And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERN CORPS 35

GLC35Image © DC Comics, Inc.

It’s not a bad idea, really, pitting the New Gods against the Green (and other) Lanterns. Both groups are powerful and cosmic. What we’ve mostly learned in encounters so far is, the New Gods win the snotty superiority award, running over the Lanterns with apparently little effort, and very smug about it, though the Lanterns are tricksy, no doubt about it, and usually find smart ways to carry on. This issue is pretty far from the center of things, but interesting all the same, and the writing and art are good. Kyle Rayner, the one remaining White Lantern, is who the New Gods are really after, everything else is a sideshow, but the Corps is doing what they can against New Gods in their space.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY 16

AC16Image © Juke Box Productions.

Kurt Busiek has really been excelling at shorter stories in this title, and this one is complete in one issue, mostly, and gets in a large amount of content without it ever becoming a lecture. It follows a group of high school friends, with all the social traumas that entails, plus at least one of them is super-powered. Or maybe more. And, like Peter Parker, the story explores how powers don’t save you from being an outsider. We follow one of those friendships further in life, with triumphs and tragedy, and see how the high school memories resonate and echo later. Very nicely told, and of course the art by Alex Ross and Brent Anderson is terrific, too.

Recommended.

The Rise of Digital Lettering, Part 7

LettSampKleinA Lettering Sampler © Todd Klein, 1993.

I arrived at my first San Diego Comic-Con in July of 1993 with this print to sell. It’s something of a diatribe in favor of hand lettering over type, but despite what the print says, I had been using computers for some time, just not for lettering. I’d worked with very primitive computers in a non-comics job in the early 1970s, and in 1984 bought a KayPro II primarily for writing. It had no graphics capability at all, but when I needed lettering that looked just like typing, I could print out and paste down type from it. I considered getting the first Apple Mac computer instead, but at the time didn’t think I would use it for graphics, and the KayPro was cheaper. Like other letterers, in the early 90s I’d been watching the development of comics fonts by David Cody Weiss, John Byrne and Richard Starkings with interest, and came to believe it was the wave of the future, and one I should be surfing myself. I met JG and Rich of Comicraft at that 1993 San DIego con, as well as other letterers like Bill Oakley, and discussions of computer fonts for lettering were rampant and sometimes heated. More on that later. Continue reading

The Rise of Digital Lettering, Part 6

ChrisEliopoulosMikeHeislerJonBabcockChris Eliopoulos, Michael Heisler and Jon Babcock, recent photos found online.

The gradually increasing presence of digital fonts on comics from many publishers was catching the attention of those who made their living hand lettering for the medium, and some responded by making fonts of their own. Image comics, particularly their WildStorm studio led by Jim Lee, were encouraging letterers to use fonts for their all-digital workflow by 1994. Marvel Comics, at first resistant to that idea, began following suit a few years later. In recent correspondence, Chris Eliopolous remembered:

My first font was made by someone else. My father knew this guy and he used Fontographer and made up a font based on my hand lettering. This was around 1991. I wasn’t totally happy with it, so I bought Fontographer and started playing with it myself. I eventually tweaked the font to something I could work with. Looking back now, it was absolutely horrible, but it worked well-enough. I think the first work I did on the computer was with WildStorm. Continue reading

The Rise of Digital Lettering, Part 5

Jeff_Smith_1991Jeff Smith, 1991, photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Writer/artist Jeff Smith began creating BONE, his self-published comic in 1991. The art style was reminiscent of Walt Kelly’s POGO comic strip, but while the writing had lots of humor, it unfolded in a vast fantasy world more like that of J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bone1From BONE #1 cover dated July 1991, BONE © Jeff Smith.

Smith did everything on the comic including the lettering, which again was roughly in the style of Walt Kelly with lots of large display lettering for emphasis. Smith began falling behind his publishing deadlines, and one way he found to save a little time was to create fonts from his own hand lettering. Continue reading