Funnybook Babylon

April 6, 2008

Logo Design: Secret Invasion

Filed under: Blurbs — David Uzumeri @ 6:17 pm

This is a bit of a nuts-and-bolts post, but it’s been weighing on my mind.

Over at Eye on Comics, Don MacPherson made a pretty good point about Secret Invasion:

Look at the logo for the book. Honestly, I really like it. It’s clearly trying to evoke memories of cheesy, campy sci-fi flicks of the ’50s and ’60s, and that makes sense, given the premise. But the plotting in comics leading up to this event book encouraged readers to take the Skrull threat seriously (despite the goofiness of the term “Skrull”), and the same holds true throughout this issue. On the other hand, the book boasts a bright look and the emergence of so many vintage looks at the end of the book seem to point to a less grave, more fun story.

It’s true – for a book with ten pages posted on Entertainment Weekly and an interview with Brian Michael Bendis providing more insight into the twists of the story that are coming, all of the covers (including the, like, fifty variants, unless you draw a really cool design on the blank one) are reminiscent of ’50s horror movies, and it’s a choice that’s really deliberate judging from the majority of the promotional material. It operates off the hook that’s been dangling from the Avengers comics – the sense of mistrust and terror, a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

However, Bendis’s interview promises a completely different layer:

Once the Skrulls announce their intentions to the world, they say, ”You’re destroying your world, the way you live. One of you will live in excess right next to someone who’s starving, and none of you do anything about it. Our system works. Our system is complete. We’re coming to give it to you.” For some people, that’s a damn attractive offer. They don’t feel like they’re being invaded. They think, ”Finally someone’s here to save us.” So what’s right or wrong?

This is a facet of the book that Marvel hasn’t promoted at all – perhaps because they consider it spoiler material? – but it’s really the idea that has made me most excited about it, the reason I think the concept can sustain 8 issues and however many tie-ins. However, I really think the promotional material and logo design are selling this concept short. Look at the first page of the issue (available here) – the motif changes completely, from a mood of base terror to that of mystery and even prophecy. The logo is still present, and for that matter clashes starkly with the surroundings, which (clearly intentionally) resemble that of a religious text, and betray deeper themes to the book than simple shocks and terror. I can’t help but feel that while this ’50s-horror-movie vibe might play better with the existing comic fan market, something more design-oriented – maybe honing in on that prophecy angle – would probably have done better to differentiate it from other books on the shelves. Then again, I understand the Civil War design irked a few readers.

Still, there were other things they could have done as well; they fact that the font used for the logo is sold from Comicraft’s website doesn’t do much to help maintain a unique brand for the comic, nor does the fact that I remember seeing it in a few other comics around the time period, some possibly DC (I’m afraid I don’t remember them offhand). At the end of the day, for what’s being sold as such a complex story – and what feels like it inside, as well – the marketing and presentation seem to have rather heavily promoted it towards existing genre fans, rather than trying to expand in the marketplace by focusing on what seem to be broader and more universal themes.

Just a thought.

5 Comments »

  1. I agree about the S.I. style, it does leave something to be desired. If they were going for a 50’s horror movie poster style, they did not go far enough in that direction. Events should be eye-popping.

    Who didn’t like the Civil War covers? I thought the boldness of the cutting the bottom half away was genius. It was very distinguishing and produced some of the best artistic covers that certain books have ever had (Ms. Marvel #6, X-Factor #8 and Iron Man #13 are examples of what I enjoyed from Civil War.) Civil War came out just when I was getting into comics, the covers did attract me to try many new books.

    As for the Font issue: while it does seem cheap, I think coming up with an original font is hard work. I doubt fonts are regularly created for single purposes in mind. Then again, I’m no artist.

    Comment by Adam H. — April 7, 2008 @ 6:05 am

  2. I’m too tired to read full articles tonight, but I’ll definitely return to this tomorrow!

    I just wanted to say I drew a stick figure theater on my blank cover! I wish more comics had fun covers like that!

    Comment by Kenny — April 7, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  3. OK, I read the article, and here’s all I can think:

    Brave New World had a similar theme (that society was taken over only since it was more “fair,” people were happier on the whole). It also came out in the 50’s. So, maybe there’s a Brave New World angle? I dunno.

    Comment by Kenny — April 8, 2008 @ 1:52 pm

  4. […] Design: Final Crisis Posted by David Uzumeri 1 minute ago About a week ago, I wrote about the logo and cover composition of Marvel’s Secret Invasion event. I thought that it came off […]

    Pingback by Funnybook Babylon · Archives · Logo Design: Final Crisis — April 12, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

  5. yep. I love this font. Any idea where we could get a copy of it for our own designs???

    Comment by Matt — April 24, 2008 @ 3:50 am

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