So no sooner do I wrap up the DCU Relaunch logos than iFanboy posts the covers to the Marvel Season One graphic novels.
The Season One series, for the uninitiated, is a group of original graphic novels that present modern re-tellings of the (50-year-old) origin stories of Marvel’s most popular characters, ostensibly as an introduction for new readers who can’t be bothered to purchase the Essentials/Masterworks reprints. You know, like DC’s immensely popular Earth One series, only totally (okay, not really) different.
First off, do we know the dimensions on these? I’m assuming they’ll be similar in size to the Earth One books — because come on, why would Marvel start trailblazing now? — which is about a half-inch shorter and less-wide than a typical trade paperback. (7.4” x 10.5” vs. 6.9” x 10”, if Amazon’s info is correct.)
But I’m kind of hoping they’ll be closer in size to Afrodisiac, which was 6” x 9” and is the perfect size for this type of thing. It’s just a really pleasing proportion; you can read it one-handed fairly easily (perfect for mass transit commuters), and it fits with “real books” nicely on a bookshelf. Wouldn’t that be great? It would, right?
I like the clean simplicity of the masthead and the bottom title thingy. It would be easy to clutter these covers up, but they have wisely chosen to let the artwork (nicely done by Julian Totino) and the white text stand on their own. And it’s a simple enough system that you can adapt it to any character fairly easily.
I’m not crazy about the font choices, especially the ones that the credits and “Season One” are set in. I’d much rather they were set in something a little less eccentric, more invisible, for lack of a better word. The upper-case “S” for example is too angular for my taste and draws attention away from the masthead. Knockout would be a great choice, maybe in the Featherweight weight?
The main titles look like they’re set in Gothic Narrow, which you’ve seen if you’ve read anything Jonathan Hickman. It’s a handsome enough face, even if Hickman’s kind of running it into the ground. Seriously, dude uses it on everything. Again, we get the “All-Star” distortion of the type here, to varying degrees of success. With a longer title like “Fantastic Four” it maintains a nice proportion that manages to sit nicely across the masthead, but it gets a little more problematic with “X-Men”, with the title having to get pretty big to hold the same weight, visually. But still, it’s a fairly elegant solution: simple, bold, clean, adaptable.
Oh, and as long as I’m nit-picking, the line around Jamie McKelvie’s name on the X-Men book is too thick. It’s bugging me.
The line at the top of the main title is a little problematic as well, creating tension where the rounded letterforms meet it, and I’d question the need for it, but then that little shape at the bottom will be all alone, and for some reason, I like that weird, rounded line at the bottom that’s containing the Marvel logo and the Season One title. I wish the Season One line had its own logo that worked in tandem with the Marvel logo, but this suffices, I guess.
All in all, it’s not a bad showing, especially for Marvel who, let’s face it, is always a step behind DC in terms of design.