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ISSUE NO. 768
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DC CHARACTER LOGOS
OF THE SEVENTIES

The circular DC logo, known as the DC bullet, reigned supreme for decades -- but in October 1970, many DC comics suddenly dropped the traditional bullet and started using individual character images. Each hero got a custom symbol, with the company's genre books sharing a common image. In this issue of DIAL B for BLOG, we take a look at the DC character logos of the Seventies!


SUPERMAN FAMILY TITLES
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The character logo seen on the Man of Tomorrow's flagship book showed Supes taking off in flight. This logo seems to have been based on a figure seen on the splash page of the historic Superman #233 (pictured above). The Supes figure on the top right was flopped, then redrawn (by Curt Swan and/or Murphy Anderson), with a completely new cape added.
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Superman's Action Comics bullet pictured the Man of Steel in a classic chain-breaking pose. I couldn't find a contemporary source for this figure, so it may have been drawn ( (by Curt Swan and/or Murphy Anderson)) just for this logo. Although you can't tell when it's tiny, the expression of Superman's face is a bit weird. Since "Swanderson" don't draw weird heads, it must have been redone by some else, probably someone in DC's production department.
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Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen got bullets posing with the Man of Steel, drawn by "Swanderson," who gave Lois a hip mini-skirt, but stuck Jimmy in green plaid pants and an orange sport jacket. Lucky Supergirl, then appearing in Adventure Comics, got a sexy full figure shot, while an uncapitalized Superboy struck a pose.
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BATMAN FAMILY TITLES
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XThe image above, by Curt Swan, was used for Batman's appearances in Detective, World's Finest and Brave and Bold. The Dark's Knight's cape-holding pose was inspired by the iconic cover of BATMAN #9, pictured right.

But at this time, Batman, like Superman was currently starring in TWO monthly books, and so Batman, like Superman, got another logo for his own title.

This logo image was lifted directly from a comic book story -- and if you're going to lift, why not lift the best? Namely, Neal Adams! Take a look at the Neal Adams panel BELOW, from Detective #404, October 1970...
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...obviously, it was used to create DC's Batman comics bullet, pictured below. The image was flopped so Bats would be facing toward the book's logo, rather than away.
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Robin didn't have his own title at the time, but he got his own bullet so he could appear alongside his mentor on covers of several Batman comics as "Robin The Teen Wonder." Art by Neal Adams.
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Here's how the Dynamic Duo Logos looked on the cover of Batman #237...
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Speaking of the Boy-Teen Wonder, he got his own character logo when he appeared with Superman in World's Finest #200 (at the time, WF teamed Supes with various heroes).
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When Supes teamed with Green Lantern, the Emerald Crusader got his own bullet, featuring a classic Gil Kane running GL pose.
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Robin's group, the Teen Titans, got their own character logo (upper right corner of the cover) for Brave and Bold #94...
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JUSTICE LEAGUE MEMBER TITLES
The JLA's own title got a sort of eagle-profile shield, while each member was given a custom bullet logo. The Flash and Aquaman bullets were drawn by Murphy Anderson. The GL/GA bullet featured heroic heads by Neal Adams, and the Wonder Woman bullet, depicting WW in her powerless "Diana Rigg" era, was by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.
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The Flash figure (redrawn by Murphy Anderson, it looks like) was originally done by Neal Adams for the cover of a Power Records LP (pictured nelow, left).
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The Aquaman figure was drawn by the late Murphy Anderson.
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BELOW: Original art for Murphy Anderson's DC Aquaman bullet!
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JACK KIRBY'S FOURTH WORLD
When Jack Kirby moved to Marvel, his four books all got their own bullet. New Gods showed Orion's head, Mister Miracle turned his bullet's outer circle into chain links, and The Forever People are surrounded by what looks like a diagram of atoms. Jimmy Olsen's bullet stayed the same as it had been before Kirby took over the title.
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DC's GENRE TITLES
The DC mystery titles were given a uniform imprint: a giant bat, of different colors. As was typical for comics in the Seventies, the typography used for these symbols was absolute horror show unto itself.

The type on the House of Mystery is OK, but the type on the House of Mystery bullet looks like its about to explode out of its little brown bat. The Witching Hour bullet suddenly gets all ee cummings on us and loses its proper capitalization.

The type in the Unexpected bullet is, for some reason, noticably smaller than the others. Perhaps because random and pointless changes in type sizes are... unexpected. And finally, Phantom Stranger gets classified as a mystery book, so the Stranger doesn't rate his own image, just another bat.
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When Batman "teamed up" with the House of Mystery in Brave and Bold #93, both logos appeared at the top of the cover, one at each corner...
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DC's science fiction titles, Strange Adventures and From Beyond the Unknown, were given rocket-ship bullets, and All-Star Western featured head shots of the book's three stars, El Diablo by Gray Morrow, Jonah Hex by Tony DeZuniga, and Bat Lash by Nick Cardy.
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The company's romance titles all shared a "big heart" logo, and DC's gothic romance books featured a creepy old house with a big moon.
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At this time, DC's humor titles were on the way out -- only a handful were left! Here are the three survivors, all of whom would soon be cancelled...
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DC's war title bullets featured a mish-mash of various symbolic military images, all drawn by the late, great Joe Kubert. At this time, Sgt. Rock led Our Army at War, the Losers featured in Our Fighting Forces, the Haunted Tank starred in GI Combat, and the Unknown Soldier headlined Star Spangled War Stories.
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Many of the images used for the DC character bullets were also used for a series of "Super Hero Stick Ons," as shown in the ad below, which ran in every comic for months, making it a familiar sight to Seventies comic fans.
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And finally, the Superman character logo showed up on, of all places, the BEN COOPER Superman Halloween costume (pictured below)! Looks like the "chain-breaking Superman" head was used for the "flying Superman" -- perhaps because the chain-breaking Man of Steel has a friendlier expression. We'll be taking an in-depth look at these costumes in an upcoming issue of DIAL B for BLOG!
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DC's character logos ended their two-year run in June 1972. They remained on some books, but their branding function was taken over by DC's bland NEW logo (right). After two years, the words "THE LINE OF SUPER STARS" were added, and this bullet logo survived until 1977. It was replaced by the "detergent soap looking" version, and ultimately by the much-reviled "page peel" logo. In 2016, DC ditched the hideous page-peel logo, and went retro with a new logo.

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XDC experimented briefly with one more character logo in 1987. The company published test editions of Firestorm #61 and Justice League #3, both pictured below. Some copies of these books had the "Superman Comics" logo pictured left.

The image used for this logo (pictured above) was drawn by Jose Garcia Lopez for the DC Style Guide. The art was flopped -- but Superman's "S" symbol wasn't, so it would face the correct way.

This logo was a real departure for the company, because it didn't even say "DC" in it! DC, of course, stands for DETECTIVE COMICS, the company's first book to contain all-new comic stories. This experiment probably didn't produce good results, because this logo was never seen again!
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RECOLORED COVERS OF DC SHOWCASE EDITIONS!
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