Here’s a surprise that came my way this year. Months ago I was contacted by Randall Hasson to see if I’d be interested in having some of my lettering included in the upcoming 24th edition of the venerable Speedball Textbook, created in 1915 by William Hugh Gordon and Ross F. George to instruct and explain the uses of the then brand-new Speedball lettering pens. The book was a perennial seller, going through many editions and revisions, and this one celebrates the 100th anniversary with classy production values: color throughout, glossy paper, and nice design work. Mr Hasson had found the dissections of the 14th Edition from 1941 on my blog, which begin HERE, and liked what I had to say. He wanted to include a short piece on comics lettering in the new edition he was editing, and asked for my input and some art. I told him he was about 20 years too late for comics, as nearly all of them are now lettered with digital fonts, but he wanted my work anyway. Seeing the finished book, I realize he’s included lots of material involving the craft of making letters, from sign painting to the latest in calligraphy and hand-made logos, so I’m happy to be included. There are also many lessons, examples and alphabets from the entire run of past editions, so it’s a nice package.
Here’s the first half of the comics spread with art by Jim Woodring and text I had a hand in.
And here’s the other side with my work, some hand-lettering from my Comic Book Dreams print, and a color version of my Lettering Sampler print. What a fun place to see my work!
I’m not sure when the book goes on sale officially, but you can pre-order it on the Speedball website if you’re interested.
Image © DC Comics
Nice to see this finally in an elegant hardcover edition. It’s one of my favorite Superman stories, and I feel lucky to have lettered it. The writing by Kurt Busiek is excellent, as is the art by Stuart Immonen. It was digitally lettered, but I did get to recreate some hand-lettering styles from DC’s past on the first page of each of the four chapters, so that was fun. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it highly.
Images © DC Comics
Just when I thought I had every possible version of Sandman, this monster arrived. It’s a stunning collection of SANDMAN original art from Graphitti Designs and Vertigo, about 13 by 20 inches and over 270 pages on thick, archival paper. Leo the cat for scale.
Inside are beautiful and revealing images of the original art for SANDMAN #1 by Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg, or at least as many pages as could be found (missing pages are filled in with large images of the black line art from printer film I think), about 65 pages of original art from a range of issues throughout the rest of the series, mostly one or a few per artist and story, a complete DEATH short story by Jeff Jones, then the complete art from THE DREAM HUNTERS, as adapted by P. Craig Russell (about half the book) and a gallery of pinups and commissions.
It really is odd for me to look at these pages of art that I worked on, mostly without any thought of posterity but simply doing my job of lettering. Here’s a small marginal note from me on a page from issue 25, I think the first Dead Boy Detectives story, where I offered some alternate Latin words that weren’t used. You can see so much of the process in many of these pages that goes unseen in the final printed books. Some pages, as on SANDMAN #1 are full of notes, corrections, things pasted on, all manner of information you can’t see elsewhere. At the other end of the spectrum are P. Craig Russells immaculate inked pages with his pencilled lettering and notes, pristine and lovely as if delivered from the gods. He was so great to work with, even if he didn’t like the fact that I lettered DREAM HUNTERS digitally instead of on the art. A little of that has been used in the Sandman balloons.
This is a cool book. I don’t know where I will put it, but very, very cool.
Image © DC Comics, Inc.
This new hardcover reprints the two large issues from the 1993-94 Vertigo crossover with an all-new center third lettered by me (along with other pages in the final section), a total of 75 new pages. As Neil explains in his introduction, the entire idea of a Vertigo crossover was new at the time, as was the imprint, and the original plan didn’t pan out well, so the story was never reprinted. In this new version, the story line has been carried through as originally intended with a center section plotted by Neil, written by Toby Litt and with art by Peter Gross. I think it works much better now.
Image © Vertigo/DC Comics.
On sale July 22nd in shops, but a small box of these just arrived. I’m so proud of it, and of everyone involved in this wonderful series. We topped it off in style! If you’re a FABLES reader and fan, I think you’ll love it as much as I do. If not, you should be!