Logo Low Blow?A column article by: Regie Rigby
Right. I'm just going to get the controversial statement out of the way right up front.
I don't care about the new DC Comics logo. I really don't. In the FoolBritannia "list of things to get upset about" it ranks slightly below leaving some work I didn't really want to do in my classroom and having to take the weekend off as a result. Seriously, dudes - who the hell cares?
Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying I like it. On the contrary, I think it looks terrible - more suited to an office supplies company or self storage warehouse than one of the world's leading purveyors of sequential art. It looks far far too clean cut and corporate to belong to anything so funky as a comic book company. But so what?
I have always been unhappy about the tendency of people in general, and comics readers in particular, to prioritise style over substance, and this is surely a case in point. What actually matters about DC Comics is not the logo in the top left hand corner of the comic cover, but the stories that lie inbetween the covers. It is unlikely that - directly at least, we'll get to indirectly later - the content of the story and the quality of the artwork is going to be affected by the logo.
Of course, since the purpose of a logo is to represent your company to your customers, the fact that everybody else in comicdom seems to hate it means that it is, without question a bad logo because it fails to attract the people the company wants to attract*. But this is DC's problem, not mine. All I care about is that they keep on putting out comics I want to read, and as a result, I have a lot more problems I need DC to sort out before I give them a hard time about their logo. And so should you.
As you may have noticed, I've been rather more than moderately impressed by DC in recent months. The New 52 is a long way from being perfect, but in my view it has breathed new life into a line of superhero characters that had rather lost its way over the last decade or so. But now it has all settled in a bit, the company really does need to address some of the issues that continue to dog the line. The corporate marker they choose to slap on their covers is utterly unimportant.
It's not as though the logo it will replace is any kind of paragon of design. The "swirly thing"** is okay, and certainly more dynamic and suggestive of movement than the rather odd "DC Bullet" that it replaced. Why was that circle, with the letters "DC" in the centre and four stars around the outside a "bullet" anyway? Was it supposed to represent the circular end of a bullet? And if so, why? Am I just being horribly British if I don't understand what a bullet has to do with recreation? I mean, I know that people shoot firearms recreationally, but to me they're just not things that go together in the general way of things.***
Besides, the version of the "DC Bullet" that was superseded by the "swirly thing" (which is basically just the DC Bullet turned on its side and, well, twirled a bit) wasn't even the original. Some of my older comics bear a version which declare every title to be a "Superman Publication". Really? I mean I have old issues of Detective Comics - the publication that the company was named after - bearing that "Superman Publication" tag. That's always irritated me more than the soulless icon that will soon adorn my Batbooks ever could.
Nah. I can't get excited about a simple change of corporate tag. As I said, and will always say, it's what's between not on the cover that counts.****
Well. There is just one thing. Earlier I suggested that there was no direct relationship between the logo on the cover and the content within. Not judging a book by its cover is the very acme of common sense after all, and just as the Bard's rose would, by any other name smell as sweet, Transmetropolitan #8*****would still be Graphic Narrative Perfection if it were wrapped in old chip papers. The presence of the company logo (which of course was not the DC Bullet, but my point still stands) and the design thereof matters not a jot.
This new design does give me one small moment of disquiet, however.
Because in order for the current logo to become the new one, a couple of things needed to happen. Somebody needed to think "Y'know what? We need a new logo". Given that DC is part of a larger organisation that person may or may not have been part of DC itself, but whether the descision went from the bottom up or was imposed from the top down, whoever that person was must've had to convince at least a couple of other people that something that wasn't broke (because really, while it was never hailed as any kind of masterpiece, I can't believe anybody looked at the current logo and thought "that monstrosity just HAS to go!") needed fixing.
Then somebody had to commission somebody to create the new logo. Knowing how large organisations function, I'm guessing that several options were produced. Given the inherent dullness of the design that won, either the people making the decision have terrible taste, or their brief to the designers was hideously flawed, or they hired designers so terrible that all the other options were even worse. Mind you, even then they had the option of sticking with what they had, so you really can't blame the designers.
My worry is that the people in charge have gone for something slick and corporate and soulless. Is that an indication of the direction they intend to take DC? I hope not. But then again, maybe it doesn't signify anything. Maybe it'll grow on us. Hell, maybe we'll grow to love it - after all, I hated the very concept of the New 52, and overall, I've been impressed.
Basically, I think it's best if I just shut up and carry on reading.
I'll see you on Sunday****** , when I'll probably talk about having done just that...
*Unless, of course, they are actually trying to attract an entirely different clientele. You never know with DC, they spend ages being pretty safe and dull, then all of a sudden they start doing all kinds of crazy things...
**I'm not sure if the current logo has a name, and I confess I've never been inspired to find out. I've just always thought of it as "the swirly thing" since its inception.
***In the same way that I understand that McDonald's sell you food that you can eat on the premises, but they're still not what I immediately think of when I hear the word "restaurant".
****Unless it's speech bubbles. I hate those. But that's a subject for another time.
*****"Another Cold Morning". It remains the most beautiful, most affecting and most powerful comic I have ever read. As close to perfection as any comic has ever been, I should say.
******Because I will not be late again.