Category Archives: Creating Comics

9th Blog Anniversary

SpaceOdyssey2AI’ve been very busy with work and personal stuff lately, so not as active here as I’d like. Today marks the beginning of the tenth year of this blog, and all I can offer are some teases and previews of things to come. Above is a section of a logo, one of five I’ve just done for a major entertainment magazine. More when it comes out.

AnansiBoysTitlesB3_trimAnother project I’m excited about but can’t discuss are a series of paperback cover designs for a mainstream book publisher, small section of one above.

DOOM PATROL 1_X_ltrsOn the comics side, here’s a small clip from an a new upcoming series from DC.

MIRACLEMAN201600100X_letAnd another from Marvel. I suspect I’m not allowed to show any of the above images, you won’t tell, will you?

666ProdRozakisSampleFinally, on the blog itself, I’m gathering information for a multi-part article about the DC Comics offices at 666 5th Avenue from 1982 to 1991. Here’s one of many photos I’ve been given, this one from Bob Rozakis. That’s him with publisher Jenette Kahn in the Production Room back when. I have more photos coming, and have yet to find time to write the article, but hope to have it for you in the next few weeks.

That’s it, stay tuned!


Crespi21Images © Marvel.

This time I’m covering pages 21 to 24 of the collection of Marvel cover lettering from about 1974 to 1978—mostly by Danny Crespi—compiled by fellow letterer Phil Felix. Above is page 21. These are all lettered by Danny I believe. If you’re following the series, you should have picked up some clues by now about his style. One obvious one on this page are the heavy panel borders that often extend beyond the corners. Those extensions were cut off when the lettering was photostatted and pasted onto the cover art. Another clue is the right leg of the R in display lettering often turns up at the end. Not every time, but there are several examples here. Danny’s non-display or regular lettering is very wide and very even and regular with little or no “bounce.”  Continue reading

Pulled From My Files #41: WONDER WOMAN COVERS

WW_Klein_BlogImages © DC Comics.

In 1982, while on staff at DC, I was asked to create a framing device for the covers of a three-part WONDER WOMAN story. The idea was to make it look as much as possible like a hardcover book. There would be two large boxes, the top one for the DC symbol, WW logo (I designed it based on the Milton Glaser chest symbol), the price box, code seal, and room for large title lettering. The bottom one would hold the cover art. I drew it out in pencil, then inked all the borders and lines with technical drawing pens.  The illusion of depth needed to make it work was helped by the application of a Zip-a-tone pattern that is meant to suggest the rough texture of a cloth book binding. The large box at lower left is for the UPC code, and it definitely hurts the attempted depth of the book spine, but there was nothing I could do about that.

WW_Klein_DetailA closer look at the upper right corner. The Zip-a-tone has shrunk with age, leaving gaps where the pieces once met. To get the shaded effect on the binding I scraped away some of the texture with an Exacto knife, being careful not to cut the film. That worked pretty well. Darker areas like the one along the top had two layers of tone. I had to allow for bleed, which is why the top, right and bottom edges look a little odd.

WW291coverHere’s the first printed cover, WONDER WOMAN #291, May 1982. I also lettered the titles and spine copy separately and later, and it was all put together by DC Production, probably Bob LeRose. My frame was held in color, which I think works fine, though I wish they had put the spine copy and the outer borders of the boxes in colors too, so it would mesh better. Still, I think the overall effect is pretty good, and I didn’t mind getting paid extra for the frame. I see my name was even added to the credits, probably the first time that happened for me.

WW292CoverThe second cover used different colors for the frame. This one is trimmed badly, leaving too much of the frame at the top, and not enough at the bottom, but that’s what bleed is for, and the printing quality was not as good then as it is now.

WW293coverThe third cover of the trilogy is just a little redder in the frame than the first one. A fun project, and the kind of thing I sometimes got to do just by being there on staff when an extra project came up.

By the way, the original frame art will be on eBay starting this evening, if anyone is interested in it.

A Little More Info on Ira Schnapp

1913 Ira Scnhapp Stuyvesant HS 02

On Alex Jay’s blog, he’s put up a post about Ira Schnapp’s High School Graduation in June, 1913. This was information that Alex and I shared some months ago, and I’d forgotten about it, so I’m glad to see his post. We were searching for the yearbook from his school for that year, and could find only the one before. Alex has posted some images and information from that yearbook which gives a general idea of the kind of classes Ira might have taken. Until Alex found this reference, we weren’t sure where he went to High School, or whether he graduated, so now that small part of Ira’s life is filled in. Thanks, Alex!


Crespi17Images © Marvel.

To recap, in 1984 letterer Phil Felix put together a large collection of photocopied cover lettering while working in the Marvel Bullpen alongside Danny Crespi, the Production Manager at the time, and a fine letterer himself. Most of the lettering is by Danny, as on this page, #17 in the collection, and it comes mainly from 1974-1978 when Danny was lettering most of Marvel’s covers. I’ve found many of the covers where it was used, and I’ll show them after each page. This article covers pages 17-20 of the Phil Felix collection. Note that the original lettering in black and white often looks better than on the printed covers where it sometimes gets lost in color and surrounding art. Continue reading