Category Archives: Lettering/Fonts

IRA SCHNAPP in ACTION COMICS Part 2

This and all images © DC Comics.

In some 1940s National (DC) titles I’ve found Ira Schnapp story lettering beginning as early as 1945, but in ACTION COMICS I don’t see any until 1947. Many of the mid-40s stories are instead lettered by an unknown person I’m calling Proto-Schnapp for convenience, example above from ACTION #110, July 1947. Proto-Schnapp shares style similarities with Ira, and at first glance this could be Ira’s work. Notice the very regular and classic lettering and the balloon shapes with large scallops that sometimes overlap the panel above. My theory is this was an older letterer who Ira used as a model for his own work, but that’s just a guess. Continue reading

IRA SCHNAPP in ACTION COMICS Part 1

This and all images © DC Comics.

Continuing my research into the work of lettering legend Ira Schnapp, I’ll discuss cover lettering for ACTION here and interior lettering in Part 2. Many National Comics (now DC Comics) in the 1940s were “poster” covers rather than scenes relating to stories inside, but ACTION did buck that trend sometimes, as seen above, and used cover lettering more than many of the others. Issue #75 dated Aug. 1944 has the first example I think might be lettered by Schnapp. Continue reading

My Most Challenging Two Pages

Images © America’s Best Comics/DC Comics.

I don’t have anything prepared for my blog today, so I thought I’d reprint this from my website.

The most challenging and time-consuming two pages of the series PROMETHEA (written by Alan Moore, art by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray), and in fact probably of any in my career, were the all-lettering spread in PROMETHEA #23. Alan’s script provided a list of about 30 “prayers” or the equivalent, and his instructions were to get these translated into as many languages as possible and fill the two pages with them. J.H. gave me the idea he had in mind for the layout: circular balloons gradually reduced in size radiating from a central point on the left side, and the rest was up to me.

The first challenge was getting the translations, and I enlisted the help of Assistant Editor Kristy Quinn, her friends, and some online contacts of my own, as well as online translation programs like Babelfish to come up with versions of Alan’s text, or parts of it, in over 50 languages. In some cases I had to invent shorter phrases or just use single words, and I added a few music examples as well. Once that was assembled, I began lettering, stopping often to consult the reference, as I was using languages and even alphabets that were new to me. The whole process took about two weeks. I’m sure there are mistakes, and a few were later pointed out to me by readers in the Hebrew translations. Mostly, though, my own personal prayer near the lower right corner, “God, I hope I’ve lettered this right…” had been granted, as far as I know.

A larger version of the two pages is HERE.

THE DANNY CRESPI FILES Part 9

crespi33

This and all images © Marvel.

Continuing my ongoing series about the cover lettering of Danny Crespi at Marvel Comics, mostly from 1974-1978. Photocopies of saved cover lettering from Danny’s files were compiled into a collection by letterer and friend Phil Felix during the 1980s when he worked with Danny on staff at Marvel, and Phil sent me copies. This time I’ll look at pages 33 to 36.  Page 33, above, has many characteristic style points of Danny’s own work on covers, including thick caption borders that extend past the corners (those extensions were trimmed off when photostatted and pasted on the cover art), generally bouncy and somewhat rounded open letters, an upturned right leg on the open R in “Deathcry,” and very wide standard lettering, as seen here on “The menace of the.” Uses of these captions are below. Continue reading

Title and Cover Design for Neil Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE

rmcg-neverwhere-illus-june-28-2016

Illustration © Robert McGinnis.

Continuing my series on these covers, this is the fourth and last of the group I worked on this year. Links to the other articles will be at the end.

On June 28th, 2016 I received the image above from Harper-Collins, the raw scan of the cover painting for “Neverwhere” by illustration legend Robert McGinnis, who is still painting at 90 after a long and celebrated career on paperback covers, movie posters and related media images. Neil had this to say on an approach to the title and type design: “I think probably Gothic. ‘Secret House of Forbidden Danger’ kind of thing.” Continue reading