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
This is George Dunsford Klein, who had a long career in comics (known simply as George Klein) as an artist and inker. He was born in Louisiana in about 1915 (records differ) and grew up in Wyoming. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute and then moved to New York City where he took a staff job at Timely Comics, the precursor of Marvel Comics. He initially was a penciler and inker on super-hero stories but later moved to funny animal comics at Timely. Since he was on staff, much of his work there is unsigned and hard to identify. Continue reading
Here are a few biographical details about Danny from census records found by Alex Jay. In 1930 the family lived on Junius Street in Brooklyn. They were father Sam Crespi, mother Sarah Crespi, Daughter Rachel (age 9) and son Daniel (age about 4). Danny’s birth year is given as “about 1926.” His parents were born in Turkey. By the 1940 census, the family was living on Claremont Parkway in The Bronx. Rachel is now listed as Ray. Social Security records give Danny’s mother’s maiden name as Sarah Asher, and have a birth date for Danny of Feb. 13th, 1926. His date of death is given as May, 1985.
This time we’ll look at pages 13-16 of the collection of cover lettering assembled by Phil Felix.
I believe all this cover lettering is by Danny. There are several versions of BLACKOUT and MURDER, probably trying different things for the same cover. The wobbly border around “OUT OF YOUR MIND!” is a style we haven’t seen before. Note that all the balloon and caption borders are thick and a similar line weight. Below are the places these were used that I could identify. Continue reading
Image © DC Comics. A larger version of this photo is HERE.
Some time in early 1982, the entire DC staff was invited on a company-paid retreat to Montauk, Long Island. This group photo from the event is in “The Bronze Age of DC Comics, 1970-1984” by Paul Levitz, from Taschen. I was there, I’m in the back row on the right, and this photo brought back memories of the event and the people that I thought I’d share. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from the Danny Crespi interview conducted by D. Jon Zimmerman in David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW #9, dated March 1984:
DANNY: I used to collect lettering assignments from different places and go home and do them. But for presentation work, you’re supposed to wait around by your phone ’til they call you, then go over to the studio to work. I don’t like that. I don’t like to wait around for people to call me. I like to belong to one place. Well, about twelve years ago I called up Morrie Kuramoto — I don’t talk to him that often and once every twelve years is enough. (Laughter.) I didn’t even know if he was still working at Marvel, but I heard he was. I asked if he had any work for me. He said, “Hey, man, I can use a hand. Come on down!” Then he told me to bring my own pen-holders! I said, “What kind of a place is this?” Apparently they never had any spare fountain pens or anything.
ZIMMERMAN: What was it like?
DANNY: It was real small. there was no room. In fact, to get me a spare seat, I had to wait for when Marie Severin was working at home. They didn’t even have shelves for supplies. Morrie gave me things to do. The pay was low — all the comics companies paid low wages in those days. But it was steady work. I wasn’t on staff, but I felt I belonged there. I came to work every day. I would do corrections, paste-ups — everything the Bullpen does now. After I was freelancing there steady for a while, John (Verpoorten) offered me a job, and I said, “Yeah, sure,” even though the wages were too low. It cost me money to work there!
One day John asked me why I was going to other places to get extra work when Marvel had plenty of extra work to give me, if I wanted to work at night. He would go around to everyone and say, “I’ve got Crespi staying here at night and I want you to have your work ready for him to finish by the time you go home.” Eventually, I helped him run the bullpen. John used to stay at night when I was working until seven or eight o’clock in the evening, doing cover-lettering and cover copy for nine-tenths of the covers. (End of interview excerpt)
This time I’ll be looking at pages 9 to 12 of the photocopied lettering collected by Phil Felix. Continue reading