Anyone ever thought about this? Or is it just me?
Perhaps we need a bit of context here. A while back, I was confronted with the realisation that I was working on a number of multi-part comics, and I had been relying a little too heavily on standardised ‘next issue’ captions. A lot of my gigs up until that point had been either one-offs, graphic novels or small press shorts, so I’d simply never spent much time designing them or thinking about them.
The realisation that I hadn’t done this… filled me with shame.
SO. I figured it was probably time to start practicing. I’ve already been doing this a little more on paying gigs (you’ll see some examples in Big Dog’s excellent ‘Ursa Minor’ mini-series) but I’ve found that, because I letter pages near-as-dammit in sequential order, and deadlines are often tight, when I get to the last page, there just isn’t a great deal of time to do any involved design work.
The solution seemed to be to take a look at some designs for ‘next issue’ captions in the comics on my shelf, and work out a way to emulate the ones I liked. Moreover, I wanted to work out a method for putting this stuff together in a reasonable time frame. But WHAT was I going to put into those captions?
Well, giving the matter some thought, I cast my mind back to the things I used to enjoy most as a kid: comic books (obviously!) and video games. I used to fill my school holidays with those things, leafing through pages and stabbing joystick buttons, quite often wishing that the games would cross over into the comics. These days, with things like Halo, Mass Effect and Gears of War, they do. But back then, it just never happened. I wanted to read the adventures of some of the characters from those games, and being denied the opportunity… kinda sucked.
So, my mind began to contemplate… what if some of those old games I used to play in the local amusement arcades had got their own monthly books? What might I have been tantalised with at the end of each issue? After a while spent reminiscing, and leafing through ’90s comics (which are a great source of design inspiration for me) I’d contend that we might have seen stuff like this:
All of the above caption boxes are put together using pre-made fonts, which have been manipulated in Illustrator.
But, anyhoo – enjoy this glimpse from my fevered brain of what might have been!