Vocations of Heroes and Villains from Pop Chart Lab is a series of business cards for famous comic book alter egos.

If Comic Book Alter Egos Had Business Cards, Here’s What They’d Look Like

If Comic Book Alter Egos Had Business Cards, Here’s What They’d Look Like

The Eye
Slate’s design blog.
March 9 2015 11:54 AM

Business Cards for Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Other Comic Book Alter Egos

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The “Vocations of Heroes and Villains” from Pop Chart Lab features imaginary business cards for more than 30 famous comic alter egos.

Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Imagining what business cards for fictional characters would look like is not a new exercise. But Pop Chart Lab has designed the imaginary business cards of more than 30 famous comic alter egos and collected them in its newest print, “The Vocations of Heroes and Villains.”

“The cards on our print are meant to be winking nudges toward comic fans, evocative of the characters referenced without directly spelling out their heroic (or villainous) IDs,” Pop Chart Lab’s Rachel Mansfield said in an email. “They’re more the characters in business card form rather than cards the character would actually use. If Barry Allen/The Flash were a real person, for instance, it probably wouldn’t be very good for his secret identity to hand out red business cards covered in yellow lightning.”

Mansfield said that one of the Pop Chart Lab team’s main goals was to evoke these alter egos’ superhero identities without “giving away the farm,” she said. “This approach is fine in theory, but actually gets exceedingly complicated once you try to do that in the context of an alter ego’s day job. … We landed on a holistic approach that combines small visual cues, color that references the character’s ‘super’ costume, and a textual style redolent of their comic book world.”

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Below are some close-ups from the poster with comments from Mansfield on the designs:

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Clark Kent/Superman: “Perhaps the best known alter ego on the chart, this one didn’t require a lot of work to help the reader ‘connect the dots.’ We thought the Daily Planet’s globe was pop-culturally ubiquitous enough to get the job done. We added a dash of primary color as a nod to his suit.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Bruce Wayne/Batman: “Also a household name, we didn’t need any sort of bat imagery here to sell the concept. Instead, we designed the card after the fashion of Batman’s reputation: dark, Gothic, and tight-lipped.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Peter Parker/Eddie Brock (Spider-Man and Venom): “Both photographers at the Daily Bugle, both wearers of arachno-centric super suits. We gave Eddie, Spider-Man’s foil, the exact same design as Parker’s—save for a bit of dripping symbiote, the source of Venom’s powers.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

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Diana Prince/Wonder Woman: “For Ms. Prince, we leaned on some intricate design to marry her military position with her more wonderful attributes: sharp geometry intersects here to form something morphologically patriotic, but also does the neat trick of harkening to WW’s tiara, wrist cuffs, and shirt. As with Mr. Kent, we included the primaries here to evoke her costume.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

John Jones/Martian Manhunter: “One of the lesser-known alter egos on the poster, we designed his P.I. business card green with red straps, resulting in a design that almost looks like the Martian J’onn J’onzz’s chest.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Matt Murdock/Daredevil: “Daredevil is a blind lawyer when he’s playing ‘normal’ as Matt Murdock, and thus bears a blindfolded Lady Justice on his law firm’s business card. A touch of red was added to suggest his costume as seen on the fire escapes of Harlem.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Dinah Lance/Black Canary: “The birds on Lance’s card were originally purple, [but] we realized we’d look very stupid indeed if this florist’s canaries weren’t black.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

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Vic Sage/The Question: “This one wrote itself. As an investigative journalist, Sage asks the tough questions, so a bit of punctuation on the card marries his day-and-night personas. The blue and yellow directly addresses the Question’s classic Charlton getup: a blue fedora and trench coat over a yellow button-down shirt.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Scott Lang/Ant-Man: “Ant-Man’s a pretty small-potatoes comic character. … Our lead designer had the brilliant idea of including some signal transmission illustrations on Lang’s Electronic Repairmen card—which also happen to resemble the messages relayed by the antennae of insects.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Wade Wilson/Deadpool: “The ‘Merc With a Mouth’ has made a reputation of breaking the fourth wall in comic books, so here he is, holding his business card up to the viewer, letting us know that, yes, he’s a work of fiction.”

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Courtesy of Pop Chart Lab

Charles Xavier/Professor X: “Chuck’s card bears a huge 24th letter from top to bottom. But look a little closer and you’ll see that the X reverberates outward and manages to perform a bit of poster-telepathy on your impressionable, chart-loving brain.”

Kristin Hohenadel's writing on design has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Fast Company, Vogue, Elle Decor, Lonny, and Apartment Therapy.