Battle Beasts

Fire! Wood! Water! Hasbro licensed these wicked dudes from Takara Japan to sell in the States and elsewhere in 1987. They were a Transformers spin-off in Japan, but Hasbro decided not to tie into that continuity with their own marketing. The mid 80’s was a time when many toys had some sort of gimmick to help sell them, in this case, each Battle Beast had a heat sensitive sticker on its chest that revealed either fire, wood, or water. A sort of paper, rock, scissors in toy form. Fire beat wood, wood beat water, and water beat fire…if you were a super lucky kid, there existed rare and mythical Sunburst figures; find one, and you could beat anyone. Bad ass.

Battle Beasts came packaged in pairs, which was strange at the time. I remember thinking how cool it was to get “two for the price of one”, although it’s a pretty commonplace tactic these days. I always considered the pairings to be like pro wrestling tag teams. My first pack consisted of the Rhino and the Fox; whenever there was a Beast Battle Royal in my back yard, those two always found a way to come out victorious. Still my favorites to this day.

My brother and I collected every one of these pint-sized animal warriors along with their many play sets; looking back, we had some really fun times with them. Unfortunately, somewhere along the road to adulthood my collection must have landed in the trash. The same old sad story. When I took a quick peek on eBay for some of these figures, I was astonished at how much they are going for. Like adding salt to the wound. While it doesn’t seem as if I’ll be scooping up any replacements anytime soon, at least I’ve got the memories.

Awesome figure photography by =Disney-Stock on DeviantArt.

Movie Poster Monday 6: GREMLINS

Film on Paper presents … the movie poster for GREMLINS.

Director: Joe Dante
Genre(s) of Film: Fantasy | Horror
Origin of Poster: USA
Year of Poster: 1984
Designer: Intralink Film Graphic Design
Artist: John Alvin

Signalnoise in association with Film on Paper brings you Movie Poster Monday. We will be showcasing a movie poster to start every week, so be sure to check out future posts for some great art from cinema’s past.

Thoughts on the new DC Comics logo

Last night I saw the new DC Comics and DC Entertainment logos via Bleeding Cool, shown above. I spent the next hour or so scrutinizing this revised mark from top to bottom trying to formulate some kind of response, or just trying to make sense of it in my head. Instead, I just put out a tweet to see what my followers might have to say on the topic.

I was asked quite a bit last night what my thoughts were on this revision, so I decided to form it into a blog post because it seems the conversation is pretty heated, and ultimately 1-sided. The typical knee-jerk reaction to a big logo redesign is almost always negative, especially on the internet. Everyone thinks their opinion/idea is better than the one executed, so it quickly becomes a pissing match to see who can hate it the most using the most profanity. While at the same time, accomplishing nothing. I refer you to the Bleeding Cool comments.

My first reaction was confusion as I didn’t feel DC really needed to pursue an identity redesign considering they launched their previous logo only in 2005. It was met with mixed reviews, I dished out a few myself, but ultimately the logo did a great job of capturing youthful excitement (we ARE talking comic books here) and the animated version in their movie intro credits looked great. I was completely blindsided by yesterday’s launch, and woke up today with the same confused feeling. In short, why the redesign and the departure from their established legacy? Here’s the DC Comics logo history:

The new logo is quite nice. Combination of the D unveiling the C is pretty clever. The page-turn looks a little bit like a sticker being peeled away, but I can see what they were going for and an animated version for their movies might look pretty good. I would love to see a process piece written to show how they arrived at this conclusion, and what designs may have went unused.

I was recently having a cold one with my pal Dave Howlett who works at Strange Adventures, and he knows more about (and loves) comics more than anyone I know. He brought up that DC was looking to add more adult material to their comics because their audience had gotten older, ie. our generation of 30-somethings. But there are two problems here: 1) they would be completely disregarding the youth market who had supported them for decades, plus 2) they are turning off the longtime fans with all these sweeping changes to their beloved and familiar characters. This idea echoes in the new logo … the kids aren’t going to notice it, and the old-school fans might feel abandoned.

It’s a confusing move that has left me scratching my head. What do you think?

Addition: DC hasn’t made it clear exactly where this logo will be used. Of all my reading today, details have been a bit scarce. If anyone has any info, feel free to post.

DRIVE poster on the Heidelberg press

• Getting ready to fire up the press.

• The Heidelberg tried to literally define "hot pink" with this small mishap.

Here is a little video I cut together after visiting Bounty Print this morning to sign-off on my DRIVE poster. They fired up the Heidelberg press when I was there so I shot a bit of footage. Amazing to see this beast of a press firing off my poster. The thing is bigger than my house.

The DRIVE poster launches on January 19, one week from today. Details here.

“Nightcall” by Kavinsky from the DRIVE soundtrack.

DRIVE poster details and availability

I’m being hit from all sides this past week regarding information on my DRIVE poster. Most of the emails, tweets and Facebook notes are asking the same questions so an official update on the blog is in order to get the information out there on all fronts. So, here’s how things will be going down.

The DRIVE posters are currently being set up over at Bounty Print in Halifax on their giant 6-colour Heidleberg press. They will be printed at 22″ x 28″ on Starbrite Velvet 80lb cover. Additionally, There will be a very small run of 24″ x 36″ oversized DRIVE posters available on semi-gloss poster stock. If you are looking at getting one of these ones on launch day I urge you to act fast as the numbers will be very low.

Here are the summarized details:

DRIVE poster launch: January 19, 2012. 1pm EST in the Signalnoise Store.
22″ x 28″ posters, edition of 300: $50.00 + shipping
24″ x 36″ posters, edition of 30: $90.00 + shipping

The Signalnoise Store will be activated on launch day to purchase the DRIVE posters. The absolute best way to get a head start is to follow my Twitter, as I will be posting the news as soon as they are available. To dispel any rumours, there is no lottery and the DRIVE posters will be available first come, first served. Mark your calendars.

If you have any questions, I urge you to ask via the comments on this post and I will update with any details needed. A huge thanks for all the interest in this design, everyone. This is the largest Signalnoise poster launch to date and the response so far has been amazing.

Movie Poster Monday 5: PALE RIDER

Film on Paper presents … the movie poster for PALE RIDER.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Genre(s) of Film: Western
Origin of Poster: International
Year of Poster: 1985
Designer: Bill Gold
Artist: David Grove

Signalnoise in association with Film on Paper brings you Movie Poster Monday. We will be showcasing a movie poster to start every week, so be sure to check out future posts for some great art from cinema’s past.

Revisiting Signalnoise 2008

I had an evening to myself recently and while I was puttering around the home office I started to look through some of my archives of past work, specifically the Signalnoise work I created in 2008. Lots of shard assets, wild colours and lens flares … certainly a rough blueprint of what would come from Signalnoise. It was a great time of personal experimentation, working in an area I was really familiar with. The excitement of forging new territory for myself, and building a body of work quickly with enthusiasm.

I was working at a small design company in Halifax at the time and Signalnoise as an entity was nothing more than my blog, really. I had no freelance clients, and used my free time 100% on my own work. So many late nights by myself in front of the computer, listening to music and creating stuff. I started remembering who I was back then. What my goals were. What my motivation was. I just wanted to create for myself, and to have fun doing it.

Yesterday I opened up some of my old art asset files and decided to make a piece in the style of 4 years ago. A lot of my pieces from back then incorporated the word VARO into the design, something of an imaginary broadcasting company I used to create the posters for.

You’ll hear people in the industry say “Never look back, only look to the future” which is something I’ve never agreed with. Once a year I look back at old drawings and designs with great affection. It’s a roadmap of where I’ve been, which helps me understand where I am and where I’m potentially going. The successes and the failures all taught me something along the way. I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

It was fun to revisit this style. Haven’t done so in years. Very nostalgic. Kind of emotional.

The art of Ben Thomas

I did some link-chasing last night and ended up on the website of UK-based artist Ben Thomas through a post on OMG Posters. It was that top image that caught my eye with the nice purples and oranges, but it was the other work that struck me really hard. Such wonderful use of colour, greyscale, geometry, natural forms, texture and effects. He obviously has the digital chops, but it all looks so natural. Not forced or over-designed.

Beautiful stuff. Stopped me in my tracks for a while. Check out Ben’s website for more of this work, and drop by the store to see what’s for sale, and say hello on Twitter.