Friday, 6 February 2015

Spinal Tapestry Pt. 4: Blast-off

Or the fantastic book spine design of Rocket Girl Vol. 1
by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder; Image Comics

One of my comic book obsessions is the design of the comic book spines. I love collecting physical books because I vastly prefer the reading experience and because I love decorating my home with these books as art objects. It's a lot like filling my living space with physical idea machines. So it is important to me that comics look nice. The trouble is that comics seem to focus their attention making the covers of the comics look nice (which is important) and neglect the design of the spines of the comics. Which is tragic because most of the time when you look at comics on book shelves all you see is there spine. So I really wish more attention was put into making the spine of comics more memorable and visually interesting.

(I would also make the case that most comics shops, aside from highlighted and new titles, display their comics spines out, so there is an economic incentive to put more effort into spine design.)

Rocket Girl Vol. 1 is a comic with a great, memorable spine design. It is really a comic that jumps off a book shelf by doing something creative: including the protagonist, the Rocket Girl herself, on the book's spine.  Which is a perfect choice.

The reason this is a perfect choice is that the character design of Rocket Girl is pretty fantastic. The comic itself is really good: a super fun time travel story that bounces between a gonzo future and a stylish, 1980s past. It's a really great comic that taps right into the nostalgia of the best sci-fi media from the '80s. At first glance though, you don't know any of this. But, if you've seen Rocket Girl with her rocket jetpack and great retro-futurist costume, I think there is a pretty strong chance you're intrigued by the comic. I know that I decided to try Rocket Girl largely because of Amy Reeder's artistic track record and by how cool and fun Rocket Girl the character looked. I think, on a purely marketting standpoint, the design of Rocket Girl is one of the comic's strongest assets.

By prominently featuring the awesome character design of Rocket Girl on the spine of the comic, Team Rocket manages to make their comic stand out from type-logo only comics and showcase the fantastic design of their character. Which is a great advertisement for the comic in a store, and for me, as a collector and reader, a great reminder of the essence of the comic and why I enjoyed it so much. It is absolutely the kind of comic spine design I'd like to see more of.

Spinal Tapestry 1
Spinal Tapestry 2

Spinal Tapestry 3

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