This summer we’ve resurrected one of our favorite features, I ♥ Comics, and each Wednesday through Labor Day comics bloggers and creators will discuss the things they love about the medium.
This week, our guest contributor is Tim Leong, the editor of Comic Foundry Magazine, which is currently in Previews and will be on stands in September.
No, I don’t mean graphic a la Heroes For Hire. Working as a magazine designer, I’m a visual guy by nature, so I’m typically drawn (pun intended) to covers that take a more visual approach.
Back in 2004 I wasn’t a comics guy. I was as a kid, but like many people in their teens we parted ways. I had a cousin who went to the Kubert school and while we were talking comics one night he convinced me to stop by a store. Luckily, Midtown Comics was right across the street from my office. So I waltzed in and there’s a huge wall of new comics. Hundreds of covers. It almost overwhelming. I had no idea where to start or what was good. The covers were just all over the place. Crazy fight scenes. Iconic poses. DDD-cup breasts. And then — I’ll never forget this (The Strokes’ Reptilia was playing at the time), I’m looking at this huge wall of visual diarrhea and suddenly, like a Magic Eye poster, everything came into focus — I spotted Tony Harris’s cover to Ex Machina #2. In a sea of repetition, this cover took the time to come up with something other than another generic fight scene that would make it stand out. The cover was effective — it stood out from the pack and made me buy it, which I did without knowing a single thing about it.
Besides the striking image, the main thing about it (and other visually effective covers) that grabbed me was the typography. I’m obsessed with checking out the visual presentation of cover typography. Type on a comic cover can be a tricky thing because you want it to speak to the tone of the title, story and cover depiction without being corny or played out — which is tough with a lot of comics. So any time I see a cool logo I give it a second look. Some of my favorite logos and type treatments that are tickling my font fancy right now are: All-Star Superman, Suburban Glamour and Optic Nerve. (Sidenote: If you’re also a type person, you should go to Todd Klein’s new website. There’s a ton of really interesting logo and lettering anecdotes).
I’m just a big fan when people try to do something different, especially with cover design. Sometimes it’s successful and sometimes it’s not, but you have to appreciate the effort.
Anyway, it was that well-designed Ex Machina cover that got me back into comics. After that I was hooked. I came back to the store two or three times a week. But I didn’t stop at just comics. A few months later I bought the original art for that Ex Machina cover.