Olly Moss's new Captain America posters

 Images 2011 07 18 T-Magazine 18Olly-Viladas 18Olly-Viladas-Custom1  Images 2011 07 18 T-Magazine 18Olly-Viladas 18Olly-Viladas-Custom2

In the New York Times T Magazine blog, our pal Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly profiled designer/illustrator Olly Moss, whose work we've featured on BB several times. Most recently, Moss created limit edition posters for the new Captain America film. From the NYT:
One of the prints is dark and heroic, obviously the work of Allied propagandists. “A IS FOR VICTORY” it playfully proclaims. This is Moss at his finest – bold graphics, serious inspiration and a wry sense of humor. But this poster’s evil twin is the apparent handiwork of an Axis artist, who has turned the Captain’s mighty shield into an arrow-pierced target. As for its Nazi-style lettering, in German no less, it’s downright creepy...

“I tend to prefer things with a really strong idea,” Moss says, “things that are concept-focused. I kind of like the work to be functional, so it needs to be as simple as possible.” Moss has employed this hard-working-minimalist approach throughout his brief career; the 24-year-old graduated in 2008 from the University of Birmingham in England, where he studied literature. “Design was a hobby that took off,” he explains.

"Poster Boy Wonder"


  1. However, a third reich typographer would NEVER have used a typeface designed by a Jew, right?

  2. Nazi Style lettering? Certainly not “Das Ziel” – the Nazis actually banned Fraktur / Blackletters, even defamed them as “Schwabachaccher Juden-Lettern.”

    Also, “Kaptitän Amerika” is simply wrong – Cap’s with the army, so his rank should get translated as “Hauptmann”. Even Marvel Comics got that right. Unless you command a ship, spacecraft, plane or possible a dirigibl or lead a soccer team, you ain’t no Kapitän.

  3. Translation issues aside, these are fantastic! Love the Victory/peace sign repurposed as the wings on Cap’s helmet!

  4. Yes, I guess Hauptmann America would be closer to actual German.

    Buuuuut…he got the rest down pretty good. At least it looks like the posters from the museum of the Austrian resistance, and the posters we were shown in school.

    I wouldn’t have heard about Nazis banning Fraktur outright, sure they discouraged it in 1941, but all the stuff my grandparents have from the time (Newspapers, Documents, etc.) is written like that.

    Germany first began converting to Antiqua like most other countries, then the Nazis shoved everyone back to Fraktur as the quintessential “German” script, enforcing it pretty much everywhere, before doing an about-face in 41, probably when somebody dreamed up some pea-brained story about it weakening the German spirit because it resembled Schwabacher script, which had been the standard German script from the 15th to the 16th century, but also happened to have been invented by someone who might have been a jew. But since 90% of documents and newspapers were printed with Fraktur at the time, it took them a while to implement the changes.

    And they still had that whole war going on, so they probably weren’t that quick about it. Not to thread on anybody’s historian boots, but I kind of grew up being show this stuff and being told “And that’s all our fault.” So I’m sensitive to it.

    1. Well, banned is too strong a word, yes, but when an authoritarian regime “recommends” something, it’s usually more healthy to follow.

      Anyway, even though Fraktur enjoyed a small renaissance used as a headline font, its use was discouraged from January 1941 on. Steve Rogers became Captain America late in 1940 – I don’t think he would have became notorious enough to warrant such a poster until after Germany declared war on the USA, I.e. December 1941.

      The posters are nice to look at, but IMHO not that great. they feel like I’ve seen em before. See, for example, the faux propaganda movie on “The Rocketeer” for prior examples.

  5. the 24-year-old graduated in 2008 from the University of Birmingham in England, where he studied literature. “Design was a hobby that took off,” he explains.

    Fuck you, pal.

    /jealousy off

  6. Neat work – loved the victory sign on the helmet, too.
    I really hope the script and directing are gonna have similar thought and craft put in to them.

    1. I think the new movie version of Captain America will do quite well since the whole concept is his origin in the World War II era and ends with him being a person out of place in the modern world. That is ripe for some decent subtle cultural criticism.

      1. OR that could turn into a Crocodile Dundee in a leotard with lots of slow-mo action sequences…

  7. The A is for Victory poster is my favorite–the victory symbol on the helmet is a neat piece of work.

  8. The whole “Fraktur oder nicht Fraktur” thing was a point of controversy for the Nazis throughout their regime. What I’ve read indicated that an official switchover was attempted in 1941 — wrapped in rhetoric about the “Jewishness” of Fraktur, but really driven in part by the difficulty folks in occupied territories were having reading German correspondence.

    I believe Fraktur came back yet again in Germany toward the end of the war, as I found a collection of Nazi-era law journals in the Villanova University Law Library, which were in more modern script until 1944, whereupon they switched to Fraktur lettering on lower grade pulp paper. I suspect Allied bombing resulted in some of the old type having to be recovered from storage.

    Anyway, it’s not just the Fraktur on the German poster that’s Nazi-era. I know I’ve seen whatever that font is in the “Sieg für Hydra” line in some old Nazi posters.

  9. The A in this case stands for America. So it’s pretty insensitive to the other Allies. Historically accurate, but insensitive.

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