DC Comics Presents No. 36 by Levitz & Starlin

With DC Comics recently releasing the second volume of DC Comics Presents in its black & white Showcase line, we now move into a number of great issues with art by Jim Starlin. My favourite of the bunch is No. 36, which completed the original run of Starman, late of Adventure Comics. Another cover I’ve done logo and colour reconstruction for.

DC Comics Presents 36

The published cover from Aug ’81.


DC Comics Presents 36

A raw scan from the Showcase volume.

DC Comics Presents 36

Art cleaned up and the existing branding stripped away.

DC Comics Presents 36

The missing bits of art redrawn.

DC Comics Presents 36

The reconstructed lineart.


DC Comics Presents Logo

For logo reconstruction, I start by laying out a complete set of construction lines. This shows me how the logo was hand drawn originally. Was it geometric in its accuracy, or was it more about freehand creativity?

DC Comics Presents Logo

From there, the updated letterforms are drawn, taking advantage of the precision computerised tools offer us.

DC Comics Presents Logo

Comparing the scan to the rebuilt logo.


Superman Logo

The classic Superman logo by Ira Schnapp, DC’s long-time inhouse letterer. His was an update of the original by Joe Shuster. Scan courtesy of Todd Klein.

Superman Logo

Late in the process, after I’ve deleted the construction lines. This is 3D-style lettering, so each surface has been given a separate shape.

Superman Logo

Comparing my final to Schnapp’s, I corrected the kerning (character spacing for you non-type types), made the one-point perspective accurate, smoothed out the long arc that defines the logo’s curve, and lightened the line weights because we have better printing today. Modern versions inspired by Schnapp’s have also done this, but I don’t believe anyone has updated the original before.


Starman Logo

Gaspar Saladino’s original Starman logo, done for First Issue Special #12 in 1976. Scan courtesy of Todd Klein.

Starman Logo

For my version, I straightened out the stars and smoothed out the arcs.


DC Comics Presents 36

All the reconstructed branding placed on the cleaned-up lineart.


DC Comics Presents 36

Reconstruction of the original colour.


DC Comics Presents 36

I never understood why they changed Starman’s costume from red and yellow to the all blue for this appearance. Maybe it was to have decent contrast against the orange and yellow of the cover background. Maybe Starlin thought it was too much like Captain Marvel and Adam Warlock, the sci-fi work he was much better known for. For this new version by me, I thought I’d try out an all-red costume.

DC Comics Presents 36

Here he is with his original costume.


DC Comics Presents 36

I’ve hoped for years that DC would collect the series in trade paperback form. The closest we’ve gotten are the Ditko stories in The Ditko Omnibus Volume Two. Here’s a cover to remind them I’d still like a nice all-in-one package.

DC Comics Presents 36

And the original-costume variation.


The Recoloured Story

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton

Starman by Paul Levitz & Jim Starlin, coloured by Scott Dutton


Your Bonus for Scrolling to the Bottom of the Page

Starman by Paul Levitz & Steve Ditko

Back in 2002, trade paperbacks were starting to become an important part of the comic industry. I drew this one up. Lord Oswin (top left) sucks, but the rest still works for me. I coloured it up, did the same for one of the story pages, and sent it off to DC. I hoped to package the book. A few weeks later I got a nice letter from Robert Greenberger, then the senior editor of collected editions. He thanked me for sending it, but said that anyone who wanted to read that version of Starman most likely had the original issues. There was no, “By the way, since you sent this in…”, so that was all there was to it.


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