Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lamenting the Batman Logo

To comic books, the cover logo is important, kind of like how a theme song is to a TV series.  Once upon a time (before 1986), Batman had some of the coolest, most iconic, and legendary logos in the history of comic books.

But then, when Denny O'Neil took over as Batman editor in 1986, that all changed, and ever since, with only a very few rare exceptions (the current logo for Batman and Robin being one of them), Batman has had some of the dullest, blandest and ugliest logos in comics.

The new Batman logo for the DC reboot definitely qualifies for "ugliest".
I'm not too happy with the direction the Batman franchise is taking in the reboot, as I explained in a previous post, but once the reboot runs its course and things get restarted yet again, I want to see a return to the classic and iconic Batman logos.  I want a return to greatness.

For my money, perhaps the coolest and greatest of all Batman logos was the one that first appeared in the early 1970s, and continued to be in use as a secondary logo until 1986.
The one thing I would tweak about it, though, is Batman's head. I always felt the face was too small for the logo.  I would take the head from the 1940s logo to replace it with.
I always thought the face on this logo was perhaps the most definitive drawing of Batman ever.  To add it to the 1970s logo would create the absolute perfect Batman logo:
As for Detective Comics, I would take another classic logo, the one from the 1960s.
But I would remove the word "Batman", and replace it with this legendary "Detective Comics" logo.

DC was smart enough to keep Superman's logo untouched (with the exception of a minor tweaking in the early 1980s) since 1940.  Even the Action Comics logo remains fundamentally the same since 1938. Too bad DC never had that same sense for Batman.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

DCnU Reboot Earth

This week the company wide reboot of DC Comics began.  In a nutshell, the entire continuity has started over, with the exceptions of Batman and Green Lantern, who now seem to be the "golden age" heroes, having been around several years longer in the timeline than Superman and the other characters.  The real Golden Age heroes, the Justice Society of America, have been retconned out and put on an alternate earth, Earth-2.  Also missing from Reboot Earth are the Marvel Family.

In my humble opinion, the DC reboot screwed up by not starting Batman over with the rest of the universe. The Batman franchise is overpopulated with replacement Robins, excessive "Batman Family" sidekicks, and even a "Batman Inc", where there are versions of Batman in other countries.

I really want to see the franchise go back to simplicity, and have the original and classic Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson version of Batman and Robin.  Get rid of all the excessive baggage.  Of course, we don't get that.

Then there's the Marvel Family. Rumor has it, as the JSA has been moved to Earth-2, the Marvels may be moved to Earth-5.  Grant Morrison insists his "Thunderworld" one-shot will be part of the second wave. I would be fine with that, if DC would actually give us an ongoing Shazam! series, with stories and art based on the Otto Binder-C.C. Beck era.  But with anything regarding Captain Marvel, DC usually gives us some kind of bait-and-switch.  It is entirely possible an entirely new character based on the same premise may be introduced on Reboot Earth, named Captain Thunder, whose secret identity is not Billy Batson, but a college age person who can claim superpowers by uttering "Shazam".

I recently wrote an open letter to DC regarding Captain Marvel and I still stand by everything I wrote.

Perhaps Earth-5 would be a good place in reintroduce the "real" Batman and Robin I've been longing to read... a mash up of the original 1939-1941 stories with the great "new old look" era of 1968 (moody and nocturnal adventures written by Frank Robbins and drawn by Irv Novick, Bob Brown, and Joe Giella), and the defining Steve Englehart-Marshall Rogers stint and elements of the Gerry Conway-Gene Colan-Don Newton serialized era.

Or maybe the DCnU Reboot Earth will ultimately be a total failure and a year from now, we'll have yet another reboot.  Only this time, DC may do it right, by using Alex Ross' Justice as the foundation.