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.
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.
Here are two more examples of hand-lettering created for covers that I don’t think I’ve run before.
Both are Legion of Super-Heroes books most likely from the early 1990s. The sort of thing I did lots of at the time, often four to six a week. I like the very thick letters in CRUSH above, and I did a lot of the jagged outlines seen here. I can get close on the computer, but it never looks quite as good as pen and ink.
During my phone conversations with Ira Schnapp’s son Marty and his wife Pam, I told them about the Ira Schnapp exhibit by Arlen Schumer then running at the Type Director’s Club, and they wanted to see it. So did I, and I suggested we go together. Unfortunately, we all had busy schedules, and by the time we arranged for the trip, it turned out to be on the very last day of the show, Monday, Sept. 21st, 2015. I had spent time with Marty the day before at his apartment, where he and I had another long talk, and looked at the few photos of Ira and his family he’d found. Pam is recovering from an injured shoulder, and was unable to join us, but Marty and I planned to meet at the show at 10 AM, and would be joined there by my research partner Alex Jay, the exhibit creator Alex Schumer, and as it turned out, a few of Arlen’s friends. Continue reading
While Ira Schnapp was on staff at National Comics, now known as DC Comics, and probably at home as well, he produced a vast amount of lettering and design work, while remaining unknown to the comics fans he was entertaining. Ira was a modest man, and this probably suited him fine. He worked very hard and made a good living, being able to support his wife and himself while sending his children Terry and Marty to college. Whether he was paid by the page and piece, or if he was instead on a salary is not known. Continue reading