Euro 2020 Journal- Entry 3: Memphis matters and Frankie de Jong, NBA point guard.

Netherlands v Ukraine from Johan Cruijff Arena, Amsterdam. The lineups are in.

Floodlights shine down on the Johan Cruijff arena. The Dutch king and queen look on. The classic orange kits glimmer. With the Netherlands kicking off at last, Euro 2020 feels real.

Frank de Boer arrives after being lambasted all week for unleashing his team in a 3-5-2 formation. Planes with tactical instructions took to the sky.

Frankie de Jong, an NBA point guard wearing Nike boots, continually picks up the ball between Ukraine’s forwards. His head swivels as he dribbles past them into midfield.

Wout Weghorst (for the Netherlands) and Roman Yaremchuk (for Ukraine) score. Both add evidence to my “Euro 2020 is a striker’s tournament” theory.

Still this match, even with the incredible Ukraine comeback, is a about one player.

Memphis Depay.

He didn’t score or provide an assist. Not even a hockey assist. But Depay is a rare species in modern football. A genuine maverick, a #10. Sure, he lines up as a striker for the Netherlands, and scored 20 league goals for Lyon. But his style of play reveals the truth. He’s a #10.

With the ball he mesmerizes. The constant controls with the sole of his foot. The through balls between the centerback and the fullback no one else spots. The stoicism to physical defending. Using the defender’s momentum against himself, and then executing his signature drag back spin move. Football Akido.

Without the ball he mesmerizes. He struts across the pitch, socks sagged around his shins as we await magic to swish from his Under Armour boots.

He’ll start on the left and drift into #10 spaces. Collecting the ball a foot or two near the d. His back to goal, he’ll turn. Maybe play a one-two, try a nutmeg, or a clever chip over the top.

Today nothing came off for Depay. But whenever he receives the ball he’s a thriller novel, a page tuner. He always leaves you feeling something special will happen.

Don’t look away.

Euro 2020 Journal- Entry 2: Strikers, Strikers, Strikers

Sad day. Christian Eriksen collapsing shocked the world. Thankfully reports are coming out that he’s stabilized and even speaking with team mates. Our prayers continue for a full a recovery.

Wales v Switzerland from Baku. The lineups are in.

In the past I’d have skipped this match. But I no longer take international tournaments for granted. I no longer take supporters in the stadium for granted. I don’t even take hearing Seven Nation Army over and over again for granted. I’m determined to cherish every minute of this Euros.

So what’s to cherish here?

Strikers scoring goals.

Wales’ Keiffer Moore and Switzerland’s Breel Embolo bagged one each.

My theory is proving correct, this is a strikers tournament. Besides Moore and Embolo, Ciro Immobile scored. Union Berlin’s #9, Joel Pohjanpalo snagged one. Lukaku plundered a pair.

Nearly all were poachers takes too. Opportunistic finishes around the penalty spot.

Only Lukaku’s late goal running onto a Meunier thread could be considered a build-up goal.

Let’s hope this trend continues.

Euro 2020 Journal- Entry 1: The Legend of Domenico Berardi

We’ve all missed tournament football. I’ve missed it. You’ve missed it.

Italy v Turkey from Rome. The lineups are in.

Match commentators: Jon Champion and Taylor Twellman.

One Turkish player perks my interest, Okay Yokuslu. Along with The West Brom midfielder’s extraordinary first name, I’m also a sucker for defensive midfielders. I don’t have an inkling how he plays. Is he cultured steering wheel of a holding mid? Or is he an ankle biting Mako Shark of a holding mid?

(Post match conclusion: Okay was neither a steering wheel or a Mako Shark. While his passing was tidy in spells, he was taken off at minute 65.)

A cool Domenico Berardi origin story from Taylor Twellman. Legend is, scouts discovered Berardi playing in a 5v5 tournament. He hadn’t played academy football to that point.

Ciro Immobile scores in the 66th minute. It’s a true strikers goal too. Immobile loiters around the penalty spot until a rebound drops in front of him after Cakir’s initial save. Immobile side foots it in with his right foot. Clean.

Hopefully this an omen for a high scoring tournament. It’s satisfying when your strikers score. The tournament feels proper that way. Think Totò Schillaci in Italia 90 or Ronaldo in Korea/Japan 2002. Is the first of a clutch of Immobile goals on way to the golden boot?

The possibilities!

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 22: Comic Book Lettering, DC Edition

Alright. This is the DC comics edition. As I was looking these over, I thought what’s the purpose of comics lettering?

My theory is comic book cover lettering needs to “anchor” the cover. It will be the one piece of comic book graphic design that remains the same issue after issue.

The cover art will change, but the title lettering (typically) stays consistent. Comic covers are displayed cover out on spinner racks (R.I.P.) and comic book stores. Good title lettering should immediately reveal who the hero(s) are and what type of adventure you’re in for.

Let’s take a closer look.

Tales of the Teen Titans #63, 1986

Before they were a hit cartoon, The Teen Titans were a superhero group with an ongoing series. Think the mini version of the Justice League.

DC kept their wordmark recognizable for this special Tales of the Teen Titans series by keeping the same font from their 80’s title The New Teen Titans. They did switch the color from red to blue. But it remains a font that coveys strength of the team as a group.

All Star Squadron #28, 1983

The whack Justice League deserves it’s due. It follows a common trend of comic book title lettering, using red and 3D block letters. But it works in three pieces of contrast as well.

  1. ALL is flat and lifted forward with the a white star behind it.
  2. STAR is the largest of the font sizes and has the thickest stroke around the letters.
  3. SQUADRON is slightly smaller and has a star inside the A. Also, the stroke thins out.
Batman The 10 Cent Adventure, 2002

There’s hundreds of variations of Batman covering lettering. The lettering for the one-off, 10 cent adventure has tall, blood red, san-serif font. The design foreshadows the story of Bruce Wayne being framed for murder.

Starman #13, 1989

One of the cheesiest superheros of all time. Has the name your friend’s little brother would think up on the playground. The lettering follows a similar trend. Red, 3D block letters. Tight kearning. And replacing a letter with a shape. In this case, a star for the A.

Graphic Design In the Wild – Day 21: Comic Book Lettering, Marvel Edition

This post was inspired by web designer Regan Ray‘s Marvel Superhero Lettering blog post (h/t Austin Kleon). It had me wondering, what awesome lettering was in my long box?

These are well executed examples of lettering. But it’s the feelings they evoke about the characters that makes them special.

Let’s take a closer look.

X-Men Grand Design #1, 2017

For Ed Piskor’s Grand Design, you can see the 90s influence of the X-Men cartoon show. Even though it’s paper, you can almost see the volt of electricity flowing through the letters.

Hawkeye #6, 1988

With Hawkeye’s lettering you get the feeling that this is a hero who’s all about one thing: hitting the target.

Excalibur #3, 1988

The British X-men? Probably too many swords on this one. But it does express a royal, knights of the round table feel.

Fantastic Four #356, 1991

Slapstick. Zany. Funny. Heroic.

The Fantastic Four lettering captures all the energy of what makes the Fantastic Four adventures so well, fantastic!