sci-fi story. I sketched out some ideas focusing on “Strange” and using some nontraditional-looking characters, but everyone thought it was better to pull it back and use a more traditional typeface. The one with some dimensionality was almost used (which I preferred).
This first version is really out there, with letterforms that verge on unreadable, so I can see why DC didn’t go this route, but it’s a fascinating design.
More readable, but still pretty radical, I like this version a lot. My only knock on it would be that the very round shapes, while suggesting science fiction and the future, don’t really reflect the kind of super-hero story the cover art shows. This would be a great approach for an SF movie logo, though!
This version takes a more traditional type approach; still with futuristic forms, but more familiar ones, and using perspective and a telescoping drop shadow that relates to the original logo for the book. Again, perhaps a bit too rounded.
Here’s a rather sedate type treatment with only the reversed letters signalling weirdness afoot. I’m afraid this one doesn’t work for me as a comics logo, and the placement of ADVENTURES extending out to the left would be problematic on a cover, too.
Here are the final letterforms in a three-dimensional treatment that John said he preferred to the final choice. I like it a lot, too, though I have to say the rightward slant on the final one works best. Slant this version, and it might have been the winner. Or perhaps DC was just resistant to the three-dimensional approach altogether, feeling it was outdated. Thanks for sharing those, John!
Hope you’ve enjoyed this logo study. Other chapters and lots more logo studies can be found on the LOGO LINKS page of my blog.