Comic Books, Meet Typography.

A work-in-progress spread, showcasing the grungy-retro style of the whole publication.

A work-in-progress spread, showcasing the grungy-retro style of the whole publication.

Once again, I’ve left y’all in the dark about my ISTD project. To recap, I’m doing the brief which tasks students to create a publication informing your reader on “everything about one thing.” Take one specific subject and analyse it in ruthless detail. I, quite stupidly, chose to cover rejected superheroes as my subject matter. 

Focusing on comic books seemed to make sense from a conceptual stand-point. Comic book fans (myself included) are fixated with exploring these fictional universes as much as possible, and so analysing one in meticulous detail just meets that demand. 

Comic books are also transfixed by the ‘underdog’ archetype, and what better twist to put on my concept than making comic books’ ultimate underdogs the heroes for my story? Comic book heroes who never made it, and were cancelled from publishing or have vanished into obscurity. I want to show that there’s still value in these heroes, even if they are deemed useless. To somebody they mean something, and can achieve great things. Heck, one of the heroes featured inspired Alan Moore, the writer of Watchmen. So there’s got to be something good in these old rejected comic books, right?

A sample spread showing the heroes reaching our time.

A sample spread showing the heroes reaching our time.

I know the brief is called everything about one thing, but there’s no way I can find every single rejected superhero in the world. Nonetheless, I’ve outlined several things that I’d need to address to satisfy a fan’s insatiable thirst for ‘what if..’ and ‘what about’ questions. I’m firstly designing a typographic comic-book inspired publication. It follows these characters through a story of  redemption, from zeroes to heroes, as they try to save the earth from an incoming asteroid. Each section of the story explains an aspect of rejected super-heroes and general comic book tropes. This will focus on the characters’ back-story, personality and why they can be deemed ‘rejected’. 

Secondly I’d be creating a set of trading cards to accompany the publication. This answers a lot of questions fans would ask, including the classic “who would win in a fight?” It would also cover small details like real identity, powers and so on. 

Finally I’d be creating a large poster to tie the whole thing together. Whatever information I can’t answer with the trading cards and the publication will be on the poster. What that is yet I’m not sure.

A working sketch of the geometric illustration style to be featured in the book.

A working sketch of the geometric illustration style to be featured in the book.

I’ve produced a few work-in-progress spreads which I’ve provided here. It’s going to be a careful balancing act trying to marry the very image-led nature of comic books and trying to make it all typographic. I’ve started illustrating all the rejected heroes to be featured in the trading cards out, and I’ll be producing more and more spreads over the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck anywho!

Listening to: Bewley In Grey by Bibio

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