I was reading the sixth issue of writer/artist Sean Murphy’s superb Batman: White Knight when something on the cover caught my eye. I hadn’t noticed it before on the covers of any of the previous issues I’d read. I checked into it, and I realized the reason: I picked up the regular cover editions of the all previous five issues, but for #6, the variant cover (also by Murphy) had been tucked into my pull slot at my local comic shop.
I looked online at the other variant cover editions for the previous issues, and I spotted the same thing. A subtle little trick: the variants boasted a different masthead, specifically, the part reading “Batman.” And there’s something hidden in Batman’s name in those sans serif logos: Batman himself.
The bottom of the M in the variant covers’ Batman logo reveals the shape of the titular hero’s cowl. The only variant on which one doesn’t see it is the one for the second issue, because the Joker’s head is blocking the relevant letterform.
It’s possible it was an unintentional move by the logo designer, but I don’t think so. The Ms in the masthead for the regular covers and for the creator credits on all covers don’t replicate the bat-form. Sure, all of the capital Ms make triangular shapes that look like the Dark Knight’s “ears,” but typically, that lower point where the two sides of the letterform meet reaches the bottom of the character, leaving no space separating the two triangles.
I’m not sure if this is something Murphy directed himself or if it’s something the unnamed designer of the secondary variant masthead came up with on his own. Given its long publishing history and frequent adaptation of the property in other media, I’m not sure if this has been done before. A quick online search of past Batman logos didn’t reveal anything quite on point.
Unintentional or not, new or old, the subtle bit of design nevertheless amused me. Bravo. Just another reason to love Batman: White Knight.