art and design Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

James Jean designs insanely intricate wedding invitations for friends

Former Fables cover artist James Jean seems to have left comics entirely to pursue avenues in illustration and fine art. He recently posted on his blog some intricately detailed wooden lasercut wedding invitations he designed for some friends in Los Angeles: one born in the year of the ox, another in the year of the snake. Continue Reading »

Valiant Entertainment unveils new logo and trade dress

Valiant Entertainment continues the march toward its relaunch of four classic Valiant comics later this summer with the release today of its new logo and trade dress, designed by graphic designer (and former 2000AD artist) Rian Hughes.

At their panel last week at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Valiant staffers and writer Robert Venditti discussed how they’re going to update X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong — all of which originally ran in the 1990s — for modern audiences. The logo redesign is of a piece with that, keeping the traditional Valiant look (and the compass that was part of the original logo) and giving it a more modern look.

“The Valiant characters have a strong fanbase and heritage, and so the new logos are fresh and modern as befits a forward-looking publisher while still paying tribute to the originals, just as has been done with the characters themselves,” Hughes said in the press release.

Valiant also released the cover and variant covers of the first release, X-O Manowar, with the new trade dress:

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DC Comics’ new logo numbering mystery

DC Comics’ new logo was officially unveiled this morning, followed by the release of mockups showing how the “peel” design would appear on digital devices, collected editions and single issues. However, a closer look at the latter reveals a comics conundrum: a New 52 cover for Batman, with the current creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, is labeled as Issue 708, while George Perez’s Superman #1 cover is numbered somewhere between #700 and #709 (it’s partially obscured, making it difficult to tell). Here’s the thing — despite the New 52 covers, both of those issues were published before the New 52 was announced in July 2011.

Batman #708 was printed in March 2011 during David Hine and Guillem March’s run on the book. Any issue of Superman that begins with “#70_” would had to have been somewhere between June 2010 and March 2011, spanning J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson’s runs. Assuming these are the numberings from March 2011, that would mean the final two issues should be Green Lantern #64 and Wonder Woman #609. Could this be a sign of the New 52 numbering being a last-minute change for DC? Or maybe DC wasn’t letting the outside firm in on its relaunch plans, which could indicate this logo has been in development since well before March.

Then again, it could just be a coincidence, but it is an odd oversight to present a new logo with numberings from issues that hit stores 10 months ago.

Whatever the case, it brings us to the question why the company didn’t roll out its new brand identity in late August, when it relaunched its entire line, or even last month, when it published a mammoth hardcover collecting all 52 first issues – one that now rests on shelves sporting the nearly seven-year-old “swoosh.”

DC’s “peel” logo will make its comics debut in March, when most of the covers presumably will bear the number 7.

Ilias Kyriazis imagines the Avengers 15 years from now

by Ilias Kyriazis

I linked to Ilias Kyriazis’ image of his favorite DC characters earlier this month, and as we wait patiently for the Marvel version he mentioned he’s starting, here’s something to enjoy in the meantime: Kyriazis imagines what the Avengers might look like 15 years from now.

The line-up includes several kids of current and former Avengers, like Luna Maximoff, Valeria Richards and Danielle Cage, all grown up and following in the footsteps of their parents. They’re joined by a few wild cards like Molly Hayes and Quentin Quire. If you head over to his blog, he shares the background of each character and why he chose their respective looks.

Comics A.M. | Archie-Valerie romance rekindled; cartoonist resigns

Archie #631

Creators | Dan Parent discusses an upcoming Archie storyline that will bring Valerie Brown from Josie and the Pussycats to Riverdale, causing sparks to once again fly: “The fans can expect the next step in what I think is the most romantic story in Archie history. The chemistry between Archie and Valerie was hot the first time they got together, and now you’ve really got to see it simmer, all the way from the rekindling of their romance to getting much more serious than we’ve seen before.” [USA Today]

Editorial cartoons | Cartoonist Jeff Stahler has resigned from The Columbus Dispatch following accusations that he lifted ideas from other cartoons, including one that ran in The New Yorker. [Poynter]

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Artist Keron Grant resurfaces with new art book

Artist Keron Grant burst onto the comics scene in the late 90s, but really came into focus at Marvel a few years later with his work on Fantastic Four, Iron Man and a stand-alone issue of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run. After a run on the DC series Son of Vulcan in 2005 however, Grant largely dropped off the comic map. Since then he’s become an illustrator and an artist outside comics, doing T-shirts, giclee prints and books. He’s had success in that field, but for alot of comic fans who don’t travel in that circle he’s dropped off the map.

But he’s out to change that.

Grant is collecting some of his most popular pieces from the past year into a limited edition art book. Measuring nine inches square and clocking in at 70 pages, Grant’s book is available directly through the artist for $35 by emailing him at If you’ve forgotten how good he is, he’s given us a sample of what’s inside the book.

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Collages mash-up real-life and fictional superheroes

Eleven Fine Art in London kicks off an exhibit called “Supermen- An Exhibition of Heroes” Sept. 16, which features collages of real-life heroes made from fragments of comic books.

In honor of the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, Ben Turnbull’s collages “celebrates the real life heroes, the firemen, and policemen who protect us everyday, in iconic new images meticulously constructed from fragments of fictional superheroes including Captain America, Daredevil, and The Fantastic Four as well as Batman, Spiderman (sic), and the Hulk,” according to the gallery’s website.

“The life-changing events of 9/11 led us all to believe in the need for real life superheroes,” Turnbull said on the site. “Superman didn’t fly down to save the falling buildings, there was no Caped Crusader ready to do battle with the arch-enemy and Spidey didn’t spin his web. Without the need of a phone-booth or a revolving door these true patriots donned their iconic costumes and sacrificed life and limb for what they believed in. With every cut-comic hero and dialogue I hope to bring out the true merits of the Brave and the Bold in their fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

You can check out more of the artwork here. The exhibit runs through Oct. 22.

SDCC ’11 | Winners announced for 2011 Eisner Awards

Eisner Awards

IDW Publishing led the 2011 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards with five wins, including Joe Hill for best writer for Locke & Key and Darwyn Cooke for best writer/artist for Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit. The awards were announced last night during a ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Other winners included Vertigo’s American Vampire, by Scott Snyder, Stephen King and Rafael Albuquerque, for best new series,  Image’s Chew, by John Layman and Rob Guillory, for best continuing series, and Skottie Young for best penciler/inker for Marvel’s The Marvelous Land of Oz. Comic Book Resources earned its second Eisner for best comics-related periodical/journalism.

The complete list of winners can be found below:

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Win cool prizes for redesigning Spider-Man

Project: Rooftop, the costume redesign site run by our own Chris Arrant, and comics retailer Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics have teamed up for a contest that asks artists get “to spin a new web” for Marvel’s Spider-Man.

In “Spider-Man: Webhead 2.0.,” artists can redesign Spider-Man for a chance to win one of several prizes:

  • First Prize: The Spider-Man Diamond Select Maquette (retail value of $85) and a bagged copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #160.
  • Second Prize: Spider-Man Masterworks Vol. 5 Softcover (retail value of $25) and a bagged copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #160.
  • Third Prize: Spider-Man: Peter Parker Essential Vol. 3 (retail value of $18) and a bagged copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #160.

“Encouraging artists is something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” said Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in Concord CA, president of ComicsPRO and founder of Free Comic Book Day. “I came up with some cool Spidey-related prizes and look forward to seeing all the Project: Rooftop entries!”

The deadline for entries of Aug. 8. You can find all the details over on the Project: Rooftop site.

Todd Klein breaks down Marvel’s Daredevil logos

In the latest of his series of logo studies, letterer and logo designer Todd Klein spars with the mastheads of the 45-plus Marvel title Daredevil. Klein’s research on these series is impeccable, covering every permutation of the comics’ logo — reaching out when possible to the original designers, back into the Silver Age. He even provides copious notes for when he was hired to work on the logo in 1996.

Although Klein is best known for his lettering, he’s contributed logos to virtually all major American comic companies, and his logo work is seen on the Batman: Year One storyline, logos for The New Teen Titans and its characters, as well as Witchblade, Tom Strong and Iron Man.

Klein’s releasing his Daredevil logo study in four parts, with the final installment due any day now. Begin with Part 1 which starts with the title’s debut in 1964. Read the installments, and then scroll back through his archives for other interesting logo studies.

Comics A.M. | Responses to Heavy Ink, Fan Expo Canada adds a day

Warren Ellis

Politics | Warren Ellis joins the list of creators who want nothing to do with Heavy Ink after Travis Corcoran’s inflammatory remarks. At The Daily Cartoonist, Ted Rall pushes back on the outrage, saying, “If I only bought from companies and individuals whose political beliefs I agreed with, I wouldn’t be buying much.” [Warren Ellis, The Daily Cartoonist]

Conventions | Now there’s even more of Fan Expo Canada to love: The self-proclaimed “largest combined gaming, horror, comic, science fiction and anime event in the country” is expanding from three to four days, Aug. 25-28, 2011. [Convention Scene]

Manga | A Chinese artist named Xiao Bai is this year’s winner of the Japanese government’s International Manga Award. The prizewinning entry, Si loin et si proche (So near and so far), was published in Belgium last year. [Monsters and Critics]

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Take a poster tour of comics’ great cities

Four Freedoms Plaza travel poster, by Justin Van Genderen

Designer Justin Van Genderen has created a beautiful set of comic-book travel posters showcasing Superman’s Metropolis, Batman’s Gotham, Spider-Man’s New York City, the Fantastic Four’s Four Freedoms Plaza and Akira’s Neo Tokyo. All five are available for purchase from Imagekind.

Van Genderen is also responsible for those minimalist posters for Star Wars planets, and the lovely black-and-white trio inspired by Superman II.

(via Rampaged Reality)

X marks the comic: Tic Tac Toe Jam

Tic Tac Toe Jam

I thought this was pretty clever in the same way as Kerry Callen’s crossword comics was — Matt Madden shares how to play Tic Tac Toe Jam, where two cartoonists create a nine-paneled comic while playing a game of Tic Tac Toe. Each artist has to work their respective letter, “X” or “O,” into their respective panels on the board.

“What appeals to me about the idea is that the constraint works at a few different levels: there’s visual play and word play and there’s also an unusual storytelling challenge since you’re not telling a story in a linear fashion, instead you’re jumping from panel to panel, alternating with someone else, and trying to mold it all into some kind of coherent narrative,” he wrote.

One of the examples he shares, seen above, naturally works in references to the X-Men.

Batman’s secret superpower? Graphic design

The image above, featuring pretty much every variation of the Batman symbol, has been tearing its way across Tumblr for a few days now. I first saw it at Quipsologies, which describes it thusly: “Proof that Batman has one of the greatest logos ever: Recognizable (and equally bad ass) in any incarnation.”

Sounds about right to me!

Here’s something I’d like to throw to the group, though: Which of these Bat symbols do you consider to be the “real” one? Weaned as I was on Tim Burton’s Batman, I have to go with the fifth one down in the third column–that’s the version I myself wear in the classic yellow-on-black t-shirt form. What say you, Batfans?

Business cards for LexCorp, Stark Industries and more

If you’ve ever dreamed of working at LexCorp, Stark Industries or even Acme Labs, here’s the first step to making that dream come true — business cards. Fro Design Co. has created a print featuring business cards for Wayne Enterprises, Duff Breweries, Sterling Cooper, the Dharma Initiative and several other fictional companies.


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