Incoming: KINGDOM COME 20th Anniversary Hardcover

KingdomComeHC011Image © DC Comics.

Another new version of something I lettered that I wasn’t expecting. I’m no longer getting “Diamond Previews,” so I don’t see what’s coming anymore. KINGDOM COME was a great project to be involved in, I loved the art and the story. It was lettered by hand about 20 years ago, even though I was just starting to letter on the computer in 1996. Mostly it was lettered on vellum placed over photocopies of the art, so I didn’t see much of the art in color until the book came out. I loved it even more then. I think this wraparound cover by Alex Ross is new, at least I hope so. Least they could do for the anniversary. It’s nice to see the font I created for and with Alex being used on the title, but the lettering/type nerd in me sees several kerning errors: too much space between the first O and M, too little between the D and O and C and O. I’m sure most of you would never have noticed that, sorry…

More about working with Alex on this project and others is HERE.

And Then I Read: THE LAST COMPANION Chapter One

LastCompanionImage © William Neal McPheeters.

Two friends and partners have traveled from the far future to a time that’s still well in the future for us, a time of war between robots and men. They’re on a mission to retrieve an item containing important knowledge. The setting is in the canyons of the American southwest. Ted, the man in the green shirt above, and Robear, the gun-toting intelligent bear, soon find themselves involved with a group of Native Americans who are the target of both robots and other humans. A red raven leads Ted and Robear to the woman named Raven and her friends, and the pair from the future agree to help them to a safe haven. Along the way, Ted and Raven become more than friends, and all face many dangers in the perilous war-torn canyon country.

My friend Neal McPheeters gave me an advance copy of his 64-page graphic novel to read, and I enjoyed it a great deal. I think you will, too. It combines elements of science fiction, western, action/adventure and other genres, but the characters and dialogue are what make it fun to read. It’s not yet published. In fact, it’s being Kickstarted. You can get in on the adventure HERE. Neal and I have known each other and occasionally worked together since the 1980s, and his latest project is one close to his heart, and well worth your support. And, hey, there’s a smart-ass talking bear with a gun!

And Then I Read: TUNNELS by Gordon & Williams

TunnelsCover illustration © David Wyatt.

The Burrows family (get it?) has a father and son who share a similar obsession: digging holes and tunnels. Dr. Burrows is the curator of a small museum, and always looking for artifacts and lost bits of history, while his fourteen-year-old son Will simply enjoys the process of digging into the earth. Will’s mother seems to be addicted to watching television and does little else, and his sister Rebecca, the most practical member of the family, is stuck with the cooking, cleaning and scheduling, which she’s not happy about. Will and his father make a dig into some remarkable ruins, but their progress seems to be constantly thwarted by someone or some group that keeps filling up their tunnels. Meanwhile, Dr. Burrows is on the trail of mysterious characters lurking in their neighborhood who might be connected to their findings.

One morning the family awakes to find that Dr. Burrows has disappeared from his own basement study. Will and his friend Chester begin to investigate, and Will is determined to find out what happened. They discover a hidden tunnel entrance in the room, but it’s again filled in. Undaunted, Will and Chester re-dig the tunnel until it opens out into an underground world they can barely believe. That’s only the beginning of their troubles. Soon, they’re caught and imprisoned in a secret underground city that has been cut off from the surface world for many decades. Most curious of all, some of the citizens there declare that Will is their long-lost relative!

I enjoyed this book in general, but there were two areas that I had problems with. First, the scope of the underground world beneath modern London is so vast and complex it strained belief. Fortunately the characters and story line otherwise were engaging enough to overcome that for me. It’s a long thrill ride through inventive creations and underground perils of all kinds, and in that way, a good read. The other problem is there’s no satisfying resolution at the end of the 472 pages, just unresolved problems that are “to be continued” in the next book. That’s okay for a 22 page comic, but I expect more from a novel, especially one this long. Because of that, I can only mildly recommend the book, but if it sounds appealing to you, and you’re willing to sign on for the entire series, go for it.



Image © Michael Zulli and Dark Horse Books.

Here’s something I wasn’t expecting, a reprint of “Miss Finch,” the graphic adaptation of the Neil Gaiman story with art by Michael Zulli. I’m credited as “script adaptation and lettering.” How did that come about? This project was in the works for a few years. About once a year editor Diana Schutz would call me and talk about it, making sure I still wanted to letter it. Michael is a wonderful artist, but meticulous and pretty slow. Once he was done, a friend of Neil’s, Olga Nunes, did a lettering script, but Diana was not happy with it. Eventually she called me to say, “I don’t know what to do about this script.” I offered to take a look and see if I could come up with something she liked better. I rewrote the lettering script based on what Olga had done, but avoiding problems like describing what the art showed, things like that. Olga had the right idea, just not the experience of working in graphic storytelling. Diana was happy, so was Neil, and I was able to letter the book so it could be finished up and published. In the first printing, there’s a credit that reads, “with special thanks to Olga Nunes.” I’m sorry it’s not in the new version, she deserves mention. Some of her work definitely made it onto the pages, though I’m no longer sure how much. Both of us drew from the Gaiman story as much as possible.

Really like the new cover design by Rick DeLucco. Great type design, and it shows off the cover art beautifully.

And Then I Read: JACKED #5

Jacked5Image © DC Comics.

Josh, the middle-aged man who tried to solve his problems with the wonder-pill called “Jacked” keeps getting in deeper with every issue. Now he’s hallucinating about being a super-hero. It’s true he does have drug-enhanced strength and resilience, but he hardly knows who he’s really up against, can’t tell the real attackers from the fantasy ones. Only his “sidekick,” the dangerous girl-next-door, knows what’s really going on, and who they have to kill to survive. Meanwhile, Josh is longing for his family, who are with his wife’s sister. Too bad he’s not the only person who knows that…

I enjoyed this issue more than the last one. The fantasy element makes it more entertaining and less depressing, though it’s hard to see how Josh’s life can turn around from the hole he’s dug himself.