] type='image/vnd.microsoft.icon'/>

Monday, November 05, 2007

Showcase Ad - 1960

sgI like something big and splashy(sorry) for Monday posts, and this certainly qualifies!

This spiffy ad for Aquaman's first time as a headliner ran on the inside covers of DC's March 1960 books, and its a masterpiece of design and typography--a ton of copy in a little space, yet it reads beautifully and the lights and darks balance out perfectly.

As someone who does (some)graphic designing for a living, I'm awed by how beautiful a lot of DC ads from around this time were. How could any self-respecting kid deny DC the 10 cents it took to pick up this book?

Update: Thanks to a comment from a reader named Langdell, it occurs to me I really should've mentioned who designed this beauty--DC's resident in-house design genius, Ira Schnapp.

You can read all about Schnapp's career and see a ton of his beautiful work over at the brilliant
Dial "B" For Blog multi-part history of the man!


Scurvy said...

It really is a beautifully laid out piece. In gloroius black and white no less! I love the sea floor especially.

Anonymous said...

Computers can be great...

But there really was a beauty to the old handcrafted draftmanship (T-square, rubber cement, razor blade, and whiteout) that often eludes modern guys...

-Craig W.

chunky B said...

That is a beautiful layout, I can just imagine the time and care that went into that, all for selling comics. What a job!

There is a certain charm to the way things used to be produced that I have always loved.

Here's some fun, try asking a newer designer what Amberlith or Rubylith is, nine times out of ten you'll get a blank stare.

James Langdell said...

If you like that sort of classic DC typography and design, you're in for a treat at http://www.dialbforblog.com. Last year the proprietor compiled an extended series about the unhearalded designer, Ira Schnapp, who was behind that aspect of DC comics for decades. The series, titled "The Visionary", ran in installments 372 through 381 in the site's archives.

You might already know this, but since you didn't mention Schnapp by name in your appreciation this might be news you can use.

James Langdell said...

Thank you for promoting my comment, but more so for promoting Ira Schnapp.

Speaking of Aquaman, which I see you do at this site, have you seen any of the "Ask Aquaman" segments on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. In these brief sketches, Craig is costumed as Aquaman (rather well) and answers letters asking for advice in life. Sort of random humor, but surprisingly respectful of the title character.

James Langdell said...

Ah, my mistake. The Craig Ferguson sketch is called "Dear Aquaman". But a googling turned up an "Ask Aquaman" bit running in the Seattle paper The Stranger. The CBS site seems to have at least one clip of Ferguson doing that sketch.

rob! said...

HOLY CRAP! i never saw that segment! i gotta get to interview Craig for the Shrine sometime!!