Superman SMASHED!

Images © DC Comics

In 1991 I was asked by DC cover editor Curtis King to design taglines for several Superman titles, which would run below the SUPERMAN logo redesigned by Milton Glaser in the 1980s. That included this new title, SUPERMAN, MAN OF STEEL. I think I overdid the shading lines, but the idea was to suggest metal as well as to mimic the shading on the S of SUPERMAN. This was drawn by hand in pencil, then inked on Denril plastic vellum I think, though I don’t have the original logo to be sure.

The two separate pieces were combined, probably by Curtis, to create the finished logo. I would have provided a position marker to show exactly where the tagline should go. Similar but different styles were used on the other titles in the line.

Here it is on issue 3 of the series.

About a year later I was asked to revisit the logo for a special one-time SMASHED version that would appear on issue 19. I agreed to do that, and was sent photostats of the two separate logo sections to work with.

I made several photocopies on my own copier, cut them up with a scissors, and pasted the pieces onto another piece of paper to make up a broken, jumbled version of the logo. I copied this collection again to have a smooth working surface, then I inked in connecting pieces and lines and added lots of cracks.

Here’s a detail showing some of the work added in darker black to the grayer black of the photocopy. You can also see some of the places where cut edges show faintly. This was the only way to create the smashed effect without redrawing the entire thing, which would have taken much longer.

ADDED: Going through my logo files I discovered that the working version was NOT what I turned in. Here’s the final, completely re-inked on Denril vellum over the working version. It still saved a lot of time doing the cut and paste layout first, but you know, if I were doing this today I’d suggest printing that layout instead of having to redo it in ink! Does look nice and crisp, though.

Here it is on the printed cover from 1992. Smashed logos were fairly popular at the time, I also did one for LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, and the trend was begun in 1968 by Jim Steranko with his famous smashed Hulk logo for one of the Hulk Annuals, which I wrote about HERE. At least I THOUGHT that was the beginning of it until someone commented there to say Carmine Infantino did it first on the cover of BATMAN #194 in 1967!  In today’s world, many logos are already scarred and distressed and look pretty beat up, but I still see truly smashed ones now and then. I guess everyone likes to smash things occasionally.

Lots more about logos can be found on my LOGO LINKS page.

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