I admit I was highly skeptical of DC Comics’ plan to relaunch its entire line of comics as the so-called “New 52.” Relaunches – or, as I refer to them, “excuses to print a new issue No. 1 – a more than a dime a dozen, and never seem to last even a dozen years anymore. But reading the revamped line has led to some pleasant surprises. However, DC’s latest attempt to change its logo is a total flop, in my opinion. The instant I saw it I christened it the “DC Scab,” because that’s exactly what it looks like!
Seriously, there is nothing inspired about the newly unveiled logo. Instead of looking clean and bright, the new image looks decrepit and literally peeling. Apparently that was the intent: It’s supposed to look like the D is peeling back to reveal the C – but why? Who wants a corporate logo that reminds people of peeling paint? I look at that logo and I see a company that’s been around forever – and looks its age. That image conjures a company from the last century; one lagging behind the times today. Why go to the time and expense of rebranding unless you come up with something that’s a massive improvement… something that’s going fire the imagination of the fans.
Clearly, this plain, dull typography has nothing to do with comics, which are all about action and adventure and stories. The last version of the logo – the so-called “DC Swirl,” was panned when it was introduced, but at least it had a sense of motion. Eventually people began to like it as they saw it animated in front of movies and TV shows – and the logo felt undeniably kinetic. This newest logo just lays there. It looks like something a shadowy holding company would use because its business it indefinable. But DC Comics makes comic books – and damn fine comic books that deserve better than this.
About the only positive things I can say regarding this logo:
- “DC” is spelled correctly
- Presumably it can be different colors to match the cover it
If DC wants to improve relations with its existing fan base at a time when it appears to be doing everything possible to alienate veteran fans – seriously, dumping/rewriting continuity again? – in pursuit of potential new readers, why not revert to the “DC Bullet”? The new readers won’t recognize it because it hasn’t been part of DC’s branding for years, but long-term fans will appreciate the reference to more halcyon days. (The wonderful bullet was created by Ira Schnapp, who also designed the indelible telescopic logo for Superman and Action Comics’ art deco lettering.)
This disastrous change is probably just more proof of the old saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – unless you’ve got a big department and need to justify your budget by coming up with alleged ‘improvements.’” The reason for the wording underneath is clear: One cannot simply look at the logo and discern that it’s supposed to be a D and a C.
Let’s hope DC is just sending up a test balloon, and the ensuing fan firestorm will prompt it to back off. Cooler heads may yet prevail. We’ve been told that DC has applied for trademark protection for the image to use on comics, T-shirts, toys and practically anything else you can name, but it’s not too late to rethink actually using it. After all, nothing is set in stone…