By Ben Morse
While Cyclops and Wolverine struggle in the pages of X-MEN: SCHISM and into this fall’s Regenesis to decide who’s fit to lead mutantkind into a new era, neither will provide the first indelible images to mark this fresh chapter; that honor belongs to Jared Fletcher.
A Brooklyn-based designer, cartoonist and letterer who carries a degree from the Kubert School and shares studio space with celebrated artists Andy MacDonald Cliff Chiang, Fletcher designed the new unified logos the X-Men titles will sport when Regenesis commences this fall.
“[X-Men Senior Editor] Nick Lowe asked me if I wanted in [and] I believe I told him he shouldn’t even have to ask,” shares Fletcher of how he obtained this responsibility. “Of course I did. Who wouldn’t?”
For Fletcher, the opportunity to usher in a new beginning for Marvel’s mutants represented not only the chance to make history, but also to put an exclamation point on an ongoing process that has occupied him for the last few years.
“I’ve worked on X-Men titles before like SECOND COMING and SCHISM, so in my head I’ve been building towards what I really wanted for a while now,” he explains. “I came at Nick with a handful of concepts about a week after I was offered the job. I already had a few of them kicking around in my head and sketchbook.”
The first step from converting his rough ideas into something that would hopefully stand the
“One of the things I did in that first week was to dig up every old X-Men logo I could find,” relates Fletcher. “I wanted to see what worked and what didn’t. Movies, video games, manga, comics and anything else that had an X-Men logo on it I tried to find. I felt strongly that I wanted to take this into a different direction from a lot of what had been done before.
“So much of comics design is just rehashing old ideas. I wanted to put a fresh stamp on it. I really wanted this to be an exercise in what had not been done before. No one had a lowercase for the word ‘Men.’ I didn’t want any of the extreme perspective. I wanted something slick and modern.”
With a foundation and direction laid out, Fletcher moved forward into his process.
“I usually let these things roll around in the back of my head for a week or so while I’m working on other stuff,” he notes. “I make a lot of notes in my sketchbook along the way too. Then I’ll sit down and review my notes and start making more complete sketches by hand. From there I move to digital to start building the actual logo itself.
“This one all began around the idea of a lowercase ‘e.’ Once I had that shape, I built the rest from that. I had a lot of layout ideas, but the letterforms were really crafted from the one sketch of the ‘e’ shape.”
However, despite having a clear intention and strong sense of design in early sketches, Fletcher would have to adapt his ideas as part of the collaborative process with Lowe and other members of the X-Men team.
“Initially I wanted to change the cover treatment along with the logo [because] I thought it would help the uniformity aspect of the project, but that was canned early on,” he divulges. “A lot of little things changed as the project moved along. We had a lot of different takes on the ‘X’ itself. We added the dash between ‘X’ and ‘Men.’ And I lost my case for the lowercase ‘e.’ I also had to add the ‘X’ into the titles that didn’t have that letter in them, like NEW MUTANTS and GENERATION HOPE.”
The inclusion of every X-Men series in the logo treatment reflects on the increased unity the family of titles will have springing out of Regenesis. While each book will continue to tell its own stories and be accessible on its own, all will also have a part in the larger world that comes about as a result of Schism, something Fletcher had to convey in his work.
“That was really the only stipulation I was given when I was tapped for the job,” he says. “We had to have a unified feel to bring all these books together. So once we had the ‘X-Men’ part down, the rest would fall into place somewhat. There were stragglers like GENERATION HOPE and NEW MUTANTS that would require more work and their own logos, but they still had to fit into this look I was building.”
Following some final back and forth with Lowe, Fletcher would gain approval and move on to create the distinct pieces that have already captured attention as the promotion and excitement for Regenesis builds. Their designer will watch as his logos mark the dawn of a new day for the X-Men and carry out his ultimate goal:
“The mutants are supposed to represent the future of humanity. They are the tomorrow people. I wanted [these logos] to reflect that.”
Check out more of Jared’s work at his official web site