REX
Studio Portfolio of Alexander Cardia
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Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle // Emmy-Nominated Broadcast Design for PBS

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle. Emmy-nominated broadcast design, animation, and main title sequence for the PBS documentary series on the history of American comic books.

SUPERHEROES: A NEVER-ENDING BATTLE

PBS


 

For this gigantic undertaking of a three-part documentary series on the history of American comic books, every piece of archival coverage across the film series was art directed and / or animated by REX.

Our efforts were rewarded with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Design. And while it is an honor just to be nominated... a win would have been just fine.

 

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle presents an epic tale of American mythology, examining how the evolution of costumed crusaders reflects our social, political and cultural history. The series explores comic book superheroes as both mythos and art form, tracing an outward growth from small, humble roots to near ubiquity and commercial success. The design and style of the film aims to reflect this thematic charge by establishing a handsome and respectful baseline for the near-constant comic book coverage and diverging to both support, instruct, and engage the audience.

Every 6x10 full-page comic exists within the familiar world of the full HD frame, shadowed, and slightly elevated from a relevant or topical background. This posture was designed as sort of “default” state for all the art in the film, more complex treatments were built out from there.

 

BACKGROUNDS AND MAIN TITLES

Green screen backgrounds were chosen as narrative supplements, but visually-treated so as never to distract from the interview.

The main title was built to bridge the gap between the printed paper comics and the recent filmic depictions of those selfsame stories; the choice of the Earth as a graphical element reinforces the significance that these fantastic stories remain human creations of human concern.

 

SELECTED SEQUENCES

All of the featured art is stimulating in its own right; but still, the film deserves a lively and modern presentation. The resulting dynamics might best be described as motion collages. We pull out relevant panels, flip through pages, and otherwise stylistically transition from asset to asset, all while taking pains to ensure that the artist’s original vision is never overshadowed.

Series Director // Michael Kantor
Art Director // Alexander Cardia
Editors // Kris Liem, Pamela Scott Arnold
Animation // Alexander Cardia