Good Design Thursday - Entry #2

This week I'm showcasing teaser one-sheets from a few comic book movies of the late 80's and early 90's - Tim Burton's Batman, Dick Tracy and The Rocketeer.


Movie posters have one purpose - provide some sort of image and/or message about the movie that will entice people to want to see it. At the most basic level, most posters succeed at this, but sometimes a poster will come along that goes a bit further than the rest and becomes something that can be enjoyed on its own. (In rare occasions you can even have a poster that is appreciated more than the movie it was created for and is a topic that will be explored in a future entry). For me, the testament of a great movie poster is whether I would want to frame it and hang it on my wall. These three posters achieved that for me (and one of them does indeed hang in my home).  

When you look at posters for comic book movies today, the vast majority of them are photoshopped images of the actors portrayed as their comic book personas. Which is fine in most cases, because that is really all most moviegoers need to see. Back in '89, '90 and '91, when these three films were released, respectively, they all went another direction. Aside from the regular-release poster for the Rocketeer, none of the one-sheets for these three films featured photos of any of the actors, which is unheard of these days. The bat-symbol dominates the Batman poster, even breaking through the edge. All of the posters for Dick Tracy played up the comic-strip origin of the characters with bold colors and catchy taglines. The design for the first poster for the Rocketeer went with a colorful Art Deco approach, in keeping with the 1930's setting for the film. In each instance, a stylized approach, using a minimal number of elements, is used to capture the essence of the character and movie.

Good Design Thursday - Entry #1

Thursdays are boring. All you think about all day is “why can’t it be Friday?!” So I’m starting “Good Design Thursdays!” Each week I am going to share designs that inspire me in my own work. These pieces will come from everywhere - posters, book/record covers (do they even still make these?), websites, wherever. The only criteria will be that I feel it rises above the crowd and is worthy of a little praise.

I really like designs that can weave typography into an illustration.  "Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spiderman" recently reached its milestone 300th issue and Marcos Martin's iconic image of Spiderman hanging off a brightly lit sign of the issue's number, high above the city, reminded me of several other notable covers.  The first is Walter Simonson's cover for "Batman" #366, from 1983. Here the title of the book is wrapped around the contours of the building, with the iconic image of Batman vs. the Joker taking a more prominent place above it. The next cover is from "Catwoman" # 50, from 2006. Artist Adam Hughes goes even further, incorporating not only the title, but all of the cover dress elements. The issue number and date of release are included with the title in the neon sign, while the Comics Code Authority logo and Batman head logo are included as smaller signs below it, swinging in the breeze.

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